Is there a Link between Symptom Severity in Schizophrenia & Low Vitamin D Levels?


Research Paper Title

The Relationship between Symptom Severity and Low Vitamin D Levels in Patients with Schizophrenia.

Background

In recent years, the relationship between schizophrenia and environmental factors has come into prominence. This study investigated the relationship between vitamin D levels and the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia by comparing vitamin D levels between patients with schizophrenia and a healthy control group.

Methods

The study included 80 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and 74 age- and sex-matched controls. The Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS) and the Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS) were used to evaluate symptom severity. The 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) levels of all subjects both patients and healthy controls were analyzed in relation to measurements of symptom severity.

Results

There were no significant differences between the groups in terms of age, sex, or physical activity. Their mean 25OHD levels were also similar (23.46±13.98ng/mL for the patient group and 23.69±9.61ng/mL for the control group). But when patients with schizophrenia were grouped based on their vitamin D levels, the results indicated a statistically significant differences between their vitamin D levels and their total SANS, affective flattening, and total SAPS, bizarre behavior and positive formal thought disorder scores (p = 0.019, p = 0.004, p = 0.015, p = 0.009 and p = 0.019, respectively). There is a negative correlation between 25OHD levels and SANS total points (r = -0.232, p = 0.038); a negative correlation for attention points (r = -0.227, p = 0.044) and negative correlation with positive formal thoughts (r = -0.257, p = 0.021).

Conclusions

The results of this study show a relationship between lower levels of vitamin D and the occurrence of positive and negative symptoms, along with increased severity of symptoms at lower levels of vitamin D, suggesting that treatment for schizophrenia should include assessment of patients’ vitamin D levels. The researchers recommend that patients with schizophrenia should be assessed with regard to their vitamin D levels.

Reference

Doğan Bulut, S., Bulut, S., Görkem Atalan, D., Berkol, T., Gürçay, E., Türker, T. & Aydemir, Ç. (2016) The Relationship between Symptom Severity and Low Vitamin D Levels in Patients with Schizophrenia. PLOS One. 11(10), pp.e0165284. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0165284. eCollection 2016.

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