Striking similarities between patients with multiple sclerosis and a type of schizophrenia suggest the disorders are related, according to a review of a number of studies.
MS is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system, while schizophrenia is primarily considered a psychiatric disease. Patients with MS are reported to be at an increased risk of developing schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
There are similar abnormalities in the immune systems of those with MS and schizophrenia.
Experts suspect one of the causes of both illnesses is the immune system turning against the body and damaging healthy tissues and organs. Scientists have found brain tissue damage in people with MS and schizophrenia.
Autoantibodies, or antibodies that damage the body’s own cells, are present in MS and in a type of schizophrenia, although they have different targets in the brain.
Other similarities of MS and schizophrenia are that both typically develop during early adulthood, and both appear to be triggered by certain infections.
There are striking differences between MS and schizophrenia, too, however. For instance, MS affects women more than men, but schizophrenia affects the genders equally. Another difference is that MS affects whites more than blacks, while schizophrenia is more common in blacks than whites.
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