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Why is this work important?

People with serious mental illness (SMI) have high metabolic and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Approximately 60% of people with serious mental illness are overweight or obese and are 3 times more likely to have obesity than the general population [1].


  • People with SMI have 2 -3 times the risk of Type 2 Diabetes [2,3,4].

  • People with SMI have 2-3 times increased mortality from cardiovascular disease [5].

  • Over 70% of deaths in those with SMI in the UK occur due to preventable physical illness [6].

This is partly driven by lifestyle, diet, psychotropic medications and access to healthcare but increasing evidence from genomics [7], epigenomics [8], metabolomics [9], transcriptomics [10] and other areas of research indicate an important biological overlap between metabolic dysfunction and severe psychopathology.

The association between metabolic dysfunction and SMI can no longer be attributed solely to side-effects of medication. 40.8% of drug-naïve patients are overweight or obese [11]. A significant part of the core pathophysiology of SMI may be metabolic in nature and a focus on metabolic aspects of SMI is supported by preliminary evidence of efficacy for interventions such as the ketogenic diet and metformin in SMI. [12, 13].

Key Aims and Outputs

Through six workstreams, the hub will work to identify the underlying connections between metabolic dysfunction and SMI and, in doing so, accelerate scientific progress toward better physical and mental health for people living with SMI.


Anticipated outputs include:

  • A better understanding of causal relationships between metabolism and SMI

  • An improved risk prediction models for physical health outcomes in SMI

  • The Identification of mechanisms linking sleep/circadian rhythms, metabolism and clinical outcomes in young adults with SMI

  • The development and testing of novel metabolic interventions for SMI

  • The creation of a data curation and data sharing platform

  • An innovative programme of PPIE, knowledge exchange and dissemination

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