Study Finds Link Between Schizophrenia, Diabetes
About half of one percent of the world's population suffers from schizophrenia. A new study in JAMA Psychiatry has established a definite risk factor combining schizophrenia and diabetes. previous study had given non-conclusive links, but the new study found a definite risk factor without interference from antipsychotic drugs or poor lifestyle choices.
The study involved 731 patients diagnosed after a first episode of schizophrenia and 614 healthy control subjects. Although diabetes is common in schizophrenics (and other mentally ill people), a direct link had yet to be established.
People with early schizophrenia show clinical indicators of diabetes risk.
The majority of schizophrenics had higher levels of plasma glucose during fast than plasma insulin. Their tolerance and resistance to glucose and insulin, respectively, were also indicative of diabetes risks. It's likely, the researchers contend, that the risks of schizophrenia and diabetes are genetically shared and that some developmental risk factors may play into both.
"Our findings tell us that people with early schizophrenia have already started down the road to developing diabetes, even if they haven't been diagnosed with diabetes yet," Dr Toby Pillinger, first author of the study from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London said.