Rates of psychosis can be close to eight times (800%) higher in some regions compared to others, finds a new study led by researchers at UCL, King’s College London and the University of Cambridge.
The study, published today in JAMA Psychiatry, was the biggest international comparison of incidence of psychotic disorders, and the first major study of its kind in more than 25 years.
“It’s well-established that psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, are highly heritable, but genetics don’t tell the whole story. Our findings suggest that environmental factors can also play a big role,” said the study’s lead author, Dr James Kirkbride (UCL Psychiatry).“We need more in-depth research to understand why people in some areas may be at greater risk of developing a psychotic disorder, which could help us understand the roots of the condition and guide health care planning,” he said.
The authors estimated the incidence of psychotic disorders across 17 areas in six countries - the UK, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Brazil - using comparable methodology. Their data was drawn from people aged 18-64 who contacted mental health services after a suspected first psychotic episode, which included 2,774 incident cases in total.
Study Web Site:
Past research has suggested that poor prenatal care (nutrition and stress during pregnancy), and adverse childhood experiences (stresses), likely are key factors in this variation in rates of schizophrenia in different parts of the world.
Toxic Stress in Childhood:
Toxic Stress of Poverty:
Adverse Childhood Experiences:The Lifelong Impact of Childhood stress:
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and another related study: