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After the discovery of ‘homocystinuria syndrome’, many studies have suggested that high blood levels of homocysteine may be associated with schizophrenia. The aim of this study was to analyse the association between hyperhomocysteinaemia and schizophrenia.
In a population of inpatients suffering from exacerbated schizophrenic disorders (N=100), we evaluated homocysteine levels the day after their admission to an acute psychiatric ward and compared it with that of a non-patient control group (N=110), matched for age and gender. We statistically analysed the correlation between homocysteine levels and selected variables: gender, age, years of illness and number of previous psychiatric admissions as well as Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, Positive Negative Syndrome Scale and Global Assessment Functioning (GAF) Scores.
We observed elevated homocysteine levels (an increase of 7.84 µM on average per patient) in 32% of the patients, but we did not find any statistically significant difference between the homocysteine levels of our patients and controls. Hyperhomocysteinaemia presented a positive statistically significant correlation with years of illness (p<0.005) and a negative statistically significant correlation with GAF score (p<0.001), but not with other clinical variables.
Hyperhomocysteinaemia, which occurred in our schizophrenia patients with poor social and relational functioning after many years of illness, could represent an effect of altered lifestyle due to psychosis, but not a specific marker for schizophrenia.
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