Cognitive deficits, obesity and disability in schizophrenia

Martin T. Strassnig, Ricardo Caceda, John W. Newcomer, Philip D. Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Despite 50 years of pharmacological and psychosocial interventions schizophrenia remains one of the leading causes of disability. The inability to function in everyday settings includes deficits in performance of social, occupational, and independent living activities. Schizophrenia is also a life-shortening illness, caused mainly by poor physical health and its complications. Dysfunctional lifestyles including sedentary behavior and lack of physical activity prevail, while treatment with adipogenic antipsychotic medication interacts with poor performance in screening, monitoring, and intervention that result in shortening of life expectancies by 25- 30 years. Disability interferes with self-care and medical care, further worsening physical health to produce a vicious cycle of disability. Further, the neurobiological impact of obesity on brain functioning is substantial and relevant to schizophrenia. Decision making deficits that lead to choices resulting in obesity themselves have neurobiological determinants. Simultaneous treatment of cognitive deficits and related deficits in functional skills, ubiquitous determinants of everyday functioning in schizophrenia, and targeted interventions aimed at poor physical health, especially obesity and associated comorbidities, may lead to additive or even interactive gains in everyday functioning in patients with schizophrenia not previously realized with other interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-354
Number of pages10
JournalTranslational Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012


  • Cognition
  • Functional capacity
  • Novel treatments
  • Obesity
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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