A new study by Mount Sinai scientists reveals for the first time that there is a link between physical and behavioral characteristics, like age, body mass index (BMI), and substance use, and specific patterns of brain structure and function in patients with psychosis. The findings of the study can be targeted clinically that will help improve brain health in psychotic patients.
The scientists found, among other things, that brain health declines as age, BMI, and substance use increase. But higher IQs were positively associated with multiple measures of brain health in people with psychosis . The results of the study are published online in JAMA Psychiatry.
Psychosis is a term used to describe severe mental disorders characterized by symptoms in which an individual has sensory experiences of things that do not exist or beliefs with no basis in reality. Approximately 100,000 people experience psychosis each year in the United States and as many as 3 in 100 people will have an episode at some point in their lives. The findings of this study have important implications for clinical care as they identify multiple modifiable factors that can be targeted to improve brain health in patients with psychosis.
"These new results provide new insights on the many factors that influence brain integrity in patients with psychosis and provide evidence for the need for integrated physical and cognitive interventions in addition to psychiatric care," said Dr. Frangou.
"Patients with psychosis often have multiple health problems that impair their daily function and reduce life expectancy compared to the general population. Improving physical well-being and brain health should be the two pillars of clinical care for patients with psychosis."