A bi-directional relationship exists between schizophrenia and epilepsy claiming that patients with epilepsy are nearly 8 times more likely to develop schizophrenia and those with schizophrenia were close to 6 times more likely to develop epilepsy.
Using the data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance database, the team identified 5195 patients with schizophrenia and 11527 patients with epilepsy who were diagnosed between 1999 and 2008 and the patient groups were compared to age and sex-matched controls.
The analysis of the patients also included the incidence and risk of developing epilepsy in the schizophrenia patient group and schizophrenia in the epilepsy cohort.
The findings of the study show that the incidence of epilepsy was higher in the schizophrenia patient group at 6.99 per 1,000 person-years compared to 1.19 in the non-schizophrenia control, whereas the incidence of schizophrenia was 3.53 per 1,000 person-years for patient with epilepsy compared to 0.46 in the non-epilepsy group.
Researchers also reported that schizophrenia incidence was slightly higher in men with epilepsy than in women with the disease.
"Our research results show a strong bidirectional relation between schizophrenia and epilepsy," I-Ching Chou, lead author said.
"This relationship may be due to common pathogenesis in these diseases such as genetic susceptibility and environmental factors, but further investigation of the pathological mechanisms are needed," Chou added.
The study has been published in Epilepsia, a journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE).