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Does Gender Affect Schizophrenia?

Posted Oct 02 2008 6:16pm

Are there important differences in men and women suffering from schizophrenia? A paper published in a recent issue of Psychopharmacology Bulletin (2007:40) seems to suggest that there are. Women with schizophrenia tend to differ from males by having better functioning before the onset of psychotic symptoms, a later age at onset, a distinct symptom profile and better course of illness, and different structural brain abnormalities and cognitive deficits. Additionally, premenopausal women appear to have a superior response to typical antipsychotics compared to men and postmenopausal women. These gender differences appear to stem from the connection between hormonal and psychosocial factors. Estrogen in particular may play a protective role in women with schizophrenia and account for some of the gender differences observed in the disorder. Despite the potential benefit of estrogen in this population, women with schizophrenia appear to be at risk for hormonal diseases, either due to side effects from antipsychotic medication or, possibly, as a result of the illness itself. The authors stress the need for more research to examine the role for hormonal therapies in women with schizophrenia and gender differences in how antipsychotic medications work.

GClick here for the abstract.

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