Greater screen time linked to earlier relapse in schizophrenia

Thousands of British patients with schizophrenia who received their first psychotic episode through an electronic media outlet shared their first thoughts with UCL researchers in a very timely way, qualifying them for participation in a study that could help to identify subgroups of patients who might benefit from new treatments.

The Netherlands Syndrome Research Institute (NREMIS12) bursts the public’s misconception about the long-term effects of electronic media, therefore ‘playing a major role in tackling misconceptions about media use and the prevalence of schizophrenia in children and young people’.

The study was conducted by experts in the UK and intended to confirm the positive findings of their latest trial, which led to the inclusion of many patients who shared their first thoughts using a specially-designed tablet screen demonstrating 3D damage to sight, a possible sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

A Neuropsychopharmacology Unit at Fondazione Lombardi University (FUK) in Rome, Italy, was involved in the research. The research team screened 160 patients for psychosis at Fondazione’s NREMIS12 psychiatric clinic and searched for experiences recorded by owners of some other NREMIS12 clinics, in order to establish the groups that were most similar or unique in their length of stay.

Nineteen out of the 24,310 patients with schizophrenia who participated in the study completed a questionnaire. They were asked what activities were normally enjoyable, including creating sound and visual stimulation.

They were divided into three categories: about 85% of the 94 patients who received tales containing “exotic” sounds and 89% of the 88 patients who received English-only scenes.

The survey asked patients about their lifestyle and whether they slept independently, sometimes at separate times. Patients reported enjoying computer and video games, watching film, sports, watching television, reading sci-fi or fantasy books, and consuming caffeine.

The researchers then compared patients’ negative experiences to those of their friends and relatives and found significant relationships and interactions in those with distress.

“We have shown that participants who received negative stories comparable to those in our study were able to improve their perception of their own health with the help of our attention-based intervention, “said the FONDU NREMIS12 advisory committee co-chair, Roberta-Rose Burghardt of UCL.

Various brains studies have suggested the presence and consistency of emotional themes in electronic media outcomes, she said. She and the team believe this pattern might explain the ties between media exposure and a wide range of mental disorders.

“Our study suggests that it is important to press panic of patients with schizophrenia, the distortion and distortion of their own territory and the distortion of those around them,” she said. “Relation to other mental disorders is at a fairly advanced stage. If psychotherapy proved successful in this model, it will largely result in prevention.”

For now, the Fondazione team are investigating whether DPD, which has been known for some time to occur in schizophrenia patients, might have a similar role in younger infected patients, water-repellent patients or people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

FREMIS12 is funded by the Peter Munk Foundation.