Schizophrenia  is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality.

New research from Johns Hopkins Medicine and Sheppard Pratt Health System shows that people in the study with schizophrenia also have higher levels of antibodies against  mono.

Researchers proposed two explanations for the association. The first one is that  schizophrenia might alter the immune systems of these patients and make them more susceptible to mono. On the other hand, having mono might increase the risk of Schizophrenia

Even though the intention of this study wasn’t to determine cause and effect, Robert Yolken wanted to see the relationship between the two since in some cases, mono spreads to the CNS and causes persistent infection.

The results were that people with schizophrenia were 1.7 to 2.3 times more likely to have increased levels of some EBV antibodies compared with people without schizophrenia. What is interesting is that the antibody count did not increase with viruses like chicken pox or herpes. Only mono was associated.

After that, the researchers sequenced a portion of the participants’ DNA to determine their genetic risk for schizophrenia. It turns out if there is increased genetic risk and increased antibody levels for mono, they are 8 times as likely to have schizophrenia compared to the average person.

Thus, Yolken believes the “treatment of Epstein-Barr virus might represent an approach for the prevention… of… schizophrenia.”

Personally, I believe that mono is a factor in increasing the risk of getting schizophrenia since these correlational studies had a statistically significant result.


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