Funded by: 2020 MSH Research Support Scheme – 2020 Program Grants

Lead Investigators:

  • Professor Dan Siskind, PA Hospital
  • Dr Justin Chapman, Consumer Consultant, Metro South Hospital and Health Service
  • Associate Professor Anthony Russell, Director, Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane
  • Professor Steve Kisley, Director of Research, Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services (MSAMHS)
  • Dr Shuichi Suetani, QCMHR PhD Student

Research from our group has found that people with schizophrenia are 3 times more likely to die earlier than the general population, leading to a gap in life expectancy of over 16 years. The main causes for this mortality gap are avertable cardiometabolic diseases, notably cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome. People with schizophrenia have a genetic predisposition to abnormal blood glucose, but also have
poor diet, high levels of sedentary behaviour, and are subject to the obesogenic effects of antipsychotic medications. One in three people with schizophrenia do not respond to first or second line antipsychotics. For these people with treatment refractory schizophrenia, clozapine is by far the most effective antipsychotic. However, clozapine is associated with the highest rates of metabolic disturbance and obesity.

Our research aims to tackle the modifiable causes of cardiometabolic disease with a goal of reducing the mortality gap for people with schizophrenia. The program grant takes a biopsycho-social approach via pharmacological and lifestyle (diet and exercise) interventions for metabolic disorders. Our MExiCO trial builds on our pilot studies to run a definitive RCT of exenatide for people with clozapine associated obesity not responsive to metformin. The RIPENS study is an implementation study of evidence-based lifestyle interventions within a large public mental health service at Metro South. This multi-faceted approach to addressing the burden of disease is innovative, and highly grounded in the clinical service in which we operate, increasing the clinical translation capacity of this program.

Other Projects

Clozapine Obesity and Semaglutide Treatment (COaST).

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Impact of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program on colorectal cancer outcomes for people over the age of 50 with severe mental illness

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Cannabidiol (CBD) for clozapine refractory schizophrenia (CanCloz)

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Using microbiome associated inflammatory biomarkers to predict and enhance treatment response among people with schizophrenia

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