Metabolic Syndrome in Response to Second Generation Anti-psychotics

A study recently published in the journal Translational Psychology demonstrates a single genetic variation that increases the risk of developing metabolic syndrome by a factor of six, among children taking second-generation anti-psychotics.

Conducted by scientists in the Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia (Canada), the study showed a correlation between anti-psychotics and the development of high blood pressure and elevated fasting blood sugar levels. These two conditions are present in metabolic syndrome, a collection of symptoms that predisposes an individual to cardiovascular disease. Two of the drugs found to cause the problems are quentiapine (Seroquel) and risperidone (Risperdal), and are prescribed not only for psychotic disorders, but also for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, and substance abuse.

Increased susceptibility to metabolic syndrome was found to result from a variation to the MTHFR gene called C677T. This variation has already been implicated in metabolic syndrome in schizophrenic adults, and in cardiovascular disease. The UBC study was among the first to focus on children, and assessed 209 children admitted to BC Children's Hospital between 2008 and 2011. Of these, eight percent had the C677T variation, and were ultimately six times more likely to have metabolic syndrome.

The next step, say the authors of the study, will be to analyze dietary intake and vitamin B regulation in C677T individuals. The MTHFR gene regulates the metabolism of vitamin B. For now, the important thing is to avoid replacing one set of chronic, life-threatening diseases (mental illness) with another (metabolic syndrome). Since mental health patients are already likely to have higher mortality due to cardiac issues, it's vital to avoid exacerbating the problem when they are still children.

Source: Child and Family Research Institute (British Columbia)

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