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Metabolic Syndrome and Neurocognition in Schizophrenia

Metabolic syndrome (MS) has a negative impact on neurocognition in patients with schizophrenia, a new study found. 121 patients with schizophrenia from an outpatient service of 2 psychiatric centers were assessed on a neurocognitive battery and by metabolic measures. Among the details:

  • 56.2% of patients fulfilled the consensus criteria for MS.
  • Patients with MS demonstrated significantly poorer performance in the cognitive domains of processing speed, cognitive processing, and selective attention.
  • Patients with MS had significantly poorer auditory and verbal memory and immediate recall memory.


Grover, et al. Relationship of metabolic syndrome and neurocognitive deficits in patients with schizophrenia. [Published online ahead of print May 15, 2019]. Psychiatry Res. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2019.05.023.


While metabolic syndrome (MS) is a medical condition that is increasingly prevalent in the general population, it is even more common among people with schizophrenia. MS is defined as having at least 3 of 5 cardiovascular morbidity/mortality risk factors: abdominal obesity, hyperglycemia, hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. It is said that what is good for the body is good for the brain. Findings of this study help emphasize the opposite corollary, what is detrimental for the body is also harmful for the brain. MS is not strictly a disorder of the heart and peripheral vasculature, but that it has broader health impact, including a negative effect on cognitive functioning. From a clinical implication standpoint, the study investigators make the excellent point that psychiatrists should look for hypertension and lipid abnormalities and make efforts to help their patients help their MS be appropriately managed. —Martha Sajatovic, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and of Neurology; Willard Brown Chair in Neurological Outcomes Research; Director, Neurological and Behavioral Outcomes Center, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center; Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.