September 24, 2007

Canadian Conference on schizophrenia: "Lighting the Path: Hope in Action"

There is a new conference focused on schizophrenia that will take place in Toronto, Canada on September 27th though September 30th. The conference is titled "Lighting the Path: Hope in Action" and it is open to families, consumers and mental health care professionals. Following is a short summary of the conference:

This conference will bring together families, consumers, mental health practitioners and community leaders to share ideas, research and stories. Lighting the Path: Hope in Action is an extensive 3-day program focused on our shared dedication to deliver a brighter future for those living with schizophrenia; promoting research and better treatment solutions, and the action we must take to end discrimination. There is rarely an opportunity to learn from each other and build a network that includes all the mental health stakeholders.

Through this conference attendees will:

* Meet top-notch science and research experts from across the globe to share the latest scientific discoveries.

* Participate in plenary sessions and interactive workshops that address family interventions, cultural attitudes, new medications and the role of psychosocial rehabilitation.

* Build ongoing and inclusive networks of information and support.

"Heavy use of cannabis is increasingly recognized as an important factor in causing schizophrenia. It probably accounts for between 8 and 15% of causes, and is a growing problem because of the increasing potency of modern street preparations of cannabis. Who goes psychotic on cannabis is determined partly by the age at which people start - the earlier in adolescence the worse - and partly by genetic vulnerability," states Professor Robin Murray a leading psychiatrist at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, UK.

Dr. Murray and his colleagues have identified a number of genes that increase the risk of schizophrenia and several environmental factors have been established. Researchers have learned that these risk factors operate by causing dysregulation of dopamine and that this underlies the symptoms of schizophrenia. The possible causes of schizophrenia, an illness that has been so misunderstood by doctors and the general public alike, are now coming to light.

Professor Robin Murray will be sharing his expertise at the 7th biennial "International Conference: Lighting the Path: Hope in Action".

The conference is a collaboration between three organizations, the World Fellowship for Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders, the Schizophrenia Society of Canada, and the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario. For the first time ever it is being held in Toronto at the Delta Chelsea Inn, Toronto.

Delegates have travelled from all across the globe to attend this conference, as well as a strong panel of leading scientists and researchers who will be presenting over the three days. This also includes researcher Dr. John Roder, who will join the Saturday Science Panel. Dr. Roder was recently in the media spotlight for his published findings in the journal Neuron. Here he demonstrated how schizophrenia can be caused by a malfunctioning gene. This is a breakthrough in the quest to understand more about mental illness, as it provides insight into how the disease can develop.

Leading psychiatrist, Radha Shankar, is opening the conference with an impassioned speech on the theme of the conference: Lighting the Path: Hope in Action. "In India it is estimated that only about 10% of persons with major mental illness receive modern medical treatment. This challenge is being met in part through the development of a number of family support organizations throughout the country." The theme of the need for social and family support was enlarged upon by Professor Kim Mueser, author of the new book, The Complete Family Guide to Schizophrenia: Helping your Love one Get the Most out of Life. "For those getting the best treatment," he said, "the possibility for recovery is much greater than in the past."

Legal issues for the mentally ill are being addressed by prominent Ontario Judge Edward Ormston and his team in a presentation based on the CBC nationally televised series, This is Wonderland, which covered the plight of the mentally ill in the criminal justice system. Judge Ormston, who created the first of Canada's celebrated Mental Health Courts, acted as an advisor on the television show, and his team discussed the real life cases behind the fictional television series.

For more information: World Fellowship for Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders


I believe that there are instances of complete recovery from schizophrenia. I shall be thankful if those are published. It will help the patients and their families to cope up with the situation better and also to nurish the hope of recovery.

Posted by: S.Mandal at September 27, 2007 02:55 AM

Scotland seem to be in forefront of the Recovery Movement. See There are some uplifting stories of recovery posted.

My son has certainly recovered from the dark early days.

Posted by: Ann Freeman at September 28, 2007 03:58 PM

Post a comment

Please enter this code to enable your comment -
Remember Me?
(you may use HTML tags for style)
* indicates required