What is it about?
Schizophrenia (SZ) is linked to increased chances of having cognitive issues for life, age-related diseases, and earlier death. We wanted to find out if SZ causes the brain to age faster. To do this we looked at data from 26 cohorts from around the world with 2803 SZ patients (average age 34.2 years; range 18–72 years; 67% male) and 2598 healthy people (average age 33.8 years, range 18–73 years, 55% male). We used MRI scans to measure differences between the brain of people with SZ and healthy people. We looked at the thickness and surface area of the cortex, 7 subcortical volumes, ventricular volume, and total brain volume. The difference between a person's actual age and their predicted age based on a measuring model including all the above variables was called 'brain-PAD'. On average, people with schizophrenia had a higher 'brain-PAD' than healthy people; this difference was of of +3.55 years (95% CI: 2.91, 4.19; I2 = 57.53%) after adjusting for age, sex, and site, suggesting advanced structural brain ageing in SZ. The brain-PAD in people with SZ was not linked to age, how long someone had been sick, how bad their symptoms were, or what medications they took. The study showed that people with SZ have more advanced structural brain aging than healthy people.
Photo by Milad Fakurian on Unsplash
Why is it important?
This study provides evidence of advanced structural brain ageing in individuals with schizophrenia, which is a well-known risk factor for cognitive impairment, chronic disease, and premature mortality. These findings may help to explain some of the cognitive and physical health problems that are commonly seen in individuals with schizophrenia and suggest the need for earlier and more targeted interventions to prevent or delay these negative outcomes. Additionally, this study adds to our understanding of the underlying biology of schizophrenia and its associated cognitive and physical health outcomes. By examining brain ageing in a large sample of individuals with schizophrenia, this study provides insights into the potential mechanisms underlying cognitive impairment and other negative health outcomes in this population. This may help to identify new targets for intervention and prevention, and ultimately improve the long-term health outcomes of individuals with schizophrenia. Overall, this study is a contribution to our understanding of schizophrenia and its associated health outcomes, and it highlights the need for further research to better understand the underlying mechanisms and develop effective interventions.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: Brain ageing in schizophrenia: evidence from 26 international cohorts via the ENIGMA Schizophrenia consortium, Molecular Psychiatry, December 2022, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1038/s41380-022-01897-w.
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