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Comment & Response
May 2016

Premature Mortality and Schizophrenia—The Need to Heal Right From the Start

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Endocrinology, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 3The Zucker Hillside Hospital, Psychiatry Research, North Shore–Long Island Jewish Health System, Glen Oaks, New York
  • 4Hofstra North Shore–LIJ School of Medicine, Hempstead, New York
  • 5The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, New York
  • 6Early Psychosis Program, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 7School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(5):535-536. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.3432

To the Editor Using a retrospective Medicaid database, Olfson et al1 reported an alarming 3.5-fold increased and growing mortality risk in people with schizophrenia. Standardized mortality ratios were particularly high for cardiovascular illness and smoking- and substance use–related mortality causes. One acknowledged relevant limitation of this study, and all database studies, was lacking information on established risk factors. While the assessment of diet and exercise is not part of usual care, data on smoking, weight, and glucose and lipid levels are available, collected (albeit still far too incompletely) and available in patient medical records. There is an enormous need and opportunity to include this crucial information as part of insurance and other large databases.

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