Why people with schizophrenia die young

A Sydney psychiatrist is leading a bold interdisciplinary study aimed at saving people with schizophrenia from cardiometabolic disease.

Schizophrenia is a double whammy. The journal Nature describes it as the worst disease affecting mankind. And in Australia patients become ill and die 30 years younger than the general population.

This troubles Dr Tim Lambert, a Sydney Medical School Professor of Psychiatry and a research leader at the Charles Perkins Centre, which is a multidisciplinary University of Sydney project set up to tackle obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Neglect is a part of the problem, Dr Lambert says. “Psychiatrists don’t feel it’s their job to look after physical health, although it is. And many specialists won’t touch mentally ill patients.”

Medical understanding is another issue. Dr Lambert is running a clinical research project aimed