Schizophrenia worsens with diabetes, study finds

Diabetes can exacerbate cognitive impairment in individuals with schizophrenia, according to new research from the University of Wollongong in Australia.

Memory and attention may be the areas most affected, researchers said, which could be associated with the brain changes caused by abnormal glucose metabolism.

The study

For the study, researchers analyzed 127 patients with schizophrenia, 55 patients with schizophrenia and diabetes and 106 patients with diabetes. They compared the cognitive impairment of these individuals to 190 healthy patients. Individuals with both schizophrenia and diabetes showed the worst cognitive impairment in areas of immediate memory and attention, while also showing lower RBANS (Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status) scores.

"Impaired glucose regulation/availability contributes to the vulnerability for memory deficits in schizophrenia, which may be associated with the extensive hippocampal abnormalities in schizophrenia," the study authors wrote in PLOS One.

Researchers also suggested that factors like ethnicity, genetic background and duration of the diseases (both schizophrenia and diabetes) might play a role in cognitive impairment, too.

The results of the study are consistent with other research that found cognitive performance was worse across all areas in patients with schizophrenia and diabetes than in patients with either just schizophrenia or just diabetes.

The pathophysiological mechanisms of cognitive impairments in schizophrenia are not completely understood, and deserve further investigation," the authors concluded.

Source: Medscape

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