Schizophrenia could increase risk of dementia in older adults

Older adults with schizophrenia are twice as likely to be diagnosed with dementia as those without, study finds.
By Danielle Haynes  |  May 31, 2014 at 10:29 AM
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INDIANAPOLIS, May 31 (UPI) -- A new study out of the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University says older adults who have schizophrenia may be at a higher risk of having dementia.

"The rates of dementia in those with schizophrenia in the study were twice that of non-schizophrenic patients," said lead researcher Hugh Hendrie, a Regenstrief Institute investigator and a scientist at the Indiana University Center for Aging Research.

The researched culled data from the medical records of more than 31,000 older adults at the average age of 70. Of the 757 who had a diagnosis of schizophrenia, 64 percent had dementia, compared to 32 percent of those without.

Those with schizophrenia also had higher rates of congestive heart failure at 45 percent compared to 38 percent without. They had more instances of serious lung and thyroid problems as well.

"The good news is those with schizophrenia are living longer; the bad news is, they are getting more of the serious physical illnesses than other people," Hendrie said.

On the plus side, those diagnosed with schizophrenia were less likely to get cancer at 30 percent compared to 43 of those without the mental illness.

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