Geographical and seasonal correlation of multiple sclerosis to sporadic schizophreniaReportar como inadecuado

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International Journal of Health Geographics

, 1:5

First Online: 20 December 2002Received: 28 November 2002Accepted: 20 December 2002DOI: 10.1186-1476-072X-1-5

Cite this article as: Fritzsche, M. Int J Health Geogr 2002 1: 5. doi:10.1186-1476-072X-1-5


BackgroundClusters by season and locality reveal a striking epidemiological overlap between sporadic schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis MS. As the birth excesses of those individuals who later in life develop schizophrenia mirror the seasonal distribution of Ixodid ticks, a meta analysis has been performed between all neuropsychiatric birth excesses including MS and the epidemiology of spirochaetal infectious diseases.

ResultsThe prevalence of MS and schizophrenic birth excesses entirely spares the tropical belt where human treponematoses are endemic, whereas in more temperate climates infection rates of Borrelia garinii in ticks collected from seabirds match the global geographic distribution of MS. If the seasonal fluctuations of Lyme borreliosis in Europe are taken into account, the birth excesses of MS and those of schizophrenia are nine months apart, reflecting the activity of Ixodes ricinus at the time of embryonic implantation and birth. In America, this nine months- shift between MS and schizophrenic births is also reflected by the periodicity of Borrelia burgdorferi transmitting Ixodes pacificus ticks along the West Coast and the periodicity of Ixodes scapularis along the East Coast. With respect to Ixodid tick activity, amongst the neuropsychiatric birth excesses only amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ALS shows a similar seasonal trend.

ConclusionIt cannot be excluded at present that maternal infection by Borrelia burgdorferi poses a risk to the unborn. The seasonal and geographical overlap between schizophrenia, MS and neuroborreliosis rather emphasises a causal relation that derives from exposure to a flagellar virulence factor at conception and delivery. It is hoped that the pathogenic correlation of spirochaetal virulence to temperature and heat shock proteins HSP might encourage a new direction of research in molecular epidemiology.

List of abbreviations usedAIDSacquired immunodeficiency syndrome

ALSamyotrophic lateral sclerosis

BBSLB. burgdorferi s.l. Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato

CB1central cannabinoid receptor gene

CNScentral nervous system


EAEexperimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

fbrpflagellar basal rod protein

HLAmajor histocompatibility complex

HSPheat shock protein


IL-1rainterleukin-1 receptor antagonist

MSmultiple sclerosis

PRprevalence rate

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1476-072X-1-5 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Markus Fritzsche


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