Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Improving Lifestyle Factors for those with Severe Mental Health Issues


As goes the body, so goes the brain. Or something like that.

The image above is from a study looking at the brains of adolescent smokers. Clearly, smoking is bad for the brain - and the brain is already malfunctioning, adding smoking just makes it worse (imo).

This article looks at the high incidence of poor lifestyle choices in the severely mentally ill (smoking, drinking, drug use, obesity, etc.). The paper suggests "the benefits of lifestyle interventions based on diet and exercise designed to minimize and reduce the negative impact of these risk factors on the physical health of patients with severe mental illnesses."

I would add that a healthier body can contribute to a healthier brain - it's time to end the body/brain split (mind = body/brain and a whole lot more), and this is a small step in the right direction.


Efficacy of lifestyle interventions in physical health management of patients with severe mental illness

Fernando ChaconFernando MoraAlicia Gervas-Rios and Inmaculada Gilaberte


Annals of General Psychiatry 2011, 10:22. doi:10.1186/1744-859X-10-22
Published: 19 September 2011

Abstract (provisional)

Awareness of the importance of maintaining physical health for patients with severe mental illnesses has recently been on the increase. Although there are several elements contributing to poor physical health among these patients as compared with the general population, risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as smoking, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome, and obesity are of particular significance due to their relationship with mortality and morbidity. These patients present higher vulnerability to cardiovascular risk factors based on several issues, such as genetic predisposition to certain pathologies, poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyles, high proportions of smokers and drug abusers, less access to regular health care services, and potential adverse events during pharmacological treatment. Nevertheless, there is ample scientific evidence supporting the benefits of lifestyle interventions based on diet and exercise designed to minimize and reduce the negative impact of these risk factors on the physical health of patients with severe mental illnesses.

The complete article is available as a provisional PDF. The fully formatted PDF and HTML versions are in production.

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