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The Weight of Evidence: The Role of Metformin in Cardiometabolic Protection in Early Psychosis.

Philip Ward

The relationship between weight gain and the treatment of first episode psychosis (FEP) with psychotropic medication is well established, with weight gain and increased cardiovascular risk as common sequelae. Such metabolic abnormalities create further disease burden and shorten the life expectancy of a population already dealing with mental illness. Antipsychotic-induced weight gain has been shown to commence within the first months of initiating treatment in drug-naïve youth, thus early intervention is necessary in order to attenuate the progression of metabolic abnormalities. Initial studies using metformin in this population have shown promising results.

12th Biennial Australasian Schizophrenia Conference
13-14 May 2013 Melbourne, Australia.
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Philip Ward
Philip Ward
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Philip Ward

Philip B. Ward [BMedSc, PhD]; Associate Professor and Postgraduate Research Coordinator, School of Psychiatry, UNSW Australia; Director, Schizophrenia Research Unit, Liverpool Hospital, South Western Sydney Local Health District. Prof Ward is a clinical neuroscientist, who leads an active research program investigating the cognitive neuroscience of schizophrenia, first-episode psychosis and mood disorders. Prof Ward’s early research focused on attentional deficits in schizophrenia using cognitive electrophysiology, and more recently functional neuroimaging methods. His discovery, along with colleagues based at Prince of Wales Hospital, of abnormal amplitudes of mismatch negativity in patients with schizophrenia has been one of the most replicable findings in this field. Prof Ward currently supervises the Sydney sites of a multi-centre five-year NHMRC project grant examining neurocognitive predictors of transition to psychosis in ultra-high risk subjects. Recently, Prof Ward has become interested in the role of metabolic abnormalities linked to psychotropic medication, and has developed additional translational research streams based on neuroplasticity, including the role of exercise in improving brain structure and function in first-episode psychosis and the real world efficacy of computerised cognitive remediation. He has received NHMRC Project and/or ARC Discovery grants as a chief investigator continuously from 1984. His work has been cited over 2700 times, and his h-index stands at 33 (Scopus/Web of Science, March 2013).

Co-authors: Stephanie Roland, Li Xian Lim, Prof Katherine Samaras, Dr Jackie Curtis
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