Link Between Epilepsy/Epilepsy Drugs and Schizophrenia?—8 November 2005
I have noticed that many studies of schizophrenia rule out people who have had seizures or epilepsy. I had a couple of grand mal seizures at the age of three. After that, I took phenobarbital and later dilantin. I did this until I was 9 or 10. I never had another seizure, but when I was 23 I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. No one else in my extended family has the illness or has had seizures.
I am wondering if there is any connection between phenobarbital or
dilantin use in childhood and a later diagnosis of schizophrenia. Since so many studies rule out seizures, could researchers be missing something?
Reply by Will Carpenter—Posted 1 November 2005
There is no known relationship between schizophrenia and the use of phenobarbital and dilantin, and there is not likely to be one since there has been extensive use of both of these drugs in seizure patients being seen by a neurologist, and no association has been noted. An early study suggested that epilepsy reduced the likelihood of developing schizophrenia, but this is not known and is probably not likely. Could a gestational problem cause vulnerability to schizophrenia and seizures? Gestational problems in general are a risk factor for both, but it is not known if the two are related. It is important to keep in mind that some antipsychotic drugs lower seizure threshold, and the treating doctor should be told of a history of seizures in order to take this into account in prescribing medication.
The Chimpanzees in the Zoos Do It ... Or Do They?—15 October 2005
By Jim Kennedy (SRF advisor)
What if the group of schizophrenia risk genes all can be found in the
relatively small group of genes that are different between chimpanzees and
humans? This in light of the fact that schizophrenia has major
symptomatology in higher cognitive domains and in language.
Reply by Tim Crow—Posted 1 November 2005
When Jim Kennedy sent us this entry, he added the note, "Tim Crow would have several thoughts about this idea." And Tim Crow certainly did. Read Do chimpanzees suffer from schizophrenia?
"Reverse" Translational Research—15 October 2005
By Mark Opler
At the Lieber Center, we are formulating a research framework that we've dubbed "reverse translational research." In brief, usually the term "translational research" is taken to mean going from the bench to the clinic (sometimes called "bench-to-bedside".) Our concept is that while this is an important move, we also need to go from the clinic to the bench, i.e., designing and carrying out studies specifically to inform basic research, design and test new animal model or similar experiments, and then go BACK to the clinic ... A cyclical process of "translation and reverse translation".
What's more, we propose that epidemiology be an integral part of this cycle. Many new, exciting findings are coming out of epidemiology that inform us about potential causes, and also about the possible relationships between etiology and course of illness, symptomatology, etc. Epidemiology can provide us with clues to common causal pathways, in turn helping us design new models that not only test the impact of dysfunction in the CNS, but also reflect the mechanisms through which schizophrenia and related disorders arise in various populations. Protective and causal mechanisms suggested by Epidemiology may lead us to research foci that are outside of current thinking in clinical research or neurobiology.
Thus, both clinical research and epidemiologic approaches are brought to bear on basic science, allowing the best methods to be applied to the most relvant questions. We would love to get feedback on this idea.