December 30, 2004

New Schizophrenia Web Tool

Web-Based Tool To Help Clinicians Select Schizophrenia Treatment NASHVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 29 (Source: AScribe Newswire) -- A new Web-based tool will be available January 1, 2005 to help clinicians determine the best medication for patients with schizophrenia. An international team led by Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Herbert Meltzer, M.D., recently completed the new algorithms, or step-by-step protocols, which will provide clinicians a resource as they make treatment decisions. The value of the algorithms was recently acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO), which has committed to establishing a Web link to the algorithms from its Web site. This will allow Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:58 PM | Comments (1)

Schizophrenia and cannabis

New Perspectives in the Studies on Endocannabinoid and Cannabis: Cannabinoid Receptors and Schizophrenia Hiroshi Ujike and Yukitaka Morita J Pharmacol Sci 96, 376 – 381 (2004) This article reviews the evidence of cannabis (marijuana) with respect to psychosis and schizophrenia. The authors pose adding another element to the model of schizophrenia that includes cannabinoid receptors. These receptors (referred to as CB-1 receptors) are increased in the brains of many people with schizophrenia. Recently, there was an attempt at using a medication designed to target these receptors that did not show a benefit over a placebo (Click here for my review). Read More...
Posted by Megan at 12:03 AM | Comments (0)

Schizophrenia and cannabis

New Perspectives in the Studies on Endocannabinoid and Cannabis: Cannabinoid Receptors and Schizophrenia Hiroshi Ujike and Yukitaka Morita J Pharmacol Sci 96, 376 – 381 (2004) This article reviews the evidence of cannabis (marijuana) with respect to psychosis and schizophrenia. The authors pose adding another element to the model of schizophrenia that includes cannabinoid receptors. These receptors (referred to as CB-1 receptors) are increased in the brains of many people with schizophrenia. Recently, there was an attempt at using a medication designed to target these receptors that did not show a benefit over a placebo (Click here for my review). Read More...
Posted by Megan at 12:03 AM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2004

Post mortem research

Reliability of psychiatric diagnosis in postmortem research. Deep-Soboslay A, Akil M, Martin CE, Bigelow LB, Herman MM, Hyde TM, Kleinman JE. Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Jan 1;57(1):96-101. Background: To further understand how the brain works in various diseases, postmortem (after death) research is very important. Such studies look at a person’s brain after death to examine genetic, molecular, cellular, and neurochemical characteristics. Such postmortem research is only done if permission is given to donate the brain for research. One challenge that many of these post mortem researchers face, is determining psychiatric diagnoses after death. Some researchers tend to do thorough psychiatric Read More...
Posted by Megan at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

December 24, 2004

Olanzapine vs. Holoperidol?

Effectiveness and Cost of Olanzapine and Haloperidol in the Treatment of Schizophrenia: A Randomized Controlled Trial Robert Rosenheck; Deborah Perlick; Stephen Bingham; Wen Liu-Mares; Joseph Collins; Stuart Warren; Douglas Leslie; Edward Allan; E. Cabrina Campbell; Stanley Caroff; June Corwin; Lori Davis; Richard Douyon; Lawrence Dunn; Denise Evans; Ede Frecska; John Grabowski; David Graeber; Lawrence Herz; Kong Kwon; William Lawson; Felicitas Mena; Javaid Sheikh; David Smelson; Valerie Smith-Gamble JAMA, Nov 2003; 290: 2693 - 2702. Article 2: Robert A. Rosenheck Open Forum: Effectiveness Versus Efficacy of Second-Generation Antipsychotics: Haloperidol Without Anticholinergics as a Comparator Psychiatr Serv 56:85-92, January 2005 Article 1 Read More...
Posted by Megan at 05:49 AM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2004

Schizophrenia and Paternal Age

Paternal age and risk of developing schizophrenia Nobody knows why certain people get schizophrenia. However, there are many possibilities that have been investigated. There is evidence of a genetic component to developing schizophrenia, but that precise link is currently under investigation and while there are certain spots that appear relevant, it is not known exactly what the mechanism is precisely. Many articles, of which these are some, have postulated that there is an increased risk of schizophrenia based upon an increased age of the father. This theory is not unique to schizophrenia. Diseases such as achondroplasia (a type of dwarfism), Read More...
Posted by Megan at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

Paroxetine and negative symptoms

Negative symptoms of schizophrenia are improved by the addition of paroxetine to neuroleptics: a double-blind placebo-controlled study M. C. Jockers-Scherübl, A. Bauer, F. Godemann, F. M. Reischies, F. Selig and P. Schlattmann International Clinical Psychopharmacology 2005, 20:27–31 Schizophrenia is often discussed in terms of three types of symptoms: Positive symptoms, negative symptoms and cognitive symptoms. The positive symptoms are the most widely discussed and include delusions, hallucinations (most commonly auditory or voices), paranoia and other bizarre thinking. Negative symptoms include blunted affect (affect meaning the way that emotion is expressed), social withdrawal, apathy and difficulty with relating to other people. Read More...
Posted by Megan at 06:44 PM | Comments (0)

CBT (Cognitive-behavioral therapy) vs Psychoeducation

A randomized comparison of group cognitive-behavioural therapy and group psychoeducation in patients with schizophrenia A. Bechdolf, B. Knost, C. Kuntermann, S. Schiller, J. Klosterkötter, M. Hambrecht, R. Pukrop Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica Volume 110 Issue 1 Page 21 (July 2004) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy in which the patient is instructed on different possible ways to interpret events and behaviors which can be used to lead to more positive outcomes in his/her life. CBT was originally created for use with depression, but its use has been shown in most mental illness including schizophrenia. Earlier in this blog Read More...
Posted by Megan at 06:27 AM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2004

Lamotrigine: Adjunct for Shcizophrenia Treatment

1. Lamotrigine in treatment-resistant schizophrenia: a randomized placebo-controlled crossover trial Jari Tiihonen, Tero Hallikainen, Olli-Pekka Ryynänen, Eila Repo-Tiihonen, Irma Kotilainen, Markku Eronen, Päivi Toivonen, Kristian Wahlbeck and Anu Putkonen Biological Psychiatry Volume 54, Issue 11 , 1 December 2003, Pages 1241-1248 2. Placebo-controlled trial of lamotrigine added to conventional and atypical antipsychotics in schizophrenia Ilana Kremer, Agnes Vass, Ielena Gorelik, Gali Bar, Monica Blanaru, Daniel C. Javitt, and Uriel Heresco-Levy Biological Psychiatry Volume 56, Issue 6 , 15 September 2004, Pages 441-446 Lamotrigine (Lamictal) is an anticonvulsant medication (meaning it was originally created to help control seizures) that has been Read More...
Posted by Megan at 08:38 PM | Comments (0)

Redefining the Standard of SZ Care

An expert panel of medical professionals and professors from top research institutions and universities are asking doctors to raise the bar in terms of expectations for schizophrenia treatment. Atypical antipsychotics have greatly improved the management of positive symptoms, and often with fewer side effects. However, a national survey of schizophrenia patients (the results of which were discussed by the panel) reveals that in addition to hallucinations and delusions, patients feel that it is "very important" that treatments help control depression and the inability to think clearly, concentrate, or remember. 94% of the survey respondants look for improvements in daily functioning Read More...
Posted by Julia at 12:25 AM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2004

Sexual side effects of antipsychotics

Antipsychotic treatment and sexual functioning in first-time neuroleptic-treated schizophrenic patients István Bitter, Bruce R. Basson and Martin R. Dossenbach International Clinical Psychopharmacology 2005, 20:19–21 This small study attempts to determine if particular antipsychotic medications have a more significant impact on sexual functioning. Sexual function is important and a decrease in function can be a reason for discontinuing medication. The authors were particularly interested in understanding the experience of people who were new to antipsychotic medication. They started by asking a simple questionnaire to patients to see what their level of sexual functioning was like before they started medication. They then Read More...
Posted by Megan at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)

Does funding sourch effect research outcomes?

An analysis of the effect of funding source in randomized clinical trials of second generation antipsychotics for the treatment of schizophrenia John H. Montgomery, Matthew Byerly, Thomas Carmody, Baitao Li, Daniel R. Miller, Femina Varghese, Rhiannon Holland Controlled Clinical Trials 25 (2004) 598–612 This paper attempts to address the differences between studies of the second generation antipsychotics funded by pharmaceutical companies versus studies that are funded by alternate sources (government, nonprofit foundations, etc.) When these types of analyses have been performed for medications for other diseases, the studies funded by pharmaceutical companies have been nearly universally in favor of the Read More...
Posted by Megan at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

Virginia Parents turning to Foster Care for Help

Parents in the State of Virginia are sending mentally ill children to foster care for help Almost one of every four children in Virginia's foster care system is there because parents want the child to have mental health treatment, a report commissioned by the General Assembly states. The report commissioned by the General Assembly shows that 2,008 of the 8,702 children in foster care, or nearly one-quarter, appeared "to be in custody to obtain treatment." The study, which used data from the Department of Social Services, is based on children in foster care as of June 1.     "The main Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:59 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2004

Christmas Thoughts and Schizophrenia

This is a short editorial from this weekend's edition of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Florida) that seemed appropriate for the time of year... When illness is a crime; Predictable results of mental-health crisis This Christmas season, Castleberry Mejias isn't among the homeless on the streets of Miami.    His story is not a happy one, though.    The 54-year-old Mejias is in prison. He was sent there by prosecutors who could find no other way to get Mejias treated for the paranoid schizophrenia that has plagued him during his entire adult life.    The Miami Herald's Joe Mozingo used the sad case of Mejias Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:14 PM | Comments (0)

Guide for Students with Mental Illness

The Canadian Mental Health Association, a Toronto-based group has just released a comprehensive guide aimed at making student life less harrowing for people with a mental illness. It is available at:    It offers practical advice on a wide variety of topics, including selecting programs, managing the workload, getting through the courses and deciding whether to pursue graduate studies.    The guide is posted on the association's website ( and will be available at colleges and universities across the country.    "It's a very empowering and necessary document because many individuals with psychiatric disabilities experience mental-health issues," one York University student who Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:56 PM | Comments (0)

Editorial - Father with Schizophrenia

This is a good example of the types of editorials that people can write to Newspapers about their experiences with schizophrenia. The more that people write, the more that people will understand the disease. Excerpt from and Editorial in The Vancouver Sun (British Columbia, Canada) December 18, 2004 Saturday Shining light on a dreaded disease: A Sun columnist receives a wave of emotion-filled responses to the story of his father and finds that a small army of Canadians is diligently working to shine light on the confusion and fear surrounding people with schizophrenia By Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun All I Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:45 PM | Comments (4)

Future Clozapine Compatibility Genetic Test

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
It was announced today that Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (GNSC) published results from its study, reporting the discovery of genetic markers that the Company believes predict who is at risk of developing clozapine-induced agranulocytosis, a life-threatening decrease of white blood cells that requires frequent blood testing of patients. A news report suggests that Clozapine ( a drug that has been identified as one of the most effective medications for treating schizophrenia) has had limited utilization due to the risk of inducing agranulocytosis. According to a 1993 study in the New England Journal of Medicine (Volume 329:162-167), clozapine-induced agranulocytosis affects 1-2% of Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:25 PM | Comments (0)

Atypical Meds May Help Sleep

Sleep difficulties are a common problem among people with schizophrenia, either due to disturbing symptoms or as a side effect of the medication used to treat those symptoms. A recent study from the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry suggests that atypical antipsychotics (as opposed to the older versions) may help improve sleep quality in some patients. Adequate and good-quality sleep is especially important for people with illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, as an insufficient amount of sleep can increase stress and exacerbate symptoms, as well as significantly reduce the quality and functionality of waking hours. The study included 92 Read More...
Posted by Julia at 02:07 AM | Comments (0)

Patrick Corrigan Speaks About Stigma and MI Treatment

Dr. Patrick Corrigan is a well-known expert on the stigma around mental illness, and co-author (with Robert Lundin) of the book "Don't Call Me Nuts! Coping With The Stigma of Mental Illness." In this interview with Medscape Psychiatry, he speaks about the different kinds of stigma that are prevalent in our society today, originating both from the well public and from people with illnesses themselves, what effects stigma has on mental illness treatment, and what might be the best way to dispel it. Dr Corrigan provides some excellent and practical information in this article - I highly recommend it. The Read More...
Posted by Julia at 12:55 AM | Comments (1)

December 11, 2004

Gene identified that could Help Schizophrenia Treatment

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
Australian scientists say the discovery of a new gene could significantly improve the treatment of patients with schizophrenia. Doctors have found a gene which makes patients more susceptible to the side-effects of medication. Many patients do not like to take the anti-psychotic drugs prescribed for schizophrenia because of severe side-effects, including depression, sexual problems and osteoporosis. "It is a fundamentally important [discovery] because the way we've used medications until now has been trial and error," Professor Ross Young from Queensland University of Technology said. Doctors say discovering the gene means they will be able to do a blood test or Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 05:47 PM | Comments (0)

Updated Guidelines for Evidence-Based Treatment

Magellan Health Services (national managed behavioral health care organization) has adopted, updated, and simplified the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Patients with Schizophrenia. Specifically, they have expanded the guide with a summary of recent research conducted between 2002 and 2004, and added a "consumer summary" for patient and family education. The result is what senior vice president Dr. Andrew Rudo believes to be "a definitive guide on evidence based treatments in schizophrenia." The literature-review and treatment-guideline addendum released by Magellan, based on recent research in the area of schizophrenia, includes additional topics such as cultural Read More...
Posted by Julia at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2004

The Long-term Impact of Stress During Childhood on Brain Development

Researchers are starting to understand the long-term impact that early childhood stress (either short term, high stress or ongoing moderate stress) has on the brain. Losing a parent or witnessing domestic violence as a young child is a devastating experience that can leave long-lasting emotional scars. Scientists are beginning to understand how such events can affect memory and behavior into adulthood, and how well-timed interventions can help. Two new studies -- one with humans, another in animals -- demonstrate the profound effects of early trauma. Preschoolers living in a stressful home had weaker memories when they reached middle school. And Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 01:57 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2004

Ethics in research

Influence of ethical safeguards on research participation: comparison of perspectives of people with schizophrenia and psychiatrists. Roberts LW, Hammond KA, Warner TD, Lewis R. Am J Psychiatry. 2004 Dec;161(12):2309-11. Background: Participation in research comes with the assumption that researchers will respect and take care of the volunteer’s rights in an ethical and fair manner. In the United States, there are many safeguards to make sure that rights of participants are not violated. Five of these safeguards are: the use of informed consent procedures, alternative decision makers, institutional review boards, data safety monitoring boards, as well as utmost care towards confidentiality Read More...
Posted by Megan at 04:08 PM | Comments (0)

Voices and the brain

Temporal course of auditory hallucinations. Shergill SS, Brammer MJ, Amaro E, Williams SC, Murray RM, McGuire PK. Br J Psychiatry. 2004 Dec;185:516-7. Background: Researchers are still unclear about why voices or “auditory verbal hallucinations” occur in schizophrenia. Some think that voices are due to a person’s own inner speech that gets misperceived as sounds that come from outside. Others think that it is because of extra activity in a particular part of the brain known as the auditory cortex (which is responsible for hearing and language). Brain imaging helps take pictures of the brain while someone is thinking or even Read More...
Posted by Megan at 03:10 PM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2004

Anxiety during pregnancy affects child behavior

The idea that a woman's emotional state during pregnancy affects her unborn child has persisted for centuries and has, in recent years, been supported by science. Called the "fetal programming hypothesis," it theorizes that certain disturbing factors occurring during certain sensitive periods of development in utero can "program" set points in a variety of biological systems in the unborn child. This, then, affects the ability of those biological systems to change later in life, resulting in difficulties adapting physiologically and ultimately predisposing a child to disease and disorder (including heart disease, obesity, mental illness and many other disorders). In this Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 04:55 PM | Comments (1)

December 07, 2004

Developing SZ drugs with new mechanism

Novasite Pharmaceuticals and the Stanley Medical Research Institute are teaming up to develop a new class of medications for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Called "allosteric modulator drugs", these compounds act at a regulatory site in brain receptors, different from the site that target neurotransmitters use. According to the press release, allosteric drugs may be a safer option because they mimic the behavior of natural regulatory molecules in the body. This more natural mechanism of action may prevent potential overdose, tolerance, abuse, and dependence problems. View the press release: "Novasite Pharmaceuticals and the Stanley Medical Research Institute Announce Alliance to Discover Read More...
Posted by Julia at 10:12 PM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2004

Progress in Neuroscience Brings Hope for SZ

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
The subject of neuroscience, the study of how the brain works and responds, has advanced in leaps and bounds in the past forty years or so. Scientists who were once restricted to examining brains from already-dead organisms can now, through gene manipulation in animal models and advanced brain imaging technology, observe the direct results of how a brain functions under any number of different conditions. We can see the inside of a living brain even as it performs tasks, allowing us to pinpoint with increasing accuracy the different functional areas and their connections with each other. Neuroscience is expanding from Read More...
Posted by Julia at 02:45 PM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2004

Bristol Myers Squibb Provides Plan on Abilify

In Late November, Bristol-Myers Squibb provided an R&D Review of their plans going forward with Abilify (to investor groups). Following is an excerpt of this presentation by David Boyko, the Bristol-Myers Senior Vice President of Global Medical Affairs and Lifecycle Management. [Note: Bristol Myers is an advertiser here at at this time - but we try to cover all new developments in schizophrenia equally, no matter what the source. This information below is just a short except from a very long presentation by Bristol-Myers. As with any information provided by a company on its own products... take any commentary Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)

Glaxo Smithkline working on new schizophrenia drug

UK drug major GlaxoSmithKline has provided an update on its drug in development to treat schizophrenia. Talnetant, an NK3 antagonist, is being evaluated by GSK for schizophrenia. A Phase II trial is underway with a new formulation of the drug that permits higher dosing, and data are expected during next year. The agent may also provide cognitive benefits to schizophrenic patients. Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:12 PM | Comments (0)

Hungarian drug company working on new schizophrenia target

In a sign of more new therapies that may make it to market to help people who have schizophrenia, Hungarian drugmaker Richter Gedeon and the USA's Forest Laboratories have signed a collaborative agreement for the former's atypical antipsychotic identified as "RGH-188" and related compounds. Forest will have exclusive rights to the product in the USA and Canada while Richter Gedeon will retain rights in the rest of the world. Both parties will be involved in the development of the product and will jointly fund such activities. The Drug, called "RGH-188" (during pre-release status),is a novel, orally-active dopamine D2/D3 antagonist, is Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:10 PM | Comments (0)

Pfizer working on new Schizophrenia Drugs

At a research and development meeting for analysts on Nov. 30, Pfizer (PFE) talked about some Earlier-stage drugs - including offerings that could enhance the treatment of ailments including schizophrenia and asthma. Asenapine is a novel treatment for schizophrenia.  Discovered by Organon Pharmaceuticals, it is being developed in a unique, under-the-tongue, fast-dissolving form.  Phase II trials showed promising efficacy against placebo and a comparator medicine.  Pfizer and its partner are developing asenapine for acute and maintenance treatment of schizophrenia and for the treatment of acute mania in bipolar disorder. Varenicline is a medicine in development in pill form to reduce nicotine craving and Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:00 PM | Comments (1)

Memory Pill - Moving Ahead

Good news for those with some aspects of cognitive decline that are common for people with schizophrenia. Newsweek Magazine reports this week in a story titled "Medicine's Next Level" - that "With new insight into the mechanisms that help keep your brain sharp, neurological researchers move closer to improving your recall with a 'memory pill.'   No pill to improve memory, aside from alternative remedies of dubious effectiveness, is currently on the market. But several small biotech companies are launching drugs grounded in the latest research, with a few already in the early stages of clinical trials that could be finished Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 05:44 PM | Comments (1)

Marijuana and Psychosis Link

Yet another research study suggests that Frequent cannabis use during adolescence and young adulthood raises the risk of psychotic symptoms later in life, research suggests. The risk was much higher in young people who were already genetically vulnerable to developing psychosis It is thought cannabis disrupts the balance of the key mood chemical dopamine in the brain. The research, by Maastricht University, is published by the British Medical Journal. Lead researcher Professor Jim van Os told the BBC News website that using cannabis was not a good idea for these people. The risk appears greatest for those with a predisposition Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 05:17 PM | Comments (0)

Transition from Hospital a Stressful Time

Although returning home from a hospitalization is clearly a stressful experience, very little research exists about what specific stressors might be prevalent during this period, and how they might be avoided. Given the strong link between stress and exacerbation of schizophrenia symptoms, being aware of these transitional stressors could be an important way to reduce future episodes, further hospitalizations, and possible suicide attempts. A letter to the editor of Psychiatric Services (Dec 2004) suggests that although major life stressors have been a focus in the onset of schizophrenia symptoms, chronic everyday stress may be a better indicator. The letter then Read More...
Posted by Julia at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

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