June 29, 2004

Bi-Polar and Schizophrenia Both Lack Myelin Genes

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
Bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia share some of the same symptoms - notably hallucinations and delusions (during manic episodes for bipolar patients, during depressive or psychotic episodes for schizophrenia patients). Especially in children, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two conditions on the basis of clinical presentation alone. And schizoaffective disorder is even more similar, characterized by both the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia and the moodswing component of bi-polar. In a recent autopsy study at the Department of Neurobiology, Babraham Institute, (Cambridge, UK), in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, (PubMed Abstract: 'Oligodendrocyte dysfunction in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder' Lancet Read More...
Posted by Julia at 05:42 PM | Comments (28)

The Long Haul: Fighting Day-to-Day Mental Illness Stigma

Although we are all tempted at times to tease our friends with good-natured name-calling - obsessive, nut-case, whacko, psycho - Stigmabusters at NAMI remind us that these terms can perpetuate harmful stigmas held against the mentally ill population. The Stigmabusting team at NAMI takes issue with insensitive images and slogans that they find in the media - everything from Disney to Nintendo to the Boy Scout magazine 'A Boy's Life' Robert Lundin, active NAMI stigmabuster and schizophrenia patient, is a prime example of someone seeking change in issues that directly affect his own life. Lundin speaks simply about his illness Read More...
Posted by Julia at 04:59 PM | Comments (4)

June 28, 2004

Experts Forecast Mental Health Crisis Due to UK Diet

Previous research has already established a link between a Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency (found in fish, and "green" foods such as cabbage) and an individual's risk of developing schizophrenia. For example, a study released from the Royal College of Psychiatrists showed that people who ate lots of sugar and dairy, but not much oily fish, were more likely to develop severe mental disorders. Now medical experts are predicting a future of burgeoning mental health issues, due to gradual changes in the national UK diet over the last 20 years. Shifts in farming and food techniques, such as feeding livestock on Read More...
Posted by Julia at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2004

An Advocate's Opinion: Equitable Treatment Act

The Paul Wellstone Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act, currently stalled in Congress, is a ticket to mental health parity from health insurers. The bill would prevent limits on mental-health benefits (such as higher deductibles or higher co-payments for services) that are currently not imposed for physical health conditions. Janet McCracken is a psychologist at Highland's Association in State College and an associate professor at Penn State. She is of the opinion that such a bill, rather than causing excessive increases in insurance costs, would actually improve the financial situation by relieving the public health sector from providing costly services for Read More...
Posted by Julia at 05:19 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2004

Separate courts for mentally ill focus on rehab

A group in Rockland, NY composed of mental health advocates, law enforcement officials, and judges is seeking to establish a special criminal court to try offenders with mental disorders. According to one mental health official, the goals of such a court would include keeping the accused from reoffending, and aiding his/her treatment and recovery. Supporters point out that our nation's prisons are currently overflowing with the mentally ill, and that people who are sick need and deserve treatment, not jail time. Among the issues to be addressed before such a court becomes a reality is what kind of cases would Read More...
Posted by Julia at 05:40 PM | Comments (1)

June 23, 2004

Electro-Stimulation of Brain Cells Causes Chemistry Change

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
Electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) has been a contraversial, not infrequently used treatment for serious depressions and some cases of psychotic disorders for some time, but doctors did not know the cause of its beneficial results. New research from the University of California, San Diego may shed some light on a possible mechanism. When scientists manipulated the electrical currents flowing through the nerve cells of frog embryos, they were able to change the levels of released neurotransmitters depending on whether electrical activity was increased or decreased. The affected neurotransmitters played a role in forming new connections between nerve cells. "Different frequencies of Read More...
Posted by Julia at 10:31 PM | Comments (0)

Mentally Ill Turning to Helplines

As it becomes harder and harder for the mentally ill and their families to gain entrance into the formal healthcare system, phone services such as Australia's SANE helpline are seeing significant increases in their call volume. SANE recieved 15,330 calls during the last year, nearly a 200% increase from the 8560 calls recieved in 2002. Probable reasons for flooded helplines include ambiguous legislation barring entrance into mental health facilities, and overworked, understaffed resource centers, two factors that make it difficult for patients and their families to receive and maintain the care they need. Said SANE executive director Barbara Hocking, "A Read More...
Posted by Julia at 09:53 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2004

Bush Initiative Promotes Mass Mental Illness Screening, Use of Prescription Drugs

President Bush's newest mental health policy, part of the New Freedom Initiative, will be made public next month. The initiative will recommend mental health screening for every citizen, and promote the use of "specific medications for specific conditions." Some people (notably Dr. Darrel Regier, American Psychiatric Association director of research) approve of the measure as "a logical plan based on efficacy data from clinical trials," Many patients groups and advocacy groups also support approach similar to this as it increases the likelyhood that a person with schizophrenia will get the newest and presumably better medications available with the least serious Read More...
Posted by Julia at 11:39 PM | Comments (4)

Columbia Professor says smoking may help concentration

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
Recent research on the effect nicotine has on the brain suggests that smoking cigarettes may actually improve concentration abilities for people. This preliminary conclusion is based on research on animals, but researchers at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons suspect that the study results may be applicable to humans as well and that nicotine may block some of the human brain's ''background noise'' so a person can more easily pay attention to important information that they are focused on. The associate professor of neurology at Columbia University, David Sulzer, the lead author of the study that appears in Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2004

Glutamate Levels Elevated in Teens At-Risk for Schizophrenia

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
A recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry highlights glutamate as a possible key factor in schizophrenia. Published results showed that teens judged to be at a high genetic risk for developing schizophrenia had abnormally elevated levels of glutamate in their brains, as compared with teens who had no risk. The finding supports a previously suggested hypothesis that "glutamate system dysfunction may play a role in neuroarchitectural abnormalities seen in schizophrenia...," says Philip Tibbo, M.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada and the primary investigator in the study. Although the research Read More...
Posted by Julia at 05:05 PM | Comments (0)

Schizophrenia and Psychotic Depression are Neurologically Similar

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
Psychotic depression may be a little-known first cousin of schizophrenia, University of Illinois study suggests. Investigators performed extensive neuropsychological analysis testing on 106 patients admitted for a psychotic disorder and later diagnosed with either a schizophrenia spectrum disorder, schizoaffective disorder, or unipolar depression with psychotic features. Investigators did not know the official diagnosis at the time of the neurological testing. They then compared those patient profiles with 14 nonpsychotic unipolar depression patients and 81 healthy individuals who underwent the same tests. "To our knowledge," the researchers asserted in their study report, "this is the first study to provide data that Read More...
Posted by Julia at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

Nutrition Affects Long-Term Schizophrenia Outcome

Results from four out of five placebo-controlled studies in England, as well as a cross-national analysis of schizophrenia outcomes in relation to national dietary practice, all confirm that an excess of sugar and saturated fat in the diet appears to worsen the long-term outcome of schizophrenia. Consuming high amounts of sugar and fat cause the brain to produce less of the protein product brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF plays an important role in forming new neural growths and synapses. Dr. Malcolm peet of Swallownest Court Hospital confirms the effects of diet. "It appears that the same dietary factors which are Read More...
Posted by Julia at 04:00 PM | Comments (4)

June 17, 2004

Majority of Schizophrenia Patients Not Totally Compliant with Treatment Regimen

According to an April 2004 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry, only 41% of diagnosed patients regularly take their prescribed medications. Out of the rest, 24% are completely non-compliant, and 17% are partially compliant with their treatment regimen. Another 19% are "excess fillers" - people who fill their prescriptions more frequently than they are prescribed. Those who lived independently or were homeless were more likely to be non-adherent. It is a well-documented fact that treatment non-compliance, aside from the obvious detriments to the mentally ill patient, significantly raises out-patient and hospital medical costs. This research shows the need for Read More...
Posted by Julia at 05:15 PM | Comments (2)

Atypical Antipsychotic Patents to Expire in 2007

Virtually all schizophrenia patients need some sort of medication therapy to help control their symptoms. Typical anti-psychotic medications are effective for some, but many others find the numerous side-effects unbearable. Moreover, this older school of drugs often only treats the positive symptoms of schizophrenia without addressing the cognitive, negative symptoms which can be equally debilitating. Many patients who cannot benefit from typical medications are finding relief from atypical antipsychotics such as Zyprexa, Abilify, Risperdal, Seroquel, and Geodon. Although they can be more effective with fewer side effects, these drugs are inevitably more expensive. However, although they are driving the treatment Read More...
Posted by Julia at 05:04 PM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2004

Atypical Antipsychotics Affect Blood Glucose Levels

New studies indicate that some atypical anti-psychotic medications may directly affect glucose levels. This research follows a warning issued in September 2003 by the Food and Drug Administration, requesting that drug companies include a warning about possibel effects on blood glucose levels on six atypical anti-psychotic medications. The medications were: Seroquel (quetiapine), Abilify (aripiprazole), Zyprexa (olanzapine), Risperdal (risperidone), Clorazil (clozapine), Geodon (ziprasidone). It is already known that some atypical antipsychotics cause weight gain, and that diabetes tends to be more prevalent among schizophrenia patients. This newer research provides evidence that these medications directly influence blood glucose levels. The FDA warning Read More...
Posted by Julia at 06:04 PM | Comments (1)

Link between IQ and Psychosis Risk

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
A recent study of 50,000+ men indicated that higher IQ scores may decrease the risk for developing psychotic symptoms or disorders. Men with lower-than-average IQ scores had a 40% greater risk of developing schizo-affective disorder, as compared with those subjects with the highest IQ scores. This findings corroborate those of earlier studies, which linked early-onset schizophrenia and lower-than-average childhood education scores. Research also suggests that prenatal stress (i.e. stress during pregnancy) increases risk for the child of both low IQ and schizophrenia - so the research suggests a common mechanism of brain damage caused by stress during pregnancy. One theory Read More...
Posted by Julia at 05:53 PM | Comments (52)

June 14, 2004

Schizophrenia Patient Working as NAMI Advocate

Marc Stolzer was a bright and active college junior, an honors student and talented athlete at Penn State University, when he began to notice certain changes in his moods and behavior. These uncharacteristic patterns deteriorated rapidly into 'mental breaks from reality', or psychotic episodes involving visual and auditory hallucinations. Stolzer's health forced him to withdraw from college, and he returned home to live with his parents, where he became even more withdrawn, isolated, and irrational. Finally, Stolzer's parents checked him into a hospital following a suicide attempt, where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 21. Doctors speculated Read More...
Posted by Julia at 05:27 AM | Comments (1)

June 10, 2004

Drink may Reduce Side Effects of Schizophrenia

UK Researchers have developed a drink that may improve the effectiveness of anti-psychotic medications for illness such as mania and schizophrenia. Funded by the biomedical research charity The Wellcome Trust, the team from the Department of Psychiatry at Oxford University found that supplementing medication with a drink (Tyrodep) rich in amino acids helps to moderate the increased chemical levels in the brain that underlie some psychotic symptoms. The addition of the drink to medication may improve the medication's beneficial effects while reducing unwanted side-effects, leading to improved treatment compliance in the future. According to Professor Guy Goodwin, leader of the Read More...
Posted by Julia at 05:53 PM | Comments (15)

June 09, 2004

New Research Identifies Candidate Genes for Schizophrenia

A team of researchers at the Mental Health Research Institute (MHRI) in Melbourne, Australia have identified and isolated 69 genes that seem to be seriously implicated in the development of schizophrenia. This group of genes was selected from a larger group (153 genes) discovered to be expressed at higher or lower levels in subjects with schizophrenia as compared to controls. The genes in question, and the hundreds of proteins that they produce, are now being analyzed to determine how they affect the etiology of the disease. The groundbreaking study used brain tissue samples collected post-mortem from subjects affected by either Read More...
Posted by Julia at 12:15 AM | Comments (0)

June 08, 2004

The Role of Infections in Schizophrenia

New research is implicating infections as a possible risk factor for the development of schizophrenia. "Infections, at different times in life, seem to impose an increased risk of schizophrenia in some individuals" says neurovirologist Robert Yolken, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University. Even common infections like herpes or the flu may play some role. Pre-natal infections seem to be particularly important. One study showed that the risk of developing schizophrenia tripled when moms were exposed to influenza during pregnancy; another found a 20% incidence in moms with rubella infection. High levels of interleukin-8 (an important chemical of the immune system which Read More...
Posted by Julia at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2004

Abilify in Europe

Abilify (Aripiprazole) Approved For Marketing In Europe For The Treatment Of Schizophrenia Drug to Receive Marketing Approval in 25 European Countries PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY AND TOKYO, June 7, 2004 -- Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. today announced that the European Commission has granted marketing authorization for Abilify (aripiprazole), an antipsychotic medication, for the treatment of schizophrenia. "Receiving marketing approval for Abilify in 25 nations of the European Union marks a significant milestone for Abilify and for both companies, bringing an important medicine one step closer to the millions of people in Europe living with schizophrenia," said Peter Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:20 PM | Comments (2)

June 04, 2004

Solvay Announces New Drug Plans

Solvay Announces New Drug Plans for Schizophrenia Solvay has re-evaluated the commercial potential of bifeprunox, a Solvay compound in clinical development for the treatment of schizophrenia . Bifeprunox additionally has the potential to be developed in other disorders, i.e. bipolar disorder. Following its alliance with Wyeth, Solvay confirms that peak year sales on the markets where the partners co-develop and co-commercialize bifeprunox ? the United States and Canada ? are in excess of USD 1 billion. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (June 3, 04) noted that "The global market for schizophrenia drugs is valued at around $10 Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:12 PM | Comments (4)

Math Ability and Schizophrenia

In Families With Psychosis, The Numbers Tell a Story Is there any link between math talent and mental illness? A researcher in Iceland finds that the incidence of psychosis is greater than expected among mathematical scholars. The movie "A Beautiful Mind" about John Nash, a math genius who had schizophrenia. Nash illustrates what an Icelandic psychiatrist has now found?that there may be a link between psychosis and math talent. The study, conducted by Jon Karlsson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Institute of Genetics in Reykjavik, Iceland, has found an intriguing relationship between math talent and psychosis susceptibility in the Icelandic Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:11 PM | Comments (22)

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