Project 4 Predicting the physical health burden of first-episode psychosis

Research Theme Physical health in people with psychosis

A quantitative project to develop and test a prediction tool to forecast short- and long-term physical health comorbidities associated with First Episode Psychosis (FEP)

This project is focused on the physical health of people with psychosis, who are known to have increased rates of physical health comorbidities. Existing evidence indicates that the life expectancy gap between those with psychosis and the general population is increasing rather than narrowing. The reasons for this are complex. Established cardiovascular risk factors, including smoking, dyslipidaemia, diabetes mellitus, obesity, and hypertension, are more common in people with psychosis. Shared genetic vulnerabilities may also be relevant, along with unhealthy lifestyle factors and insufficient medical care. Antipsychotic medication may also increase risk.

This project will begin with a systematic review on the prevalence of the physical health comorbidity in FEP. We will use this to inform the development of a prediction model for the short, medium, and long-term physical health comorbidities associated with psychosis. We will then seek to validate the model using follow-up data from two Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) services in Ireland and a large, international data set.

This project offers a unique opportunity to work at the policy, practice interface at a national level. The study will address gaps in knowledge required for cost effective service planning.

Project team

Project lead scholar
Anna Zierotin

Principal investigators
Professor Mary Clarke (UCD)
Associate Professor Brian O’Donoghue (University of Melbourne)
Dr. Karen O’Connor (UCC)

Primary institutional base
University College Dublin (UCD)