Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Aims To Identify Schizophrenics At Risk For Type 2 Diabetes

Date:
August 25, 2006
Source:
Medical College of Georgia
Summary:
Dissecting the relationship between schizophrenia and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes has physician-scientists reaching across the Atlantic Ocean.

Dr. Brian Kirkpatrick, vice chair of the MCG Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior. (Phil Jones photo)

Dissecting the relationship between schizophrenia and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes has physician-scientists reaching across the Atlantic Ocean.

They are looking at newly diagnosed schizophrenics in an upper-middle-class Spanish community to find whether the disease that causes patients to hear voices and smell, feel and even taste unreal objects also increases their risk of diabetes.

Scientists know the drugs that best control the psychosis increase the risk. “We know it’s the medicine; I’m asking whether it’s the disease as well,” says Dr. Brian Kirkpatrick, vice chair of the Medical College of Georgia Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior and principal investigator on the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases-funded study.

Dr. Kirkpatrick and colleagues at Hospital Clinic at the University of Barcelona in Spain and the University of Maryland note mounting evidence that developmental problems, resulting from significant maternal stress in the second or early third trimester of pregnancy, may cause schizophrenia and related problems.

“The brain has this incredibly complex development where cells are born here and march over here and send communication over here; that goes wrong from the very beginning probably,” says Dr. Kirkpatrick of the complex process of laying down normal communication pathways that apparently go awry in about 1 percent of people.

“It’s kind of a subtle going wrong in the sense that if you look at the brain under a microscope, at first blush, it looks pretty normal, and on MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), it looks pretty normal, but there are subtle differences,” he says, and not just in the brain.

Patients can have memory and attention problems, wide palates and subtle abnormalities of their fingertips, ear shape and peripheral nerves in their muscles. Psychotic symptoms typically start in late adolescence or early adulthood. “Although psychosis is what we often treat and what tends to be noticeable and dramatic and bring people to medical attention, it’s just part of the problem,” says Dr. Kirkpatrick.

Researchers believe developmental changes also do something that increases the risk of diabetes. Doctors who treat schizophrenics say they see a lot of it. Relative diabetes risk depends on factors including age and which medications patients take, Dr. Kirkpatrick says. One recent study – based on data from the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness Schizophrenia Trial – showed the prevalence rate of metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that include abdominal obesity, high lipid and cholesterol blood levels and insulin resistance, is better than 50 percent in women and about 37 percent in men with schizophrenia.

Dr. Kirkpatrick has a chart of weight gain based on drugs used to treat the psychosis that resembles a stairway to disaster. Patients on olanzapine and clozapine, two of the most effective anti-psychotics, gained about 10 pounds within a few weeks. While weight gain is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, previous studies have shown the disease also can appear in schizophrenics shortly after they begin treatment and without weight gain.

Studies predating anti-psychotics also have shown schizophrenics have an increased rate of impaired glucose tolerance or insulin resistance, a hallmark of diabetes. “It’s not 100 percent, it just changes your risk; bad things in utero increase the risk of diabetes and … the risk of schizophrenia. It may be they are going to be associated because the same bad things cause both,” says Dr. Kirkpatrick.

The bottom line of the study of newly diagnosed schizophrenics is to see whether the disease itself carries an increased risk of diabetes. Researchers are comparing glucose tolerance in these patients to that of healthy people as well as those with untreated depression and those with a recent major crisis. One reason for comparison is that three of the groups should have increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that can mimic diabetes by increasing insulin resistance.

Patient enrollment began in 2005 and researchers hope to enroll 82 people in each arm of the study. After initial testing, schizophrenics will receive olanzapine and be followed. Researchers hope to glean measures clinicians can easily use to predict development of insulin resistance with anti-psychotic treatment. Greater insulin resistance prior to treatment may be the measure, Dr. Kirkpatrick says.

The study’s catchment area, the Esquerra Eixample neighborhood in Barcelona, was selected because it has a fairly homogenous population and psychiatric researchers can study patients early in the illness. In this case, the Hospital Clinic of the University of Barcelona where most people go, offers the best psychiatric care in the nation, Dr. Kirkpatrick says.

“We want to better understand the totality of schizophrenia and we want to increase the risk-benefit ratio of treatment,” says Dr. Kirkpatrick. “If you come in and I know you are at high risk of diabetes, I am going to suggest that you try one of the medications that has the reduced risk of also causing diabetes.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Medical College of Georgia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Medical College of Georgia. "Study Aims To Identify Schizophrenics At Risk For Type 2 Diabetes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 August 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060823093554.htm>.
Medical College of Georgia. (2006, August 25). Study Aims To Identify Schizophrenics At Risk For Type 2 Diabetes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060823093554.htm
Medical College of Georgia. "Study Aims To Identify Schizophrenics At Risk For Type 2 Diabetes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060823093554.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
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