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Schizophrenia, Epilepsy Share Bidirectional Relationship

Higher incidence of schizophrenia in patients with epilepsy and vice-versa

THURSDAY, Sept. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Schizophrenia and epilepsy share a bidirectional relationship, with patients with epilepsy more likely to develop schizophrenia, and those with schizophrenia more likely to develop epilepsy, according to a study published online Sept. 19 in Epilepsia.

Yu-Tzu Chang, M.D., from the China Medical University and Hospital in Taiwan, and colleagues examined the bidirectional relationship between schizophrenia and epilepsy. Data from 5,195 patients with incident schizophrenia diagnosed between 1999 and 2008 were compared with 20,776, age- and sex-matched controls in analysis one. In analysis two, 11,527 patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy between 1999 and 2008 were compared with 46,032 similarly matched controls. The incidence and risk of developing epilepsy and schizophrenia were measured at the end of 2008 from analyses one and two, respectively.

The investigators found that, compared to the controls, the incidence of epilepsy was higher in the schizophrenia cohort, and the incidence of schizophrenia was higher in the epilepsy cohort (6.99 versus 1.19 and 3.53 versus 0.46, per 1,000 person-years), with adjusted hazard ratios of 5.88 and 7.65 in the schizophrenia and epilepsy patients, respectively. The correlation between epilepsy and high incidence of schizophrenia was more pronounced in men, while women showed a greater association between schizophrenia and subsequent epilepsy.

"There is evidence of a complex bidirectional relationship between schizophrenia and epilepsy; that is, patients with epilepsy are at greater risk of developing schizophrenia and patients with schizophrenia are at greater risk of developing epilepsy," the authors write.

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