Using a statistical model to magnify the analytical powers of genome-wide association studies, a team led by scientists at the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Oslo in Norway has provided clues as to why individuals with schizophrenia have an increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease (Andreassen OA et al. Am J Hum Genet. 2013;92:197-209).
The researchers found single-nucleotide changes or polymorphisms known to be associated with schizophrenia that are also linked with cardiovascular disease risk factors. Specifically, of the 25 loci they found to be associated with schizophrenia, 10 were also associated with heart-related factors, including triglyceride and lipoprotein levels, waist-to-hip ratio, systolic blood pressure, and body mass index.