Virus in the mind

 
Published: Sunday 30 April 1995

Some cases of mental illness in human beings may have a viral origin, say a group of German researchers. The team, led by Liv Bode of Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, found traces of the Borna Disease Virus (BDV) genetic material, which makes horses hyperactive, in the blood cells of people with depression and other mental disorders.

Recently, 2 teams, led by Kathryn Carbon from John Hopkins University at Baltimore and Ian Lipkin of the University of California at Irvine, found that up to 30 per cent of people with schizophrenia carry BDV antibodies.

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