Prevention Works – the New JAMA Psychiatry Paper on MIs & Mortality in Patients with Schizophrenia

Nov 1, 2018
Author: 
David Gratzer

"Statistically, people with major mental illness have a life expectancy that is decades shorter than those without. Not only is that gap significant, but it may be growing. In a 2013 paper, drawing on Danish data, Nielsen et al. showed that the expansion of life expectancy seen in the general population over the past 30 years hasn’t been enjoyed by those with schizophrenia.

Why the gap? And what can be done? A major new paper in JAMA Psychiatry considers the treatment of myocardial infarction. Like Nielsen et al., Aalborg University’s Pirathiv Kugathasan and his co-authors use Danish national databases. They focus on the use (or lack of use) of cardioprotective medications, like statins, after MI. Interestingly, they find that when people with schizophrenia have cardioprotective medications, they can match the outcomes of those without mental illness.

Is heart health the way to address the gap?

In this week’s Reading, we consider the Kugathasan et al. paper, as well as the accompanying editorial. Then we consider the big question: what can be done?"

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