Head Trauma May Increase Schizophrenia Risk

Schizophrenia is a complex disorder, and there have been many different potential causes suggested. It is clear that there is a genetic component, but environment seems to play a significant role as well, at least in some individuals. A new study looking at people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) suggests that head trauma may be an environmental factor that can significantly increase the risk of developing schizophrenia.

The study pooled data from a number of previous research studies that included people who had experienced TBI as well as those who had not. Overall, they found that TBI was associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia that was 1.6 times the norm. Among those with a family history of schizophrenia, suffering a TBI increased the risk of developing the disorder by 2.8 times. The severity of the TBI did not affect risk, suggesting that location of the injury or some other factor may be more important.

The researchers were careful to point out that their data does not mean TBI causes schizophrenia, only that there is an association. It could be that brain injury serves as a trigger for those already biologically vulnerable to schizophrenia, or that an individual in the early stages of schizophrenia may be more likely to suffer accidents resulting in TBI.

Read more: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44202899/ns/health/

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