The investigators found significant associations between BrainAGE scores and a diagnosis of FEP (P = .005), overweight/obesity category (P = .007), and body mass index (P = .02). Furthermore, the association found between BrainAGE score and BMI was related to an association between BrainAGE score and weight (P = .009), but not to height (P = .13).
“These findings raise the possibility that targeting metabolic health in FEP and intervening already at the level of overweight/obesity could slow brain aging in schizophrenia and related disorders,” reportedof the National Institute of Mental Health in Klecany, Czech Republic, and his coauthors.
The researchers recruited 120 patients with FEP as defined by the ICD-10 during their first psychiatric hospitalization. People with psychotic mood disorders were excluded.
“We wanted to recruit participants at the early stages of illness, to minimize the effects of illness and medications on brain structure,” the investigators wrote.
One hundred fourteen healthy controls were recruited through advertisements, and exclusion criteria included a lifetime history of any psychiatric disorders and the presence of psychotic disorders in either first- or second-degree relatives.
All participants were asked about their medical history, including their use and/or abuse of substances. Fasting blood samples were collected on the scanning day.