Food and Behaviour Research

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Schizophrenia, tardive dyskinesia and essential fatty acids

Vaddadi, K.S., Gilleard, C.J., Soosai, E., Polonowita, A.K., Gibson, R.A., Burrows, G.D. (1996) Schizophrenia Research 20(3) 287-94 

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Several reports have indicated that people suffering from schizophrenia show an associated abnormality in levels of certain essential fatty acids (EFAs) in blood cells. Similar abnormalities have also been noted in association with the presence of tardive dyskinesia (TD). In order to study this further, 72 patients with the diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were examined to assess the relationship between psychiatric status, movement disorder (TD) and relative levels of the n-3 and n-6 essential fatty acids in red blood cell membranes and plasma. Patients were followed up over the next 4.5 years to determine whether or not changes in clinical state showed any systematic relationship to changes in essential fatty acid levels. We hypothesised that patients with schizophrenia would show persistently lowered levels of n-6 and n-3 series essential fatty acids, compared with normal controls. We further hypothesised that this abnormality would be greater in the presence versus absence of TD and the dominance of negative rather than positive symptoms. The only consistent findings were that lower levels of linoleic acid and higher levels of dihomogamma-linolenic acid characterised the patient population compared with control subjects but there was considerable variability in patients' EFA profile.