March 30, 2004


From the Parent's Discussion Areas this week: Radio Interview on the Infinite Mind: This week's episode of the award-winning public radio show - The Infinite Mind - focuses on schizoaffective disorder, which is my brother John's diagnosis. John, our sister Anne, and I were interviewed for the hour-long show, which includes a segment about our family's experience and our film, People Say I'm Crazy. The show was uplinked today & we invite you to listen to it online at: Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:05 PM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2004

Schizophrenia Tests

Brain test research finds key to mental illness - Scans mean breakthrough for people prone to schizophrenia "RESEARCHERS have claimed a major breakthrough in the treatment of schizophrenia by using brain-imaging tests to predict the illness. Consultant psychiatrist Dr Stephen Lawrie, of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and the division of psychiatry at Edinburgh University?s faculty of medicine, said his team had picked up specific changes in the brains of people who would go on to develop schizophrenia. Their work is part of a long-term research project involving the testing of more than 100 people whose relatives have schizophrenia and so Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 05:41 AM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2004

Gene Mutations and Schizophrenia

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
The more you read this news the more that it becomes obvious (to me at least) that the fundamental cause of schizophrenia is likely to be damage to the genes (i.e. mutations in the genes) - either in the past (and therefore passed down through generations) or in the present - through such things as exposure to toxins, lead exposure, nutritional deficiencies, etc. - that cause further gene damage. This recent report form Montreal and Toronto supports this, saying "Different combinations of genetic mutations may give rise to diverse human traits, including complex diseases such as schizophrenia, say scientists at Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:40 PM | Comments (0)

Factors in Schizophrenia

Interestingly - it seems that Fetal sex hormone exposure may predispose humans to schizophrenia. This research (and previous research) suggests that "The differentiation of the human brain is triggered by sexual steroid hormones in the fetus. The development of both the urogenital system and the appendicular skeleton are under common control by the HOX genes. " Apparently these genes that are triggered by sexual steroid hormones also control finger length - because it states that "Generally men have longer ring fingers than index fingers, whereas in women these fingers are close to equal," In this study "The distance of the Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:23 PM | Comments (1)


The March 6th issue of New Scientist magazine has an article on how the next round of breakthrough drugs for schizophrenia (and other, related disorders) may be targeted at Glutamate in the brain. The story - titled "The master switch" states that the brain's central circuits were once a no-go area for drug treatments. But not any more, and there could be a medical revolution in the making. "Lilly, and most of its competitors, now believe that this circuit is the key to a new class of molecule that will revolutionise the treatment of mental illness -- including many currently Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:52 PM | Comments (2)

March 22, 2004

F.D.A. Seeks Suicide Caution for Ten Antidepressants

F.D.A. Seeks Suicide Caution for Ten Antidepressants (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS) Many, if not most of the participants in the discussion groups take antidepressants. According to this article: "Patients on some popular antidepressants should be closely monitored for warning signs of suicide, the government warned Monday in asking the makers of 10 drugs to add the caution to their labels. The drugs of concern are all newer-generation antidepressants: Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor, Celexa, Remeron, Lexapro, Luvox, Serzone and Wellbutrin. Most are known to affect the brain chemical serotonin." Note that this warning is not exclusively for children on these medications, Read More...
Posted by at 09:08 PM | Comments (1)

March 12, 2004

Vitamin D Lowers Schizophrenia Risk

Vitamin D in boys to avoid schizophrenia in men - today it was reported that researchers from Australia find that doses of vitamin D in early life could help reduce the onset of schizophrenia in men. In males, the use of at least 2000 IU of vitamin D was associated with a reduced risk of schizophrenia compared to those on lower doses," reported the Australian researchers, adding that for females there was "no significant association" between either the frequency or dose of vitamin D supplements and schizophrenia. The study concludes with the statement: "Vitamin D supplementation during the first year Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 04:02 PM | Comments (1)

March 10, 2004

Why Some Schizophrenics Are Hard to Treat

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
Why Some Schizophrenics Are Hard to Treat (HealthDayNews) "Cell damage caused by free radicals could be the reason why some people with schizophrenia don't respond to treatment, says a University of Pennsylvania study." I've read elsewhere that some improvement in symptoms may be had by taking daily doses of Omega-3 fatty acids in conjunction with antioxidant vitamins. Perhaps this explains in part why that's the case, at least with respect to antioxidants. The article also states that: "damage was evident in neurons located in a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is associated with complex memory activities. The Read More...
Posted by at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2004

The Potential of 'Brain Pacemakers'

The Potential of 'Brain Pacemakers' (Washington Post) Though not directly addressing schizophrenia, this article discusses the potential use of "brain pacemakers" to ameliorate symptoms of depression and OCD, two disorders many schizophrenia patients also suffer from. To date this treatment has been successfully employed for treating Parkinsons and to some degree OCD. Research is only being done on patients who have run the gamut of alternative therapies. How does it work? "using computerized scans and electrical monitoring of the firing of nerve cells to precisely guide them, they carefully thread two electrodes, each about the diameter of a piece of Read More...
Posted by at 07:01 PM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2004

Genes and Brain Disease

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
Large genetic input into brain disorders I thought this was interesting because they are finally starting to put numbers on the impact of genetically-based diseases of the brain like schizophrenia. With this greater quantification will come greater financial resources dedicated to curing them - which at least some good news in all of this. "A study shows that about 40 per cent of the societal burden of diseases of the brain and nervous system is attributable to genetic factors. Previous research has suggested a role of genes in brain disorders such as stroke, depression and schizophrenia. Now scientists at the Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:38 PM | Comments (0)

NSync Album - Schizophrenic

I'm not entirely sure how to respond to this recent news on the "NSYNC Singer Causes Stir With 'Schizophrenic' Album Cover" issue. On the one hand I certianly sympathize with Bill MacPhee's concerns that it may increase stigma because it shows a distored and misleading image of schizophrenic people as being put in straight jackets (which of course is rare) - but at the same time it gets people talking about the disease (I hope) and perhaps out of that discussion there will come some knowledge and education. I"m sure there are other CDs/Albums that are named after other diseases Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:12 PM | Comments (2)

March 04, 2004

Slow Release Meds

New technology facilitates Meds adherence for patients This looks like it could help people with schizophrenia quite a lot - you only need to remember to take your meds once every two weeks. Watch for it soon. (Source: MIT News Release) "New drug delivery systems can keep drugs at desirable levels in the body and avoid the need for frequent doses, which can help patients better adhere to their therapy regimen, according to Robert S. Langer, Ph.D." "Polymers for delivering drugs in patients with schizophrenia have just been approved by the FDA," Dr. Langer stated. "These patients previously had to Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:30 PM | Comments (0)

Early Awareness

Psychosis awareness campaigns benefit first-time sufferers This recent study confirms what common sense would tell you - that if you have public education programs on schizophrenia, people get treated sooner, with better results for the people who get schizophrenia. In Canada they've even started showing advertisements on TV as a public service, to educate people about schizophrenia, and they have web sites focused on this issue (see ). These efforts are working! I hope we'll see more of it in other countries - and by educating the public about brain diseases you simultaneously reduce stigma and educate people about Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:14 PM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2004

Special Courts for the Mentally Ill

I just found this web site that has been set up as part of a project to help people with mental illnesses get better legal treatment: "The Criminal Justice / Mental Health Consensus Project is an unprecedented, national effort coordinated by the Council of State Governments (CSG) to help local, state, and federal policymakers and criminal justice and mental health professionals improve the response to people with mental illness who become involved in, or are at risk of involvement in, the criminal justice system" Sounds like a good way to get improved legal help and processes for the mentally ill. Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:24 AM | Comments (1)

Clozapine May Impair Glucose Control in Patients With Schizophrenia

Clozapine May Impair Glucose Control in Patients With Schizophrenia (American Journal of Psychiatry) "Schizophrenic patients taking clozapine are at greater risk of developing abnormal glucose control, according to a new British study." "Oliver D. Howes, MRCPsych, Division of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom, and colleagues examined glucose control and insulin sensitivity in 20 schizophrenic patients who were switched to clozapine as the sole antipsychotic." "Results indicate that 55% of patients developed de novo abnormal glucose tolerance, including one case of diabetes mellitus" The gist of the article is that doctors will need to take into account the Read More...
Posted by at 03:26 AM | Comments (1)

March 02, 2004

The Roots of Mental Illness

A special report just came out today from the New York Academy of Sciences - on "The Roots of Mental Illness in Children" This is a very technical report (for scientists) but interesting to review if you want to get deep into the causes of mental illness. Some short highlights from some of the abstracts include: "As complications of pregnancy and birth may be important risk factors for the development of schizophrenia, studying the "roots" of schizophrenia in high-risk offspring may better elucidate the interface between biology, environment, and susceptibility to illness. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), neurobehavioral assessments and Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:53 PM | Comments (1)

College/University Support Groups

Dartmouth Student Creates On-Campus Support Group for People with Mental Illnesses like Schizophrenia This is an idea that we think is a great one - in fact we'd like to see a major push for college mental illness support groups in colleges and Universities around the world - because of the importance of early treatment in positive outcomes for schizophrenia, and because the first signs of schizophrenia usually show up during college years or shortly afterward. It seems like this should be a major area of focus for support groups (like Schizophrenia Society of Canada, and NAMI in the US) Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:31 PM | Comments (1)

Fatty acids can help with schizophrenia

Fatty acids can help with schizophrenia Many of us who visit the discussion groups now take Omega-3 fatty acids. This and other recent articles on the subject help to vindicate that decision based on mental health benefits alone. Omega-3 fatty acids, already used to treat a wide range of medical conditions, may also be useful in managing schizophrenia. Researchers from Melbourne University's Orygen Research Centre have found that people in the early stages of schizophrenia who take a particular type of fatty acid, known as EPA, can reduce the dosage of their other medication by 20 per cent. This Read More...
Posted by at 03:39 PM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2004

Genetic Predisposition towards Schizophrenia

Genes and Environment interaction in schizophrenia-spectrum disorder An article in this month's British Journal of Psychiatry suggests that "Within schizophrenia-spectrum disorder, it is demonstrated that adopted-away offspring of mothers with schizophrenia-spectrum disorder are significantly more sensitive to an adverse family rearing pattern than the adoptees of healthy mothers (Tienari et al, pp. 216�222)." This suggests families with histories of schizophrenia (that is, where a person in the family has - in the past - gotten schizophrenia) that by being more careful in certain areas (see our page on "Preventing Schizophrenia") that incidence of developing schizophrenia could be reduced. The information Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:28 PM | Comments (1)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Schizophrenia?

COGNITIVE-BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY REVISITED - The British Journal of Psychiatry that became availabe on the Internet this week covered two recent research reports on efforts to test whether talk therapy classed as "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy" was effective in treatment of schizophrenia. Both of the tests DID NOT show any effectiveness in schizophrenia. We'll be doing more research on this area because I've heard for many years that the "ideal schizophrenia treatment program" would be one with both good medications and good therapy of sorts. This seems to counter the "therapy" aspect - but perhaps there are other therapies (other than CBT) Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)

Potential Nicotine Treatment

Surprising twist (Los Angeles Times) "Separated from cigarettes, molecularly tweaked and carefully administered, nicotine holds promise as a powerful treatment for a variety of illnesses, from Alzheimer's disease to depression to schizophrenia, many scientists now believe. "This is tobacco biology that has been taken out of Big Tobacco and put into health research," says Dr. William Sandborn, a nicotine researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.What began more than a decade ago as a smattering of small studies has become a major research effort involving the federal government, the tobacco industry, a half-dozen pharmaceutical companies and dozens of private Read More...
Posted by at 08:06 PM | Comments (0)

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