Hope comes from clues to antipsychotic drugs.

Olanzapine and clozapine are recognised as the most effective medications for treating many people with schizophrenia and are very widely used, but they are often associated with significant weight gain and defects in glucose metabolism,” says Dr Shepherd. “People with schizophrenia are at increased risk of metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes, which can have serious implications for long-term health. While there is some evidence for a genetic link between the conditions, it is also clear that antipsychotic medications can directly affect metabolism and we want to understand how this happens.”

“Our research showed that treatment with olanzapine caused changes in food preference, body composition, glucose metabolism and insulin secretion in rats. In the short-term it induced large increases in blood glucose and insulin secretion. Treatment with olanzapine induced a strong preference for a high fat, high-sugar diet and, in animals given access to this diet, resulting in a greater-than normal increase in both weight and fat mass.”