New study to explore an intervention to help reduce weight in people with schizophrenia

Posted by er134 at Jan 14, 2014 11:35 AM |
University of Leicester and Leicester’s Hospitals involved in project

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 14 January 2014

Researchers from Leicester are involved in a project to investigate whether people with schizophrenia or first episode psychosis are able to reduce their weight through a structured education programme.

The project is led by Professor Richard Holt at the University of Southampton and involves researchers from the University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

People with schizophrenia are two to three times more likely to be overweight or obese. As well as a range of adverse physical health consequences, such as diabetes and heart disease, weight gain may be an important factor that stops people taking their antipsychotic medication. This increases the risk of relapse of the schizophrenia and worse mental health.

However, if they can change their diet and exercise habits, their weight may reduce and quality of life improve.

The research, funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme, will develop an education approach, originally designed by the University of Leicester DESMOND team, to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, for people with schizophrenia. This will be examined in a randomised controlled STEPWISE (Structured lifestyle Education for People WIth SchizophrEnia) trial and compared to usual health and social care.

The programme will include four weekly sessions with clinicians and follow up sessions after three, six and nine months all focussing on diet and exercise.

The study will start recruiting participants from participating NHS Trusts in October 2014.

Professor Melanie Davies and Professor Kamlesh Khunti and their DESMOND Team, based at the University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, led the work in the UK and globally on Structured Education Programmes designed to meet the standards of education as outlined by NICE. The programme was initially developed for people with diabetes, however, there has been interest to develop such programmes using the DESMOND approach in other disease areas such as, for people following stoke, people with learning disabilities and the STEPWISE programme.

Richard Holt, Professor in Diabetes and Endocrinology at the University of Southampton, is leading the project in collaboration with co-investigators at the Universities of Sheffield and Leicester and mental health trusts across the UK. The study is sponsored by Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust.

“We know people with severe mental illness die 10 to 20 years earlier than the general population. The commonest cause is from heart disease and being overweight or obese increases this risk. We want to develop a programme for use in the NHS that will help people with schizophrenia address the problem of obesity,” explains Professor Holt.

Dr David Shiers, a retired GP and collaborator on the project, said: “Given how weight gain can damage long term physical health as well as increase stigma it is incumbent on clinicians to seek more effective ways to offset such a serious adverse effect of the antipsychotic medication they prescribe”.

Ends

Notes to editors

1. The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme funds research about the effectiveness, costs, and broader impact of health technologies for those who use, manage and provide care in the NHS. It is the largest NIHR programme and publishes the results of its research in the Health Technology Assessment journal, with over 600 issues published to date. The journal’s 2011 Impact Factor (4.255) ranked it in the top 10% of medical and health-related journals. All issues are available for download, free of charge, from the website. The HTA Programme is funded by the NIHR, with contributions from the CSO in Scotland, NISCHR in Wales, and the HSC R&D Division, Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland. www.hta.ac.uk

2. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has transformed research in the NHS. It has increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public, driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy, and developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research. The NIHR plays a key role in the Government’s strategy for economic growth, attracting investment by the life-sciences industries through its world-class infrastructure for health research. Together, the NIHR people, programmes, centres of excellence and systems represent the most integrated health research system in the world. For further information, visit the NIHR website (www.nihr.ac.uk).

3. This article presents independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health: http://www.nets.nihr.ac.uk/programmes/hta

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