In a recent article published in Lancet Psychiatry, researchers study the connection between schizophrenia and type 2 diabetes. The results indicate that the body’s inflammatory response may be the link between these two phenomena.
For several years, researchers have noted a connection between type 2 diabetes and schizophrenia. In fact, there is a greater prevalence of this metabolic disorder in patients with schizophrenia than the general population. This has led to the theory that similar metabolic pathways connect both diseases.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disease that results in high blood sugar levels, and insulin resistance. This disease is associated with inflammatory molecules in the body, and anti-inflammatory medications have proven beneficial for patients with this disease. Interestingly, inflammatory molecules have also been connected to mental disorders, including schizophrenia. Patients with schizophrenia are found to have higher levels of these inflammatory molecules, and antipsychotic medications are found to have anti-inflammatory effects.
To explore the connection between these two diseases, researchers conducted a literary review and meta-analysis, which analyzed the results of 12 studies, including data from 1137 participants. The objective was to explore a potential connection between patients who experienced their first episode of schizophrenia and type 2 diabetes. Researchers compared glucose intolerance, a potential precursor of type 2 diabetes, in these patients to individuals with no psychoses.
The results of this study indicate that participants who had their first episode of schizophrenia had higher levels of glucose intolerance than individuals without psychoses. This supports the notion that these two diseases may share a similar inflammatory link.
The results of this study may have implications for the management of type 2 diabetes in patients with schizophrenia. People with schizophrenia have twice the risk of mortality than the general population, with most of this risk accounted for by physical illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes.
Written By: Nicole Pinto, HBSc