Metabolic psychiatry: understanding the research and clinical interface between metabolism and mental illness.

Date: Wednesday 19 June
Time: 11.55am - 1.10pm
Stream: Clinical practice


Metabolic psychiatry represents an area of very high priority for patients and families because people with severe mental illness (SMI) have high rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes and increased mortality from cardiovascular disease. These physical health inequalities are influenced by physical activity, diet and psychotropic medications but there are also shared biological mechanisms between metabolic dysfunction (insulin resistance, obesity and diabetes) and psychopathology (psychosis, mania and severe depression). There is also evidence that metabolic interventions (such as ketogenic diets and metformin) may be effective in treating both mental health and metabolic outcomes in people with SMI. This session represents a state-of-the-art presentation of the latest findings in the field of metabolic psychiatry. Attendees will learn about the clinical and biological overlap (and shared mechanisms) between metabolic dysfunction and mental illness and they will gain new knowledge about novel interventions in this area, such the ketogenic diet for bipolar disorder. 

Overall, this session will present research findings on the physical/mental health interface with a clinical and practical focus:

  • Depression and diabetes: shared mechanisms and treatment approaches
  • Using genomic approaches to stratify severe mental illness by metabolism
  • Pilot study of the ketogenic diet as a new treatment for bipolar disorder


This session aims to:

  • Understand the biological and environmental factors that drive poor clinical outcomes in people with depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
  • Understand how genetic research can be used to stratify people with severe mental illness into 'metabolic' and 'non-metabolic' sub-groups
  • Understand how to use metabolic approaches as a treatment for depression and schizophrenia
  • Gain new knowledge about the rationale and feasibility of the ketogenic diet as a treatment for bipolar disorder


Chair: Professor Daniel Smith, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh

Professor Khalida Ismail, King's College London, London

Dr Rona Stawbridge, University of Glasgow, Glasgow

Dr Iain Campbell, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh

Please email or call 020 8618 4120 with any enquiries.