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Psychiatric Morbidity and Time Zone Changes: A Study of Patients from Heathrow Airport

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2018

P. Jauhar
Affiliation:
Duke Street Hospital, Glasgow; St Thomas's Hospital
Malcolm P. I. Weller
Affiliation:
Friern, Whittington and the Royal Northern Hospitals and Royal Free Hospital Medical School; Charing Cross Hospital Medical School

Summary

In a two-year period, 186 patients were admitted from Heathrow Airport to the nearest psychiatric hospital. Affective illness was related to time zone change. Depression was diagnosed significantly more often on flights from east to west (P < 0.012 east to west versus west to east; P < 0.015 north to south combined with south to north versus east to west, Fisher's exact probability test, two tailed). Hypomania was inversely related to depression in an east to west comparison (P < 0.025). No other associations with direction of travel were seen in other diagnoses. Ninety-three (50 per cent) were diagnosed as schizophrenic; 24 of these had been aimlessly wandering. Twenty patients had been admitted at least once before under similar circumstances. Schizophrenic patients from Heathrow constituted 20 per cent of the total number of schizophrenic patients admitted to the hospital during that period.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1982 

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