Environmental temperature is known to correlate with schizophrenia, but little is known about the association with changes in temperature. This 12-year study aimed to evaluate the relationship between the mean daily range of ambient temperature and schizophrenia admissions in a national cohort of psychiatric inpatients in Taiwan. Meteorological data provided by the Central Weather Bureau of Taiwan were interpolated to create representative estimates. Psychiatric inpatient admissions in all hospitals with medical services enrolled in the current health care insurance system were retrieved from the 1996-2007 Psychiatric Inpatient Medical Claim dataset of the National Health Insurance Research Database. Generalized linear models with Poisson distributions were used to analyze the impact of mean diurnal change of temperature on schizophrenia admissions, controlling for internal correlations and demographic covariates. The daily temperature range varied between 1.7°C and 12.1°C (1st to 99th percentile). The relative risk of schizophrenia admission was significantly increased at a temperature range of 3.2°C (10th percentile), and the maximum was at 12.1°C (99th percentile); however, no such association was found with schizoaffective disorder. When restricted to the capital and largest city, the effects of temperature range were prominent and may correlate with temperature itself. The joint effect of temperature and temperature range was associated with elevated risk, particularly at cooler temperatures. A positive correlation was found between increasing temperature range and schizophrenia admissions. The increase in morbidity at high percentiles suggests that the increasing dynamics of temperature range are a valid reflection of risk, highlighting the need for precautionary action.
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