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Valeria Frighi


Senior Clinical Researcher

  • Honorary Consultant in Endocrinology and Diabetes, Oxford 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 intellectual disabilities.

My current research focuses on the epidemiology and predictors of fractures in people with intellectual disabilities. I am the principal investigator of the study “Fractures in people with intellectual disabilities: comparison with the general population and development of a fracture risk calculator specific to these patients”. The study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research via the Research for Patient Benefit stream, and is based on data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink.  Its main aim is to create a prediction tool that could easily be used in general practice to identify patients at risk of fractures. The long-term objective is to reduce the high risk of fractures observed in patients with intellectual disabilities. For this research I have set up a multidisciplinary team, which includes national and international experts in psychiatry, epidemiology, statistics, and bone disorders.  

I am also aiming to carry out a multicentre randomised controlled trial on the prevention of antipsychotic induced weight gain and lipid changes in patients with first episode psychosis. To this purpose, I have applied for funding as a co-investigator within a multidisciplinary research team.

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, and on the relation between glycaemic control and microvascular complications in young patients with Type 1 diabetes.