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Exploring the Relationship Between Body Mass Index and Positive Symptom Severity in Persons at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis

Caravaggio, Fernando PhD*; Brucato, Gary PhD†‡; Kegeles, Lawrence S. MD, PhD†‡; Lehembre-Shiah, Eugénie BSc; Arndt, Leigh Y. BSc; Colibazzi, Tiziano MD; Girgis, Ragy MD†‡

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: November 2017 - Volume 205 - Issue 11 - p 893–895
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000736
Brief Reports

Metabolic health and positive symptom severity has been investigated in schizophrenia, but not in clinical high risk (CHR) patients. We hypothesized that greater body mass index (BMI) in CHR patients would be related to less positive symptoms. We examined this relationship in CHR patients being treated with 1) no psychotropic medications (n = 58), 2) an antipsychotic (n = 14), or 3) an antidepressant without an antipsychotic (n = 10). We found no relationship between BMI and positive symptoms in unmedicated CHR patients, the majority of whom had a narrow BMI range between 20 and 30. However, in the smaller sample of CHR patients taking an antidepressant or antipsychotic, BMI was negatively correlated with positive symptoms. Although potentially underpowered, these preliminary findings provide initial steps in elucidating the relationships between metabolic health, neurochemistry, and symptom severity in CHR patients.

*Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and †Department of Psychiatry and Radiology, and ‡The Center of Prevention & Evaluation, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York.

Send reprint requests to Fernando Caravaggio, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, 250 College Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 1L8. E-mail:

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