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San Diego Researchers Study Schizophrenia Link To Shorter Life

— Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder, characterized by delusions, loss of reality and other symptoms—including a life span 20 to 25 years shorter than for those without the disease.

Aired 6/14/12 on KPBS News.

People with schizophrenia age faster and live much shorter lives than most.

Brain Scan Of Patient With Schizophrenia

Above: Brain Scan Of Patient With Schizophrenia

Researchers at the Stein Institute for Research on Aging at UC San Diego received a $4 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to explore the link between accelerated aging and premature death in people with schizophrenia.

The grant will pay for a five-year comprehensive study of more than 250 people with schizophrenia.

“There are a lot of factors to consider, including medications, stress, life style, and access to health care,” said co-principal investigator Gregory Light, an associate professor of psychiatry at UCSD.

“The study will try to identify when, where, and how to intervene to improve life outcomes in people who have schizophrenia,” said Light.

He also said data discovered throughout the study might apply to other disorders linked to accelerated aging, like Down Syndrome.

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