October 19, 2004

CA Prop 71 to Commit $3bill to Stem Cell Research

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
On Nov 2, California residents will vote on Prop 71, a contraversial but powerful measure that would commit $3 billion dollars of state money to ten years of stem cell (including embryonic stem cell) research. Given the current federal ban on either creating new embryos or destroying existing frozen ones to obtain new stem cell populations, passing Prop 71 would place California miles ahead of any other state in the nation with respect to stem cell research. Nerve cell bodies in the central nervous system (which includes the brain and the spinal cord) do not spontaneously regenerate in human beings, Read More...
Posted by Julia at 02:02 AM | Comments (2)

October 18, 2004

Change disease name to decrease stigma?

Can a less pejorative Chinese translation for schizophrenia reduce stigma? A study of adolescents' attitudes toward people with schizophrenia KA FAI CHUNG AND JOHN HUNG CHAN Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences Volume 58 Issue 5 Page 507 - October 2004 The name schizophrenia (from the Greek meaning "split mind") has been in use for decades to describe schizophrenia. While it isn't the original term used for the disorder (Emil Kraepelin first described schizophrenia in modern medical literature and called it dementia praecox) it has come to be the most commonly used term and one that carries with it much information but Read More...
Posted by Megan at 11:56 PM | Comments (0)

Preventing Suicide in Colleges

Last week the Wall Street Journal had a good article on how colleges are working to aggressively prevent suicides with counselling programs for students. In the article, it mentioned an example of a young woman who had indicated that she might commit suicide. Her boyfriend dialed 911 and got help. The story reports that "When later confronted by the police, the student claimed that she had never intended to take her life, arguing that she was simply trying to rile her boyfriend. At many universities, that might have been the end of the story. But at the University of Illinois, Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:56 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2004

Pleasurable Voices?

Pleasurable auditory hallucinations. Sanjuan J, Gonzalez JC, Aguilar EJ, Leal C, Os J. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2004 Oct;110(4):273-8. Auditory hallucinations (AH) or voices are one of the most frequent symptoms of schizophrenia. Some studies have suggested that hallucinatory voices can also be heard by members of the non-psychiatric general population. The authors suggest that these AH's may range from a spectrum of those who are at ease with their AH and who are not identified as a patient, to individuals with a severe psychotic disorder who are tormented by intrusive voices. The emotional value of these voices may determine the Read More...
Posted by Megan at 09:49 PM | Comments (1)

Does season of birth affect schizophrenia?

Summer birth and deficit schizophrenia: a pooled analysis from 6 countries. Messias E, Kirkpatrick B, Bromet E, Ross D, Buchanan RW, Carpenter WT Jr, Tek C, Kendler KS, Walsh D, Dollfus S. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2004 Oct;61(10):985-9. Schizophrenia is an illness due to interactions between genes and environmental factors. Although it has been debated by researchers, one of the environmental risk factors suggested is season of birth. Winter birth was first reported to be a risk factor for schizophrenia in 1929 and many other studies have replicated this finding. Researchers have suggested that family history and the prevalence of certain Read More...
Posted by Megan at 08:56 PM | Comments (0)

How does the brain change in schizophrenia?

Neuroplasticity and schizophrenia. Frost DO, Tamminga CA, Medoff DR, Caviness V, Innocenti G, Carpenter WT. Biol Psychiatry. 2004 Oct 15;56(8):540-3. This article was based on a workshop sponsored by the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research that looked at how changes in the brain's structure and function (neuroplasticity) affect schizophrenia. The workshop brought together researchers specializing in schizophrenia as well as other doctors who try to understand how the brain works. By using neuroplasticity as a way to understand the illness, they wanted to find special ways to increase our knowledge and understanding of schizophrenia, its treatment and its prevention. This Read More...
Posted by Megan at 08:05 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2004

Different Schizophrenia Treatment Goals

A recent survey from researchers at the Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute (Madison, WI) highlighted a significant difference of opinion between psychiatrists and schizophrenia patients concerning the most important treatment goals. While the survey had some notable limitations - the patients surveyed were not actually being treated by the psychiatrists that were surveyed, and the patients were also fairly stable and high-functioning - patients had significantly different goals for their own treatment, as well as different expectations of what is possible to achieve with current medications. The surveyed patients indicated increased ability to think clearly, improvement in physical health, and the ability Read More...
Posted by Julia at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2004

New Movie - Mother's Schizophrenia

Tarnation - This is a new movie by filmmaker Jonathan Caouette. Its a documentary on growing up with his schizophrenic mother - and is a mixture of snapshots, Super-8, answering machine messages, video diaries, early short films and more, culled from the 19 years of his life. A recent review of the movie in the San Francisco Chronicle had this to say: ""Tarnation," an impassioned documentary about a damaged American family, includes moments that seem to cross the line of what is emotionally acceptable to show onscreen. In the end, you might be tempted to dismiss it as an exercise Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:14 PM | Comments (1)

FDA Warning - Child Anti-Depressant Use

Today it was announced by the Food and Drug Administration that all antidepressants must carry a "black box" warning, the government's strongest safety alert, linking the drugs to increased suicidal thoughts and behavior among children and teens taking them. Because the warnings are primarily seen by doctors, the agency also is creating an information guide for patients to advise them of the risk. "Today's actions represent FDA's conclusions about the increased risk of suicidal thoughts and the necessary actions for physicians prescribing these antidepressant drugs and for the children and adolescents taking them," said Dr. Lester Crawford, acting FDA commissioner. Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:01 PM | Comments (0)

Study Shows Inactivity Among Mentally Ill

A new study from the Indiana University, Bloomington highlights suprising inactivity among some populations of mentally ill people. The study examined participants with severe and persistant mental illness (or SPMI, encompassing such disorders as schizophrenia and bipolar) for daily physical activity. Data was collected through motion sensors (which recorded physical activity over seven consecutive days), and patient recall (notations in booklets about what they were doing, who they were with, their mood, and other aspects of activity). Out of the four groups studied (SPMI participants, a sedentary control population, a population with severe mental detriments, and a group who exercised Read More...
Posted by Julia at 04:58 AM | Comments (3)

Early Intervention Program in Canada

For "Patricia" (not her real name), The Early Psychosis Program in Alberta, Canada was a godsend. Patricia's parents became concerned when they began recieving odd, nonsensical emails from their daughter, who was doing research in Pakistan. They arranged her referral to the Early Psychosis Program at Foothills Hospital, an internationally-recognized program that treats about 700 outpatients a year. EPP is equipped to deal with three phases of psychosis: the prodome (psychotic episode), the schizophreniform disorder (lasting up to six months), and full-blown schizophrenia. Patients are enrolled in a three-year treatment program under the supervision of a doctor and a case Read More...
Posted by Julia at 04:31 AM | Comments (1)

October 13, 2004

Higher Risk of Cancer with Mental Illness

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
Source: Indiana University ------------------------------- Mentally Ill Have Higher Odds Of Developing Brain, Lung Cancers Men and women with mental disorders have higher odds of being diagnosed with brain tumors and lung cancer and they develop these cancers at younger ages than individuals without mental illness according to a study published in the current issue of Psychosomatic Medicine. "This work is a piece in the larger puzzle of understanding the relationships between mental and physical health," said Caroline Carney, M.D., M.Sc., associate professor of psychiatry and medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and a research scientist at the Regenstrief Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:33 AM | Comments (0)

Canadian School Offers Special Needs Classes

A recent story out of Edmonton, Canada highlights the opportunity for improved educational programs for children with schizophrenia. In the article (from The Edmonton Journal) the story cited the example of one 14 year old boy who suffered from schizophrenia, had had many school problems in the past, but was now doing well in this new "special needs" school. "Like most children, Mario Santorelli's backpack weighs him down. ???Still, the 14-year-old bears up just fine under that heavy load. Not so easy for him to shoulder, however, has been schizophrenia. Worse than the disease, he says, has been name-calling and Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:01 AM | Comments (0)

NAMI Training Police Officers on Mental Illness

A recent story came out of "The Mansfield News Journal" on how NAMI (the US-based National Alliance for the Mentall Ill) is working to train police officers on how to address people who have schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Its great to see some programs like this being started - but you have to wonder why the police aren't trained like this as part of their standard schooling since the problem is such a huge issue in the US and other countries. Following is a short summary of the story: Richland County law-enforcement agencies have 61 officers trained to deal with Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:52 AM | Comments (0)

California Advocates Promote Proposition 63

This week the Fresno, California Bee (Newspaper) editorial focused on the Mental Health initiative titled "Proposition 63" that is to be voted on this coming November 2 in California. The editorial noted: Mental health is a category of spending that has gotten little support in California, and we're paying a terrible price for it. One just has to look at the number of mentally ill people who crowd our prisons and jails and the growing ranks of the homeless population to make the case. Hardly a family is untouched by the debilitating effects of depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disease or, as Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:43 AM | Comments (0)

New Documentary Film on Schizophrenia in UK

New Film from the BBC on schizophrenia - "LOVING CHRISTIAN" This month sees the broadcast of a "fly-on-the-wall"; documentary about what it's like for a family to live with schizophrenia. Part of a five-programme series on BBC 2 about families coping with disabilities of various kinds, "My Family: Loving Christian"; features Paul and Georgina Wakefield and their younger son Christian, now aged 30, who has had schizophrenia for almost half his life. Christian's older brother Stephen did not want to take part. The documentary was directed and produced by Ewan Marshall, who produced the tv drama "Time You Look at Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:29 AM | Comments (15)

October 12, 2004

Sex hormones in psychotic men

Sex hormones in psychotic men Thomas J. Hubera, Christian Tettenborna, Eckhard Leifkeb and Hinderk M. Emrich Psychoneuroendocrinology, Volume 30, Issue 1 , January 2005, Pages 111-114 The authors of this study wanted to look at hormone levels in male patients with psychosis because there has been a theory that estrogen (the female sex hormone) has some kind of protective effect on women. Women with psychosis often have lower levels of estrogen (or similar compounds) in their blood compared to healthy controls. Estrogen may have an impact on the dopamine system (the neurotransmitter in the brain most closely linked to psychosis.) Read More...
Posted by Megan at 12:47 AM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2004

TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) and Schizophrenia

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in the investigation and treatment of schizophrenia: a review H. Magnus Haraldsson, Fabio Ferrarelli, Ned H. Kalin and Giulio Tononi. Schizophrenia Research Volume 71, Issue 1, 1 November 2004, Pages 1-16 Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a technology that is increasingly being harnessed for use in psychiatry both therapeutically and as a tool for research. It works based on creating a targeted magnetic field that can interact with brain cells and cause them to be excited and fire more frequently. There are 2 main types of TMS and both have different uses. The most common side effect of Read More...
Posted by Megan at 11:35 PM | Comments (0)

Ziprasidone vs. Olanzapine (short term)

Randomized, Controlled, Double-Blind Multicenter Comparison of the Efficacy and Tolerability of Ziprasidone and Olanzapine in Acutely Ill Inpatients With Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective Disorder George M. Simpson, M.D., Ira D. Glick, M.D., Peter J. Weiden, M.D., Steven J. Romano, M.D., and Cynthia O. Siu, Ph.D. Am J Psychiatry 161:1837-1847, October 2004 This is a study that compares both the effectiveness and side effects of two second generation antipsychotics: Olanzapine (Zyprexa, by Eli Lilly) and Ziprasidone (Geodon, by Pfizer). The authors state that there have not been very many direct comparisons between the newer drugs but that each drug seems to have Read More...
Posted by Megan at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2004

Schizophrenia And Summer and Winter Births

Certain types of schizophrenia may be linked to summer birth A psychiatry research journal published this week states that Patients with deficit schizophrenia, a subtype of schizophrenia characterized by "negative" symptoms, such as blunted speech and expression, lack of emotional response, and apathy, are more likely to have been born in the summer months. According to the article, winter birth was reported to be a risk factor for schizophrenia in 1929. Clinical aspects of patients with schizophrenia born in the winter include paranoia and a more benign course of illness. Additionally, the clinical features associated with winter birth are different Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:44 AM | Comments (4)

October 04, 2004

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Schizophrenia

I want to focus on these two papers for this posting which both talk about the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and its role in treating schizophrenia. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy in which the patient is given challenges to certain beliefs they have. Using changes in behavior and changes in the way people process certain ideas, a patient can try and understand the world differently. CBT is very often used to treat depression; patients often perceive the world negatively and put a negative spin on most thoughts. CBT is used to help change those perceptions Read More...
Posted by Megan at 11:08 PM | Comments (1)

October 03, 2004

Pilot Anti-Stigma Programs in Schools

In 2003, the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health recommended (among many other things) a national initiative to reduce stigma against people with mental illness. In the report, President Bush identified stigma as one of the main barriers preventing people living with mental illness from getting the excellent treatment they deserve. One of the recent results of these recommendations is the federal Elimination of Barriers initiative. Under this program, eight states will launch pilot anti-stigma campaigns in certain public schools. In Massachussets, one of the participating states, the State Dept of Mental Health is overseeing the educational component of Read More...
Posted by Julia at 02:20 AM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2004

The Importance of a Neuro Exam

I just learned about the following from a case-study presentation by a senior neurologist and 4th year medical students. I thought it might be of importance and/or interest. --Julia A certain disorder (we'll call it Disease X) is characterized by, among other things, the following clinical symptoms: --gait disturbance, hypotonia (i.e. 'floppy baby syndrome'), intellectual decline with onset in infancy --poor school performance, confusion, behavioral changes, emotional lability, tremors/clumsiness, bradykinesia (slow moving), possible dementia in childhood-onset --behavioral and affective changes, decreased work/school performance, psychoses, possible seizures, loss of motor coordination in late adolescence/adulthood Going by just clinical presentation alone, it Read More...
Posted by Julia at 11:41 PM | Comments (0)

Twins and brain size

A controlled study of brain structure in monozygotic twins concordant and discordant for schizophrenia. Biol Psychiatry. 2004 Sep 15;56(6):454-61 Van Haren NE, Picchioni MM, McDonald C, Marshall N, Davis N, Ribchester T, Hulshoff Pol HE, Sharma T, Sham P, Kahn RS, Murray R. Technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allow researchers to take pictures of the brain. Such imaging studies have found that there are brain abnormalities in those suffering from schizophrenia. These include changes in volume of the brain, larger ventricles and decreases in sizes of certain structures (eg hippocampus and amygdala). Where do such brain changes come Read More...
Posted by Megan at 12:05 AM | Comments (1)

October 01, 2004

Why do so many schizophrenic patients smoke?

NOTE: for additional information on schizophrenia and Smoking or Nicotine Why do schizophrenic patients smoke? Persons with serious mental illness, especially schizophrenia, smoke at much higher rates (45% to 88%) than those without mental illness (23%). Patients with schizophrenia also have a harder time in quitting smoking. Researchers have found this when they looked at abstinence rates in smoking cessation trials using nicotine replacement patches (36% to 42% abstinence in schizophrenia) and bupropion (11% to 50% abstinence in schizophrenia). In comparision, non-psychiatric smokers have higher abstinence rates at the end of such trials (50% to 75%). Below are two studies Read More...
Posted by Megan at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)

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