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Social and environmental factors such as poverty or violence modulate the risk and course of schizophrenia. However, how they affect the brain in patients with psychosis remains unclear.
We studied how environmental factors are related to brain structure in patients with schizophrenia and controls in Latin America, where these factors are large and unequally distributed.
This is a multicentre study of magnetic resonance imaging in patients with schizophrenia and controls from six Latin American cities. Total and voxel-level grey matter volumes, and their relationship with neighbourhood characteristics such as average income and homicide rates, were analysed with a general linear model.
A total of 334 patients with schizophrenia and 262 controls were included. Income was differentially related to total grey matter volume in both groups (P = 0.006). Controls showed a positive correlation between total grey matter volume and income (R = 0.14, P = 0.02). Surprisingly, this relationship was not present in patients with schizophrenia (R = −0.076, P = 0.17). Voxel-level analysis confirmed that this interaction was widespread across the cortex. After adjusting for global brain changes, income was positively related to prefrontal cortex volumes only in controls. Conversely, the hippocampus in patients with schizophrenia, but not in controls, was relatively larger in affluent environments. There was no significant correlation between environmental violence and brain structure.
Our results highlight the interplay between environment, particularly poverty, and individual characteristics in psychosis. This is particularly important for harsh environments such as low- and middle-income countries, where potentially less brain vulnerability (less grey matter loss) is sufficient to become unwell in adverse (poor) environments.
To compare the general adiposity index (BMI) with abdominal obesity indices (waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR)) in order to examine the best predictor of cardiometabolic risk factors among Hispanics living in Puerto Rico.
Secondary analysis of measurements taken from a representative sample of adults. Logistic regression models (prevalence odds ratios (POR)), partial Pearson's correlations (controlling for age and sex) and receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curves were calculated between indices of obesity (BMI, WC, WHR and WHtR) and blood pressure, HDL cholesterol (HDL-C), LDL cholesterol (LDL-C), total cholesterol (TC):HDL-C, TAG, fasting blood glucose, glycosylated Hb, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), fibrinogen, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) and an aggregated measure of cardiometabolic risk.
Household study conducted between 2005 and 2007 in the San Juan Metropolitan Area in Puerto Rico.
A representative sample of 858 non-institutionalized adults.
All four obesity indices significantly correlated with the cardiometabolic risk factors. WHtR had the highest POR for high TC:HDL-C, blood pressure, hs-CRP, fibrinogen and PAI-1; WC had the highest POR for low HDL-C and high LDL-C and fasting blood glucose; WHR had the highest POR for overall cardiometabolic risk, TAG and glycosylated Hb. BMI had the lowest POR for most risk factors and smallest ROC curve for overall cardiometabolic risk.
The findings of the study suggest that general adiposity and abdominal adiposity are both associated with cardiometabolic risk in this population, although WC, WHR and WHtR appear to be slightly better predictors than BMI.
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