US researchers have linked schizophrenia with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is responsible for infectious mononucleosis.
Dr. Robert Yolken, professor of neurovirology at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, USA, has discovered a link between schizophrenia and the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), an extremely common virus that causes, among other things, mononucleosis.
To establish this link, Dr. Yolken’s team compared antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus of 432 patients with schizophrenia and another 311 with no history of psychiatric disorder. The researchers found that schizophrenics had an antibody level 1.7 to 2.3 times higher. “This indicates that the prevention and treatment of the Epstein-Barr virus could represent an approach for the prevention and treatment of serious psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia” the physician emphasizes in Science Alert.
The researchers have not yet discovered the reasons for this immune response to the virus. They believe that schizophrenia could alter the immune system, making patients more vulnerable to EBV. Or conversely, EBV infection may increase the risk of schizophrenia.
The antibody study was reproduced with other herpes family viruses, but no link could be defined.
This study was published in the Schizophrenia newsletter.