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Valeria Frighi


Senior Clinical Researcher

  • Honorary Consultant in Endocrinology and Diabetes, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

I am an endocrinologist attached to the Dept. of Psychiatry due to my interest in the endocrine and metabolic side effects of antipsychotics and, more generally, in the physical health of patients with severe mental illness and of patients with learning disabilities. Because of this, I have set up a multidisciplinary study group, which includes specialists in psychiatry, endocrinology and biochemistry, thus bringing together the necessary expertise for studies at the interface between psychiatry and medicine.

My current research focuses on antipsychotic-induced hyperprolactinaemia, and its potential complication of secondary hypogonadism, which can lead to osteoporosis and increased risk of fractures. I have set up the Aripiprazole and Prolactin Study, funded by the National Institute of Health Research and aiming to reduce prolactin and restore normal gonadal function by add-on treatment with the partial dopamine agonist aripiprazole.

I am currently writing a set of guidelines for the diagnosis and management of vitamin D deficiency in patients with learning disabilities and with severe mental illness, based on current evidence including a large study from my research group.

Before moving into endocrinology and metabolism related to psychiatry, my research was mostly in large clinical trials focusing on the prevention of complications of Type 2 diabetes and the prevention of cardiovascular disease in high-risk groups. For many years I was a member of the UK Prospective Diabetes Study Group, which published seminal studies that formed the basis for the current treatment of Type 2 diabetes. Previous research strands also include studies of transembrane ion transporters in relation to normal cellular physiology and to diabetic nephropathy.

Key publications