This system described below sounds like
something that could be valuable in a lot of doctor's offices, mental
health support group offices, and public assistance offices - I hope
it gets properly funded and developed - Editor.
E-psychiatrist for quick diagnosis of Schizophrenia
SEPTEMBER 16, 2003
DOCTORS will be able to screen for, and monitor, mental health disorders,
including schizophrenia and dementia, with a system created at Queensland
Developed over the past 18 months by the university's Centre for Online
Health, the system, known as Ex-Ray, uses speech and text to diagnose
patients. Work is under way on adding imaging to the system.
Professor Joachim Diederich and Professor Peter Yellowlees say Ex-Ray
will provide a tool as capable as an expert psychiatrist. "We not
trying to pretend this is better than the psychiatrist, but we are suggesting
it may be better than many primary care clinicians."
Professor Yellowlees, professor of psychiatry and director of the Centre
for Online Health, said the PC-based test required a two to five minute
descriptive speech and/or image sample from the patient.
The data was then analysed and classified to provide immediate analysis
to assist diagnosis.
"When people with schizophrenia speak, it is not uncommon for
them to be difficult to understand," Professor Yellowlees said.
"To the layperson their speech can be odd, unusual or a bit confusing."
The same was true with depression, he said. People tended to speak
in a way that was "classically sad".
Ex-Ray combines a number of search engines, essentially, that are used
for neural networks and other machine learning approaches.
It uses algorithms to come up with a cluster of words that are identified
in particular illnesses.
In three trials, Ex-Ray delivered about 80 per cent accuracy as a screening
test for both schizophrenia and depression.
The team is seeking extra funds to extend the trials.
Professor Yellowlees estimated the global market for the tool could
be $2 billion annually, including the US.
The system may assist in diagnosis, screening and monitoring of a range
of disorders that affect up to 16 per cent of the population, such as
depression, schizophrenia, mania, dementia, delirium, drug psychoses,
stroke, ataxia and a number of neurological disorders such as Parkinson's
Ex-Ray, a project of Uniquest, the university's commercial arm, recently
won an award in the e-health category of the government and corporate
sponsored Secrets of IT Innovation Competition 2003.
Professor Yellowlees said the team had about six months of preliminary
experiments, at a cost of $300,000, to complete, and another two years
of detailed commercial development at $2 million.
"If we got substantial funding tomorrow we could get this going
fairly quickly," he said.
Source: Australian IT News
This story has been adapted from a news release
issued by Medical College Of Georgia.
FDA Seeks Diabetes Warning on Anti-Psychotic Drugs
By Ransdell Pierson
In this story from Reuters it is stated that "U.S. regulators
have requested that six of the most widely used anti-psychotic drugs
carry a warning that they can increase the risk of elevated blood sugar
and diabetes, Eli Lilly and Co. said on Wednesday. "
The story suggests that the Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly, which makes
the top-selling schizophrenia treatment Zyprexa, said the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration is also seeking the warning on the product labeling
for Johnson & Johnson's rival Risperdal, Novartis AG's Clozaril,
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Abilify, AstraZeneca Plc's Seroquel and Pfizer
The story further states that these issues related to diabetes and
Zyprexa has been to the benefit of Bristol-Myers, whose recently launched
Abilify does not cause significant weight gain among schizophrenics
-- a population that is already at high risk of developing Type
New Movie Review: Man's descent into schizophrenia
avoids cinematic stereotype
Plain Dealer Reporter
Films about schizophrenia always seem to take on one of two personalities.
There's the sentimental drama about mental illness - the one where
never-ending compassion leads to a happy ending. Then there's the other
extreme: A "mad man" goes on a rampage loaded with "deranged"
dialogue and twisted faces.
Then there's "Revolution #9."
Tim McCann's portrait of a young man's descent is a film in search
of a personality. Will it end happily? Violently? Hopeful or hopeless?
You never really know, but that's what makes it such an engaging journey.
The film follows James (Michael Risley), a 27-year-old Manhattan apartment
dweller. He's smart, handsome and successful - on the surface. Inside,
Jackson is a tumultuous soul who believes that he's being controlled
and manipulated by the media.
That might sound heavy-handed. At times, it is. But McCann is deft
at mixing obsessive camera work like that of Roman Polanski with the
detached cyber-angst of David Cronenberg to make it work.
James' trigger is a TV ad for a perfume called "Rev 9." Most
would write it off as a just another pretentious perfume commercial
that mixes sex with camera gimmicks and abstract gibberish to sell a
Not Jackson. He sees it as a much more insidious form of mind control.
So much so that he poses as a journalist and tracks down the director
of the spot. It leads to a confrontation, er, I mean, an "interview,"
as well as the film's most warped scene.
Spalding Gray is impeccable as the pompous director who compares his
"personal vision" to the cinema of Italian art-house director
Michelangelo Antonioni. James wants none of it. He wants to know, "What
do MTV and the Roman Empire have in common?"
It would be funny if the rest of "Revolution #9" wasn't so
Over the course of nine numbered scenes, James' inner turmoil not only
bubbles out but consumes his fiancee, Kim (Adrienne Shelly). She tries
to get him help at every twist and turn, only to run into one hurdle
after another - their families, a bureaucratic mental-heath system and
a cold, cold world that refuses to understand.
How do you relate to someone suffering from such a disease? Where do
you go to get them help? How do you get through to the other side?
"Revolution #9" doesn't provide answers. But it explores
the problem with the kind of nuance we rarely see on the screen.
For more information on the movie:
#9 - VHS Version, Starring: Michael Risley, Adrienne Shelly,
Director: Tim McCann, Format: Color, NTSC, Rated: NR, Studio: Wellspring
#9 - DVD Version, Starring: Michael Risley, Adrienne Shelly,
Director: Tim McCann, Format: Color, NTSC, Rated: NR, Studio: Wellspring
FDA Approves ABILIFY(TM) (Aripiprazole) for Maintaining Stability
in Patients With Schizophrenia (September 8, 2003)
PRINCETON, N.J. and TOKYO, Sept. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Bristol-Myers
Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY - News) and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA)
approved a Supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for ABILIFY(TM)
(aripiprazole) for maintaining stability in patients with schizophrenia.
"Because schizophrenia is a chronic illness that requires ongoing
treatment, it is important for physicians, consumers and family members
to have information regarding the longer-term use of medication,"
said Dr. Peter Weiden, Director of the Schizophrenia Research Program
and Professor of Psychiatry, SUNY Downstate Medical Center. "These
data demonstrate that ABILIFY is efficacious in the treatment of schizophrenia
for up to 26 weeks. In addition, the study demonstrated there were no
medically important differences between ABILIFY and placebo in several
The sNDA included results from a placebo-controlled trial involving
310 inpatients or outpatients meeting DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia
who were, by history, symptomatically stable on other antipsychotic
medications for periods of 3 months or longer. These patients were discontinued
from their antipsychotic medications and randomized to ABILIFY 15 mg/daily
or placebo for up to 26 weeks of observation for relapse. In this study,
patients who received ABILIFY 15mg/daily experienced a significantly
longer time to relapse over the subsequent 26 weeks compared to those
receiving placebo; the relative risk of relapse for aripiprazole-treated
patients was half that of placebo-treated patients (relative risk of
relapse for aripiprazole:placebo = 0.503, p < 0.001). Physicians
who elect to use ABILIFY for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate
the long-term usefulness of the drug for individual patients.
In this long-term trial, there were no medically important differences
in metabolic profile between patients receiving ABILIFY and placebo
in mean change from baseline in prolactin, fasting glucose, triglyceride,
high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or "good" cholesterol), low-density
lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad" cholesterol) and total cholesterol
Overall mean weight change in patients receiving ABILIFY over the course
of the study was -1.3 kg (-2.86 lbs) compared to -0.9 kg (-1.98 lbs)
in placebo-treated patients.
Overall weight change among ABILIFY-treated patients in a previously
conducted 52-week trial was +1.0 kg (+2.20 lbs). When patients in this
study were grouped by BMI, weight change in patients and the percentage
of patients with >/=7% increase in body weight were as follows: +2.6
kg (+5.72 lbs) and 30% in patients with BMI <23; +1.4 kg (+3.08 lbs)
and 19% in patients with BMI 23-27; and -1.2 kg (-2.64 lbs) and 8% in
patients with BMS >27.
In previously conducted short-term (4- and 6-week) placebo-controlled
trials with ABILIFY, there was no difference in the incidence of discontinuation
due to adverse events between patients treated with ABILIFY (7%) and
placebo (9%) or incidence of extrapyramidal syndrome (6% vs. 6%). In
addition, studies showed that ABILIFY was associated with a moderate
difference in sedation (11% vs. 8% for placebo), and did not cause significant
QTc interval changes. The adverse events reported in the 26-week trial
were generally consistent with those reported in the short-term trials,
except for a higher incidence of tremor (9% ABILIFY vs. 1% placebo).
In this study, the majority of these cases were of mild intensity, occurred
early in therapy (...49 days) and were of limited duration (...10 days).
Tremor infrequently led to discontinuation (<1%) of ABILIFY. In addition,
in a long-term (52-week) active controlled study, the incidence of tremor
for ABILIFY was 4.0%.
The most commonly reported adverse events associated with ABILIFY in
short-term clinical trials are headache (32% vs. 25% placebo), anxiety
(25% vs. 24% placebo), insomnia (24% vs. 19%), nausea (14% vs. 10% placebo),
vomiting (12% vs. 7% placebo), sleepiness (11% vs. 8% placebo), lightheadedness
(11% vs. 7% placebo), restlessness (10% vs. 7% placebo) and constipation
(10% vs. 8% placebo).
ABILIFY, the most recently approved treatment for schizophrenia in
the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Peru, El Salvador and
Australia, has been prescribed for more than 200,000 people in the United
ABILIFY is available in 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg and 30 mg tablets.
ABILIFY is available by prescription only.
For more information, please see http://www.abilify.com
SOURCE: Bristol-Myers Squibb; Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
SOLVAY PHARMACEUTICALS AND LUNDBECK MOVE INTO CLINICAL PHASE III
WITH JOINT SCHIZOPHRENIA TREATMENT, BIFEPRUNOX
(PRESSI.COM 09/02/2003) Solvay Pharmaceuticals and H. Lundbeck A/S today
announce their joint decision to move bifeprunox into clinical phase
III with immediate effect. The decision to move into phase III follows
the successful completion of the joint phase II program. In December
2000 the two companies announced that they would join forces in the
development and marketing of this atypical antipsychotic, bifeprunox.
Bifeprunox is a product of Solvay Pharmaceuticals' drug discovery efforts.
It was formerly known under its lab code DU127090. It is a putative
full spectrum atypical antipsychotic compound aimed at the treatment
of both positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Its mechanism
of action couples a highly potent partial agonism of the dopamine D2
receptors to an additional 5HT1A receptor partial agonist effect.
A recently finalised placebo controlled dose-finding study showed bifeprunox
to be efficacious and well tolerated in the treatment of patients with
schizophrenia. As desired, the tolerability profile was very encouraging
with no indication of weight gain, cardiovascular or extra pyramidal
side effects (EPS).
Schizophrenia is a severe disabling and chronic form of psychosis that
develops in approximately 1% of the population. Schizophrenia is characterised
by positive, negative, affective and cognitive symptoms. Positive symptoms
comprise, among others, delusions and hallucinations. The negative symptoms
include social withdrawal, blunted affects and diminished capacity of
speech. Affective symptoms are mainly depression and anxiety. Typical
cognitive deficits are impaired attention and memory and some times
disorganised speech. While currently most widely used treatments may
be effective in controlling acute symptoms of schizophrenia they are
all associated with a variety of side effects that negatively influence
their usefulness in long-term treatment. New treatments that improve
symptomatology but with reduced side effects are therefore desirable.
Solvay Pharmaceuticals global head of Research and Development, Werner
Cautreels, said "new and better medicines for treating schizophrenia
are really needed by psychiatrists and bifeprunox is looking very promising.
We hope to be able to bring it to markets in just a few years time"
Lundbeck's Executive Vice President, Research & Development, Claus
Bræstrup says "we are pleased with the smooth way this joint
project is progressing between the partners, and naturally delighted
that the clinical results of phase II studies encourage an immediate
start of a joint phase III program".
Under the terms of the agreement between the two companies Solvay retains
the marketing rights in the US, Canada, Mexico and Japan, while Lundbeck
gains the marketing rights for Europe and the rest of the World. Lundbeck
and Solvay will jointly market the product in Brazil and Argentina.
For further information please contact :
SOLVAY S.A. Headquarters
Corporate Press Officer
E-mail : martial.tardy(at)solvay.com
Internet : www.solvay.com