May 04, 2001

Head Injury Linked to Increased Risk of Schizophrenia

A study conducted by Dolores Malaspina, M.D., and colleagues at the New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City suggests that people who have a biological predisposition towards mental illness and experience a head injury may be at increased risk (an average of 300% higher risk) for schizophrenia. The research was reported in the March, 2001 American Journal of Psychiatry.

In the study, the researchers evaluated approximately 600 individuals who had at least two first-degree relatives with schizophrenia, that is, they were persons who were presumably at genetic risk of schizophrenia. In fact, some of the study subjects had schizophrenia themselves. Data about these subjects had been collected as part of the National Institute of Mental Health Genetics Initiative for Schizophrenia. Dr. Malaspina and her team then used the data that had been collected to see whether they could find any link between brain injury and schizophrenia. They could, they report.

For example, when they compared the rates of brain injury for subjects who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia with those who had not, they found a threefold increase in head-injury rates among those with schizophrenia.

Read the full story: Head Injury May Tip Schizophrenia Scales

Read the original research study: Traumatic Brain Injury and Schizophrenia in Members of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Pedigrees


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