New Study Shows Link Between Middle-Ear Disease And Schizophrenia 
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 New Study Shows Link Between Middle-Ear Disease And Schizophrenia

New Study Shows Link Between Middle-Ear Disease And Schizophrenia
02 Sep 2008

New research suggests middle-ear disease could increase people's
vulnerability to developing schizophrenia.

The study, published in the September issue of the British Journal of
Psychiatry shows a greater association between middle-ear disease and
schizophrenia than was found in a similar study carried out in 1995.

This latest study also shows an increase in the odds of developing
schizophrenia if a person experiences left-sided middle-ear disease
compared to right-sided or bilateral middle-ear disease.

The theory that ear disease can cause insanity by irritating the brain
dates back to the 1890s. The proximity of the ear to the brain was
believed to be of particular importance, with a study published in
1927 reporting rates of ear disease in 66% of 200 certified insane

However, the hypothesis that an ear infection can cause irritation to
the overlying brain has received little interest. Instead, attention
has been paid to the role of hearing impairment in the development of
paranoid disorders in the elderly.

In this study, researchers set out to establish the rate of middle-ear
disease pre-dating the onset of schizophrenia. Eighty-four patients
with schizophrenia living in West Lancashire were identified. Each
patient was matched with four non-psychiatric controls who were of the
same gender, age, and were born at a similar time of year. This was to
limit the effects of seasonality, since an excess of winter births has
been proposed as a possible factor in schizophrenia.

A history of ear disease for each patient was obtained from their
general practice medical records. Additional information on symptoms
was also collected for the 84 patients with schizophrenia (the case

The study found that the rate of middle-ear disease pre-dating the
onset of schizophrenia was higher in the case group than in the
control group. Auditory hallucinations were also found to be
significantly associated with middle-ear disease pre-dating

The researchers concluded that middle-ear disease may be another
aetiological factor which increases a person's vulnerability to
developing schizophrenia - an association that is worthy of further


"Middle-ear disease and schizophrenia: case-control study."
Mason P, Rimmer M, Richman A, Garg G, Johnson J and Mottram P (2008)
British Journal of Psychiatry, 193:192-196

Royal College of Psychiatrists

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is the professional and educational
body for psychiatrists in the United Kingdom and the Republic of
Ireland. We promote mental health by:

- Setting standards and promoting excellence in mental health care
- Improving understanding through research and education
- Leading, representing, training and supporting psychiatrists
- Working with patients, carers and their organisations

Royal College of Psychiatrists

Article URL: http://www.***.com/

Main News Category: Schizophrenia

Also Appears In:  Psychology / Psychiatry,  Ear, Nose and Throat,

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 23:27:36 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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