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November 24, 2006
Treating Negative Symptoms: An Expert Interview With Dr. Coyle
Read more... Schizophrenia Biology · Schizophrenia Causes, Risk Factors & Prevention · Schizophrenia Genetics
In this expert interview, Treating the Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia: An Expert Interview With Joseph Coyle, MD by Jessica Gould on Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health, Dr. Coyle explains what negative symptoms of schizophrenia are as opposed to positive and cognitive symptoms, the challenges of treating negative symptoms, and current headway being made.
Although schizophrenia is most known for its positive symptoms with florid hallucinations and delusions, those symptoms tend to wax and wane over time, diminishing as the person ages. Enduring cognitive symptoms involving memory, decision making and problem solving ability, along with the negative social and motivational symptoms can cause significant and persistent impairment.
In discussing challenges to treatment of negative symptoms, Dr. Coyle implicates several factors including the historical success of neuroleptics which strikingly reduce the outward symptoms of psychosis. This success promoted the treatment of just this one component of the illness without addressing underlying causes, and the negative symptoms and cognitive aspects of the illness remained quite impaired.
One breakthrough may have come from the study of the effects on people abusing certain illegal street drugs that block the N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor (a receptor for glutamine). These drugs produce a syndrome that closely mimics schizophrenia, leading to the research discovery which suggested that the negative, cognitive, and other physiologic components of schizophrenia are inheritable.
Next discussed are the rapid strides made over the last five years into the understanding of the genetic aspects of this highly inheritable disorder and the current work being done with D-serine and glycine to alleviate the negative and cognitive symptoms of patients with schizophrenia on antipsychotic medications.
Dr. Coyle concludes the interview by voicing the hope that investigations being done to determine whether these novel treatments, when used on people at high risk of developing psychosis and schizophrenia, can forestall the development of the illness.
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Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at November 24, 2006 12:06 PM
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