Nav: Home

Patients with both schizophrenia and epilepsy die alarmingly early

May 16, 2019

Patients who suffer from schizophrenia and epilepsy are particularly vulnerable. In the study, the researchers followed more than 1,5 mio. people and classified them according to whether they were diagnosed with epilepsy, schizophrenia or the combination of epilepsy and schizophrenia on their twenty-fifth birthday.

"There was an exceedingly high mortality rate among people with these disorders, particularly those who suffer from the combination of epilepsy and schizophrenia. More than 25 per cent of them die between the ages of 25-50," says Jakob Christensen, who is one of the researchers behind the study.

He is clinical associate professor and DMSc at the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University and consultant at the Department of Neurology at Aarhus University Hospital. He is also a member of the national psychiatric project iPSYCH and the epilepsy project EpiPsych which carries out research into the correlation between epilepsy and mental disorders.

Patients fall between two chairs

The researchers hope to see the results raise awareness about the difficulties of living with epilepsy and schizophrenia.

"The results are really intended to help healthcare professionals develop new working processes so that this group of patients can get the right treatment. We already know from previous studies, that this group of patients die from a wide range of lifestyle diseases, and that some of these are preventable," says Jakob Christensen and continues:

"With the way things are now, this patient group can easily fall between two chairs and end up being sent back and forth between different medical specialists or between hospitals and their general practitioner. It appears that people with epilepsy and schizophrenia are particularly vulnerable - and there is certainly room for improvement in the way the healthcare system deals with them and their treatment."

Studies have identified a clear association between epilepsy and mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and psychosis. A Danish study has e.g. shown that people with epilepsy have a risk of developing schizophrenia that is two-and-a-half times higher than those without epilepsy.

The study

Among the subjects in the study, 18,943 were diagnosed with epilepsy, 10,208 were diagnosed with schizophrenia, and 471 were diagnosed with both epilepsy and schizophrenia before they turned twenty-five. The mortality rate for these subjects at age fifty was 3.1 per cent for people who did not suffer from epilepsy and schizophrenia; 10.7 per cent for people with epilepsy; 17.4 per cent for people with schizophrenia; and 27.2 per cent for people with both epilepsy and schizophrenia.

Background for the results:

The study is a population-based nationwide cohort study of people born in Denmark between 1960-87 who were resident in Denmark on their twenty-fifth birthday.
-end-
Partners: The study is a collaboration between the National Centre for Register-based Research, the Department of Economics and Business Economics at Aarhus University, the Research Unit for General Practice and the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University, and the Department of Neurology at Aarhus University Hospital.

The study has received financing from the Lundbeck Foundation, the Novo Nordisk Foundation, Aarhus University and the Central Denmark Region.

Conflicts of interest: Jakob Christensen has received remuneration for acting as a scientific adviser to UCB Nordic and Eisai AB, and speaking fees from UCB Nordic and Eisai AB for lectures, as well as financing for travel from UCB Nordic. Jakob Christensen is also involved in other studies involving the companies: Pfizer, Novartis, Eisai AB and Sage Therapeutics. Inc.

The scientific article is available in the journal Epilepsia.

Contact

Consultant, DMSc & PhD Jakob Christensen
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine and
Aarhus University Hospital, Department of Neurology
Mobile: (+45) 6086 5899
Email: jakob@clin.au.dk

Aarhus University

Related Schizophrenia Articles:

Dietary supplement may help with schizophrenia
A dietary supplement, sarcosine, may help with schizophrenia as part of a holistic approach complementing antipsychotic medication, according to a UCL researcher.
Schizophrenia: Adolescence is the game-changer
Schizophrenia may be related to the deletion syndrome. However, not everyone who has the syndrome necessarily develops psychotic symptoms.
Study suggests overdiagnosis of schizophrenia
In a small study of patients referred to the Johns Hopkins Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic (EPIC), Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers report that about half the people referred to the clinic with a schizophrenia diagnosis didn't actually have schizophrenia.
The ways of wisdom in schizophrenia
Researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine report that persons with schizophrenia scored lower on a wisdom assessment than non-psychiatric comparison participants, but that there was considerable variability in levels of wisdom, and those with higher scores displayed fewer psychotic symptoms.
Recognizing the uniqueness of different individuals with schizophrenia
Individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia differ greatly from one another. Researchers from Radboud university medical center, along with colleagues from England and Norway, have demonstrated that very few identical brain differences are shared amongst different patients.
Resynchronizing neurons to erase schizophrenia
Today, a decisive step in understanding schizophrenia has been taken.
Genetics researchers close in on schizophrenia
Researchers at the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics at Cardiff University have discovered 50 new gene regions that increase the risk of developing schizophrenia.
Looking for the origins of schizophrenia
Schizophrenia may be related to neurodevelopment changes, including brain's inability to create the appropriate vascular system, according to new study resulted from a partnership between the D'Or Institute for Research and Education, the University of Chile and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).
Researchers uncover novel mechanism behind schizophrenia
An international team of researchers led by a Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine scientist has uncovered a novel mechanism in which a protein--neuregulin 3--controls how key neurotransmitters are released in the brain during schizophrenia.
A new genetic marker for schizophrenia
Japanese scientists find a rare genetic variant that shows strong association with schizophrenia.
More Schizophrenia News and Schizophrenia Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Risk
Why do we revere risk-takers, even when their actions terrify us? Why are some better at taking risks than others? This hour, TED speakers explore the alluring, dangerous, and calculated sides of risk. Guests include professional rock climber Alex Honnold, economist Mariana Mazzucato, psychology researcher Kashfia Rahman, structural engineer and bridge designer Ian Firth, and risk intelligence expert Dylan Evans.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#540 Specialize? Or Generalize?
Ever been called a "jack of all trades, master of none"? The world loves to elevate specialists, people who drill deep into a single topic. Those people are great. But there's a place for generalists too, argues David Epstein. Jacks of all trades are often more successful than specialists. And he's got science to back it up. We talk with Epstein about his latest book, "Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World".
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.