New Study Finds Link Between Bartonella Infection and Schizophrenia

Hip

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A new small-scale study has found a link between Bartonella henselae bacterial infection (cat scratch disease) and schizophrenia.

Researchers tested the blood of patients with schizophrenia as well as healthy controls for evidence of Bartonella DNA.

They found that 12 of the 17 schizophrenia patients had Bartonella DNA in their blood, compared to just one member of the control group of 13 people.

This is the first study examining the potential role of Bartonella in schizophrenia.

A new more sensitive Bartonella test made called droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) this discovery possible:
"Bartonella ddPCR, a very new diagnostic technology, provides a more sensitive molecular test than we’ve previously had access to," said paper author and infectious disease expert Ed Breitschwerdt of the North Carolina State University.

"If we had not used ddPCR to test this cohort of individuals, we would not have found Bartonella DNA in any of the participants, either case or control."
Source: Is cat-scratch disease linked to schizophrenia?

Article: Study finds evidence of Bartonella infection in schizophrenia patients

Study: Schizophrenia and Bartonella spp. Infection: A Pilot Case-Control Study


Bartonella bacteria can cause fatigue, brain fog and memory loss.

Symptoms of chronic Bartonella infection (bartonellosis) include relapsing low grade fever, blurred vision, photophobia, eye irritation, malaise, decreased appetite, and aches. Bartonella sometimes triggers psychiatric manifestations, such as anger, agitation, panic disorder, and treatment-resistant depression. Ref: 1

Bartonella testing has a high false negative rate, but one sign that you have Bartonella is the characteristic striated rash this bacterium can cause on the skin.
 

nerd

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In general, not very surprising. Schizophrenia is temporal-causally associated with many conditions and pathogens. But in this case, PCR is still positive and not only before the onset of Schizophrenia. Maybe Schizophrenia is reversible if you can get rid of the Bartonella herd?
 

Hip

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Schizophrenia is temporal-causally associated with many conditions
Yes, schizophrenia is associated with several pathogens:

Adult-onset schizophrenia has been linked to earlier central nervous system infections (especially coxsackievirus B5) during childhood, with such infections increasing the risk of schizophrenia by nearly 5-fold.

If the mother catches influenza virus during the first trimester of pregnancy (but not the second or third trimester) this has been shown to increase the risk the baby develops schizophrenia later in life by 7-fold.

Schizophrenia patients are found to have higher antibody levels to Chlamydia trachomatis.

A broad range of psychiatric reactions have been associated with Lyme disease including paranoia, dementia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, major depression, anorexia nervosa, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

And there is an aberrant immune response to Epstein-Barr virus in schizophrenia.
 

nerd

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@Hip Thanks for listing them. All of them are exogenic in nature. Although genes play also a role, this makes the stigmatization of neuropsychiatric diseases such as Schizophrenia ridiculous. And this is what psychiatric research attempts to do. To tell us that if things are associated with psychiatric conditions, that they can only be psychiatric in nature ("in their heads") and no non-psychiatric research and treatment would be necessary. I think the general controversy around psychiatric research is well deserved.
 

Hip

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I think the general controversy around psychiatric research is well deserved.
Yes, the problem is that most psychiatrists and psychologists have little interest in the neurological mechanics of the brain and the immune system as an underlying factors of mental ill health, but rather these academics live in the world of psychogenic or psychosocial causes of mental illness.

In other words, psychiatrists and psychologists usually think adverse life experiences trigger mental illnesses, and this psychogenic/psychosocial view has been maintained throughout the 20th century (which was the period that psychology took off as an area off research), and even predominates now in the 21st century.

But in spite of over 100 years of investigating and trying to correct for psychogenic or psychosocial causes of psychiatric disease, there is not much evidence to show that serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar, OCD, etc are due to psychogenic/psychosocial causes.

Of course, it is only in recent decades that we have been able to peer into the brain, and also see the workings of the immune system in the brain. Many years ago, psychiatrists and psychologists did not have access to what was going on in the brain; this may explain why they focused on psychogenic/psychosocial causes — because they had no other options.

Interestingly, the new young generation of psychiatrists and psychologists have more interest in and more understanding of the underlying neurological and immunological causes of mental illness in the brain. But unfortunately the old school psychiatrists and psychologists still think in terms of psychogenic/psychosocial causes.
 

nerd

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But unfortunately the old school psychiatrists and psychologists still think in terms of psychogenic/psychosocial causes.
And they will keep sitting in the deciding positions until they retire. They can also influence which talents will come after them. It will be the ones who back them and their views. This is a general problem in the scientific system and why new theories are rejected before any legitimate review. Anything inconsistent with previous scientific opinions must be wrong because it would open questions that previous research already was supposed to answer.
 

pattismith

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People with SCZ/SAD were more likely than healthy volunteers to have Bartonella spp. DNA in their bloodstream, with 11 of 17 cases (65%) positive by Bartonella spp. droplet digital PCR (ddPCR).

In comparison, only one healthy volunteer was Bartonella spp. ddPCR positive (8%, p = 0.0024).

Based on serology, Bartonella spp. exposure was common among people with SCZ/SAD (12 of 17) as well as among healthy volunteers (12 of 13), with no significant difference between the groups (p = 0.196).
They didn't mention if the 11 PCR positives were also seropositive, but we can suppose so.

Lot's of cats are healthy carriers for the bacteria, but dog may be as well.

Bartonella
spp. have a worldwide distribution with highest prevalences in areas where conditions are most favourable for arthropod vectors, mainly fleas.

In Europe, many studies have been carried out, and the antibody prevalence in cats ranged from 8 to 53%
Recently Mazurek et al. (2019) reported the frequency of the occurrence of Bartonella spp. DNA in dogs from households where cats with clinical bartonellosis were kept.

The presence of DNA with 99–100% identity of the nucleotide sequence with the sequence of the Bartonella DNA isolated from cats was demonstrated in the body of 10% of tested dogs.

The results indicated that cats serve as a Bartonella reservoir for dogs, and the dogs can play the same role with regard to humans.
Feline bartonellosis | (abcdcatsvets.org)