Metabolic risk factors of cognitive impairment in young women with major psychiatric disorder

Front Psychiatry. 2022 Jul 29:13:880031. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2022.880031. eCollection 2022.


Background: Cognitive performance improves clinical outcomes of patients with major psychiatric disorder (MPD), but is impaired by hyperglycemia. Psychotropic agents often induce metabolism syndrome (MetS). The identification of modifiable metabolic risk factors of cognitive impairment may enable targeted improvements of patient care.

Objective: To investigate the relationship between MetS and cognitive impairment in young women with MPD, and to explore risk factors.

Methods: We retrospectively studied women of 18-34 years of age receiving psychotropic medications for first-onset schizophrenia (SCH), bipolar disorder (BP), or major depressive disorder (MDD). Data were obtained at four time points: presentation but before psychotropic medication; 4-8 and 8-12 weeks of psychotropic therapy; and enrollment. MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery, (MCCB)-based Global Deficit Scores were used to assess cognitive impairment. Multiple logistic analysis was used to calculate risk factors. Multivariate models were used to investigate factors associated with cognitive impairment.

Results: We evaluated 2,864 participants. Cognitive impairment was observed in 61.94% of study participants, and was most prevalent among patients with BP (69.38%). HbA1c within the 8-12 week-treatment interval was the most significant risk factor and highest in BP. Factors in SCH included pre-treatment waist circumference and elevated triglycerides during the 8-12 weeks treatment interval. Cumulative dosages of antipsychotics, antidepressants, and valproate were associated with cognitive impairment in all MPD subgroups, although lithium demonstrated a protect effect (all P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Cognitive impairment was associated with elevated HbA1c and cumulative medication dosages. Pre-treatment waist circumference and triglyceride level at 8-12 weeks were risk factors in SCH. Monitoring these indices may inform treatment revisions to improve clinical outcomes.

Keywords: HbA1c; cognitive impairment; major psychiatric disorder; metabolic syndrome; risk factors.