It is important for psychiatric nurses to catch prodromal symptoms as soon as possible in order to prevent psychiatric symptoms deteriorating. Up to now, prodromal symptoms have tended to be researched as phenomenological and daily episodes unmeasurable. I believe that prodromal symptoms must be objective ones to a certain degree. Therefore the attention has been directed to the change in a patient's steps as one of the measurable prodromal symptoms. If the change in the number of a patient's steps is related to the changes of his mental symptoms, psychiatric nurses will be able to predict to a limited extent the change of his mental symptoms.
The subjects are six patients with schizophrenia in a mental hospital in Yamagata City. The nurses measured the number of steps with pedometers from ten in the morning to four in the afternoon, Monday through Friday. They averaged the sum of them weekly. The doctor in charge evaluated the patients' mental symptoms on Friday every week with PANSS.The total scores of positive, negative, and general psychopathological symptoms in PANSS were mainly used to compare with the number of a patient's steps. The duration of the research differed with the patients, and ranged between 25 weeks to 39 weeks.
In four of the six patients, three scores of positive, negative, and general psychopathological symptoms, or part therof, showed some significant positive correlations not only with the number of the present steps but also with that of four weeks before. In one of the remaining two patients, five mental symptoms showed significant correlations in relation to the number of steps of a few weeks before. From these results it can be surmised that in a fair number of patients with schizophrenia in a mental hospital, the change in the number of their steps probably precedes the change of mental symptoms.