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Approved research

Risk factors for cardiovascular disease in people with schizophrenia

Principal Investigator: Miss Alexandra Berry
Approved Research ID: 33542
Approval date: July 3rd 2018

Lay summary

This project is split into two phases: The first phase aims to investigate clinical, behavioural and sociodemographic risk factors that may underlie the increased incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) seen in people with schizophrenia. The research question for this phase is: What risk factors are associated with cardiovascular events in people with schizophrenia? The second phase aims to investigate whether schizophrenia modifies the observed associations between clinical, behavioural and sociodemographic risk factors and cardiovascular events. The research question for this phase is: Do the aetiological profiles for CVD vary between people with schizophrenia compared to the rest of the population? People with schizophrenia have a reduced life expectancy by 10 to 30 years compared to the general population. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most common cause of death, whereby people with schizophrenia may have a more than doubled risk of death from CVD compared to the general population. It is therefore important to be able to identify which factors increase the risk for CVD in this group, so that interventions can be appropriately designed and implemented. Such interventions may extend life expectancy and reduce cardiovascular morbidity. For example, if sleep emerges as a key independent risk factor for CVD, then trialing sleep interventions in people with schizophrenia may demonstrate important benefits to their physical health. Moreover, the outputs of this project could ultimately result in service-level changes as currently some of the risk factors that this project proposes to measure are not routinely collected from people with schizophrenia. For example if sedentary behaviour emerges as a key CVD risk factor, this could impact the ways in which physical activity is promoted and delivered in clinical practice or interventions. We therefore expect this project will result in highly cited academic publications as well as translational impact on clinical practice. This project will form the basis of Applicant Alexandra Berry's PhD thesis. We aim to complete the project by no later than March 2019 and published by no later than September 2019.