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Medical Comorbidity, Mortality in Schizophrenia

Schizophr Res; ePub 2018 Dec 6; Brink, et al

Excess medical comorbidity persists across the lifespan of people with schizophrenia and into older age, according to a recent study. Furthermore, no age-related decrease in incidence of major chronic medical comorbidities in schizophrenia was found except for diabetes. A register-based, retrospective, nested case-control study was conducted, identifying incident cases of cardiovascular disease (CVD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, and diabetes, as well as mortality due to these diseases, across the lifespan in schizophrenia. A schizophrenia cohort consisting of 4,924 individuals aged 18–40 years registered with a diagnosis of schizophrenia during admission to a psychiatric hospital unit in 1970–79. Schizophrenia cases were age- and gender-matched with 22,597 controls in the general population. Researchers found:

  • Rate ratio (RR) of CVD and cancer were similar to controls.
  • The RR of COPD and diabetes were increased across the lifespan.
  • The probability of having been diagnosed prior to dying from CVD, cancer, pulmonary diseases, or diabetes was markedly reduced in schizophrenia cases compared to controls.
  • The RR of all-cause mortality and mortality from CVD, COPD, and diabetes remained elevated in all age groups in schizophrenia.


Brink M, Green A, Bojesen AB, Lamberti JS, Conwell Y, Andersen K. Excess medical comorbidity and mortality across the lifespan in schizophrenia.: A nationwide Danish register study. [Published online ahead of print December 6, 2018]. Schizophr Res. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2018.10.020.