Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Does Borna disease virus cause mental illness?

Date:
January 31, 2012
Source:
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Summary:
Over the past 30 years, numerous studies have linked Borna disease virus with mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorder and dementia, but study results have been inconsistent. Now, the first blinded, case-control study to examine this issue finds no association between the virus and psychiatric illness.

Over the past 30 years, numerous studies have linked Borna disease virus (BDV) with mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorder, and dementia. Genetic fragments and antibodies to this RNA virus, which causes behavior disorders in a range of mammals and birds, have been found to be prevalent in psychiatric patients, but study results have been inconsistent. Now, the first blinded, case-control study to examine this issue finds no association between the virus and psychiatric illness.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and collaborators at seven other institutions in the U.S., Germany and Australia, can be found online at Molecular Psychiatry.

The scientists evaluated 198 patients in California with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder, carefully matched each one of them with a healthy control of the same sex, age, region, and socio-economic status, and tested blood of patients and controls for the presence of BDV genetic material and antibodies to BDV.

The investigators hypothesized that if the virus was, in fact, associated with a psychiatric disorder, genetic evidence of infection would be apparent in blood samples taken at the onset and/or at the peak of a psychiatric episode, and antibody evidence would be detectable several weeks afterward. Blood samples were therefore collected within six weeks of the onset of an acute episode or clinically significant worsening of symptoms and six weeks later to allow for changes in viral load or antibody levels. Not only did the researchers find no relationship between mental illness and bornavirus, they found no evidence of active or historical infection with BDV in any of the subjects.

"Our study provides compelling evidence that bornaviruses do not play a role in schizophrenia or mood disorders," says Mady Hornig, MD, director of translational research at the Center for Infection and Immunity.

In a commentary in the same issue of the journal, Michael B.A. Oldstone, MD, an expert in molecular virology and central nervous system infections at the Scripps Research Institute, observes that the design and experimental procedures carried out in the Hornig study provide a gold standard for investigating links between persistent viral infection and human disease.

CII director, W. Ian Lipkin, MD, senior author of the paper, notes that "it was concern over the potential role of BDV in mental illness and the inability to identify it using classical techniques that led us to develop molecular methods for pathogen discovery. Ultimately these new techniques enabled us to refute a role for BDV in human disease. But the fact remains that we gained strategies for the discovery of hundreds of other pathogens that have important implications for medicine, agriculture, and environmental health."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M Hornig, T Briese, J Licinio, R F Khabbaz, L L Altshuler, S G Potkin, M Schwemmle, U Siemetzki, J Mintz, K Honkavuori, H C Kraemer, M F Egan, P C Whybrow, W E Bunney, W I Lipkin. Absence of evidence for bornavirus infection in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. Molecular Psychiatry, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/mp.2011.179

Cite This Page:

Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "Does Borna disease virus cause mental illness?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120131175631.htm>.
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. (2012, January 31). Does Borna disease virus cause mental illness?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120131175631.htm
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "Does Borna disease virus cause mental illness?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120131175631.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study by British researchers suggests couples' sleeping positions might reflect their happiness. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins