People With Schizophrenia Face Increased Risk Of Diabetes - Research
Mar 31, 2009 - 2:33:38 PM

Are people with schizophrenia at an increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes? It would seem so, according to the results of a new study.

Of the 50 people diagnosed with schizophrenia or a related psychotic disorder that participated in the study, eight had either diabetes or an abnormal rate of glucose metabolism, said Brian Kirkpatrick, vice-chairman of the Medical College of Georgia's - Department of Psychiatry and Health Behaviour.

'These findings point toward there being some shared environmental factors or genetic factors between the development of schizophrenia and diabetes,' he said.

Schizophrenia symptoms include memory and attention problems, hallucinations, disorganised thinking and behaviour and delusions. Psychotic symptoms typically start in late adolescence and early adulthood.

People with diabetes cannot produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that converts glucose, starch and other food into energy.

Kirkpatrick and colleagues at the Universities of Barcelona - and Maryland - administered a two-hour oral glucose test to patients who had not yet been placed on anti-psychotic medication.

Catching them before prescriptive treatment was important because researchers already knew that some of the most effective schizophrenia drugs also cause rapid weight gain - a risk factor for type-2 diabetes, according to MGC release.

'We know the medicine causes problems but we wanted to know whether the disease also causes them,' said Kirkpatrick.

Researchers believe that developmental abnormalities they don't yet know about also increase diabetes risk.

Kirkpatrick presented his findings at the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research in San Diego March 28-April 1.

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