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16-01-2012 | Mental health | Article

Exercise capacity linked to global functioning in schizophrenia patients


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MedWire News: Functional exercise capacity is significantly, positively associated with global functioning in patients with schizophrenia, research shows.

"In recent years, physical health issues and specifically metabolic and cardiovascular comorbidity have become a major focus in both clinical care and research in patients with schizophrenia," observe Davy Vancampfort (Catholic University Leuven, Belgium) and team.

The researchers explain that in such patients, the "6-minute walk test (6MWT) is an inexpensive, easy, and quick test, which has the potential to offer relevant functional outcome data."

But they add: "To date, no data has been published on the association of the 6MWT with global functioning outcomes in patients with schizophrenia."

To address this, the team studied 93 patients (68 men) with schizophrenia who had a mean age and body mass index (BMI) of 34.6 years and 24.9 kg/m2, respectively. Patients were excluded if they were substance dependent or had evidence of significant cardiovascular, neuromuscular, or endocrine disorders.

All of the participants were assessed using the 6MWT and the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) score. The Psychosis Evaluation tool for Common use by Caregivers (PECC) was used to evaluate psychiatric symptoms.

Overall, mean distance walked on the 6MWT was 587.3 m and the mean GAF score was 52.0.

Pearson's correlation testing revealed a significant, moderate, and positive association between 6MWT results and GAF scores.

By contrast, 6MWT results were significantly, negatively associated with negative, depressive, and cognitive symptoms on the PECC, as well as with BMI, smoking, and antipsychotic medication dosage.

There was no significant association between 6MWT results and PECC scores for positive and excitement symptoms, the researchers note.

Vancampfort and colleagues conclude in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica: "To our knowledge, the present study is the first to demonstrate that the 6MWT represents such a clinically meaningful functional capacity tool in patients with schizophrenia, as a significant moderate correlation was established between the 6MWT and the GAF score."

They add: "The observation that the performance on the 6MWT is only significantly related to negative, depressive and cognitive symptoms might be due to the fact that these symptoms restrict physical activity more than positive symptoms."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Mark Cowen

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