January 14, 2007

Earlier Schizophrenia Onset Predicts Worse Disease Course

An earlier age at onset of schizophrenia appears to be linked to the severity of the illness and has prognostic value, conclude investigators.

Results of a study published in the journal Schizophrenia Research, show that a younger age for a person first admitted to a hospital for schizophrenia is correlated to several increased risks including a longer first stay at the hospital. Other correlations are multiple hospital admissions and more inpatient days per year.

Breaking out the data into age groups found that 82.5% of patients under 17 years old at first admission had more than one admission, compared with 73.5% of those aged 18-28 years at first admission, 69.4% of those aged 29-31 years, 62.9% of those aged 32-45 years, and 50.8% of those aged over 45 years.

Men were found statistically to be younger than women at first admission, but for both genders, the link between age at first admission and later hospitalization was linear.

The researchers say:

"The current study demonstrates that an earlier onset has significant long-term negative consequences for hospitalization over the course of illness. A linear trend is observed for all hospitalization outcomes studied."

"This study provides clinicians with potentially useful empirically based cut-off points, derived from population based data."

It should be noted, however, that statistics and prognoses apply to populations of people and may not be predictive of the actual outcome of any single individual's illness or life.

Read the Article: Early schizophrenia onset worsens disease course
Original Source: Schizophr Res 2006; 88: 96-101

Additional Reading:
Predicting the Course of SZ
Gender Differences in Schizophrenia
Early Treatment Confirmed as Optimal for Best Outcome
Shorter Inpatient Mental Health Treatment for Youth


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