Metabolic syndrome in schizophrenia patients associated with poor premorbid school performance in early adolescence

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2016 Apr;133(4):289-97. doi: 10.1111/acps.12528. Epub 2015 Nov 12.


Objective: More than 40% of patients with schizophrenia have an additional diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome (MS), possibly related to poor cognition. This study investigated premorbid and current cognitive functioning in schizophrenia and co-occurrence of MS.

Method: A total of 104 participants with schizophrenia with MS and 142 without MS were included. Neuropsychological assessment was carried out using the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III, Word Learning Task, and Continuous Performance Test-HQ. Premorbid functioning was assessed retrospectively with the Premorbid Adjustment Scale. anovas were used to examine differences between participants with and without MS.

Results: Subjects with and without MS did not differ concerning current, lifetime and amount substance use, duration/severity of illness, parental socioeconomic status (SES), and type/amount of antipsychotic medication. We found that poor school performance between the ages 12 and 16 is associated with MS in schizophrenia. Educational level and current cognitive functioning in participants with MS deviate as compared to those without MS.

Conclusion: Subjects with MS had impaired premorbid cognition in adolescence and lower educational achievement, irrespective of parental SES. This suggests poor premorbid cognitive functioning is a risk factor for metabolic complications later in life. Future studies are needed to examine whether cognitive interventions have beneficial effects on general health in schizophrenia.

Keywords: cognition; metabolic syndrome; premorbid functioning; schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / metabolism
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Metabolic Syndrome / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Schizophrenia / metabolism*
  • Social Adjustment
  • Young Adult