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A recent consensus conference has proposed guidelines for the monitoring for diabetes in patients with schizophrenia and also identifies the need of long-term prospective studies.
A large scale prospective study on metabolic risks of antipsychotic medication is currently ongoing. At baseline, patients get a full laboratory screening, ECG and an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Baseline data on 100 non-diabetic patients at study inclusion and stable on medication for at least 6 months are presented.
Glucose abnormalities are found in 22% of patients at baseline. A monitoring protocol based only on fasting glucose would not have detected 63.6% of these patients with classifiable glucose abnormalities in our sample. Fasting insulin and measures for insulin resistance have a high predictive value for abnormalities late in the OGTT.
Already at baseline, metabolic problems are frequently present in patients with schizophrenia treated with antipsychotics. Adding assessment of fasting insulin in a monitoring protocol improves detection of glucose abnormalities late in an OGTT.
The aim of the current study was to explore the changing interrelationships among clinical variables through the stages of schizophrenia in order to assemble a comprehensive and meaningful disease model.
Twenty-nine centers from 25 countries participated and included 2358 patients aged 37.21 ± 11.87 years with schizophrenia. Multiple linear regression analysis and visual inspection of plots were performed.
The results suggest that with progression stages, there are changing correlations among Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale factors at each stage and each factor correlates with all the others in that particular stage, in which this factor is dominant. This internal structure further supports the validity of an already proposed four stages model, with positive symptoms dominating the first stage, excitement/hostility the second, depression the third, and neurocognitive decline the last stage.
The current study investigated the mental organization and functioning in patients with schizophrenia in relation to different stages of illness progression. It revealed two distinct “cores” of schizophrenia, the “Positive” and the “Negative,” while neurocognitive decline escalates during the later stages. Future research should focus on the therapeutic implications of such a model. Stopping the progress of the illness could demand to stop the succession of stages. This could be achieved not only by both halting the triggering effect of positive and negative symptoms, but also by stopping the sensitization effect on the neural pathways responsible for the development of hostility, excitement, anxiety, and depression as well as the deleterious effect on neural networks responsible for neurocognition.
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