Saturday, December 8, 2007

What other MEDICAL Causes get called “Schizophrenia”?

This continues our discussion of the topics "Some Known Medical Causes of 'Mental' Symptoms" and "What are some genetic causes of psychosis?" It goes beyond the urinary tract infections (UTIs), tumors, auto-immune disorders, heart problems, etc. that get so easily diagnosed as "mental illnesses" ranging from depression and anxiety to bipolar and schizophrenia.

As modern research techniques start revealing the medical causes behind some categories of illnesses we have been calling “schizophrenia”, we would expect these now known causes to be removed from the label “schizophrenia.”  After all, the DSM IV specifically EXCLUDES cases from that diagnosis which are caused by a “general medical condition”.

But that is not the case.

Here are some more medical causes of symptoms still diagnosed as “schizophrenia” in addition to chromosomal deletion, 22q11 (velocardiofacial syndrome)[1] and X-chromosome gene polymorphism--HOPA12pb[2] which have already been discussed.

  • Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) HV Lineage cluster[3]
  • mtDNA variants (mutations)[4]
  • MtDNA gene expression[5]
  • Hypothalamic (Central) digoxin dysfunction[6]
This last one is interesting because it was found in a family with a high incidence of all of the following:
Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, neoplasms, syndrome X, rheumatoid arthritis, and epilepsy.

Note that only one of the manifestations of the disorder (schizophrenia) is considered “mental” with no known “medical” cause. There is no one medical label for this digoxin dysfunction.

What I also found interesting is the article talked about three entities: digoxin, ubiquinone, and dolichol which have been reported in neuronal degeneration (Parkinson's disease), oncogenesis (central nervous system glioma), functional neuropsychiatric disorders (schizophrenia and epilepsy), and immune-mediated disorders (multiple sclerosis).

What is so interesting to me personally about the Ubiquinone. You might have heard about it using its common name -- CoQ10.

CoQ10 deficiency has been found in many cases of pediatric migraines. It also helps mitochondrial dysfunction. Both these problems seem connected to children with symptoms of schizophrenia & bipolar-spectrum disorders.

And recently, growing evidence is adding Gluten Sensitivity to that list of medical causes being labeled Schizophrenia. [7-11]

Related Reading:
Genetics and Epigenetics:


[1] Velocardiofacial Syndrome in Childhood-Onset Schizophrenia, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Schizophrenic-like neurocognitive deficits in children and adolescents with 22q11 deletion syndrome Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2007 Jan 5; 144(1): 27-36
[2] Association of the HOPA12bp allele with a large X-chromosome haplotype and positive symptom schizophrenia American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Volume 127B, Issue 1 , Pages 20 - 27
[3] Mitochondrial DNA HV lineage increases the susceptibility to schizophrenia among Israeli Arabs. Schizophr Res. 2007 Jun 11
[4] New variants in the mitochondrial genomes of schizophrenic patients. Eur J Hum Genet . 2006 May ; 14(5): 520-8
[5] Mitochondrial-related gene expression changes are sensitive to agonal-pH state: implications for brain disorders. Mol Psychiatry. 2006 Jul ; 11( 7): 615, 663-79
[6] Central role of hypothalamic digoxin in conscious perception, neuroimmunoendocrine integration, and coordination of cellular function: relation to hemispheric dominance. The International journal of neuroscience 2002 Jun; 112(6):705-39.

[7] Novel immune response to gluten in individuals with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research 2009), doi:10.1016/j.schres.2009.08.009 Samaroo D, Dickerson F, Kasarda DD, Green PH, Briani C, Yolken RH, Alaedini A. Department of Neurology and Neuroscience, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY, United States.

[8]Prevalence of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity in the United States Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness Study Population Cascella NG, Kryszak D, Bhatti B, Gregory P, Kelly DL, Mc Evoy JP, Fasano A, Eaton WW.

[9] Association of schizophrenia and autoimmune diseases: linkage of Danish national registers. Eaton WW, Byrne M, Ewald H, Mors O, Chen CY, Agerbo E, Mortensen PB. Department of Mental Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.

[10] Kalaydjian, Eaton, Cascella, Fasano The gluten connection: the association between schizophrenia and celiac disease ACTA PSYCHIATRICA SCANDINAVICA Vol. 113 Issue 2 Feb 2006

[11]Schizophrenia, gluten, and low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets: a case report and review of the literature. Kraft BD, Westman EC. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2009 Feb 26;6(1):10

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19 September 2011


Ms Christine Andrew said...

So glad to have found this site.
Briefly, I was diagnosed, nearly 50 years ago, with "schizophrenia". After five years of psychiatric abuse, I discharged myself, and have remained well since!
With the benefit of hindsight, I am nearly 1005 sure that, in my case, I was suffering from a progesterone deficiency - six-week menstrual cycle, with fortnight of PMT, eventually persisting and leading to psychosis.
I have, of course, been labelled a "nutter" for most of my life; and was disabled by the treatments, such as ECT and insulin-shock which were forced upon me.
I had a truly happy middle-class upbringing - not the sort that would lead to a truly "mental" breakdown.
I look forward to exploring all of your site - and would welcome contact from anyone who has had a similar experience to mine.

Jeanie said...

You are not the only one who had progesterone Deficiency, and whose "mental" illness was subsequently alleviated by progesterone!

The same thing happened in our family! Chronic residual hallucinations vanished after the progesterone deficiency was addressed.