January 30, 2005

Antipsychotic Mellaril Removed from Market

Novartis has announced a worldwide discontinuation of the drug Melleril (Mellaril in the US and Canada, and also known under the generic name thioridazine), due to concerns that the drug causes increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death. Doctors have been alerted of the situation, and are advised by Novartis to switch patients on Melleril to an alternate medication. The drug will be officially discontinued in all forms by June 2005. Source: "Schizophrenia Drug Withdrawal", Jan 28 2005. Irish Health (http://www.irishhealth.com/?level=4&id=6897). More information: http://www.mentalhealth.com/drug/p30-m01.html Read More...
Posted by Julia at 06:58 PM | Comments (1)

Ephedra Worsens Psych Symptoms

A new study in this month's American Journal of Psychiatry indicates that the herbal supplement ephedra may cause or exacerbate psychiatric symptoms, including mania, hallucinations, and severe depression. Although Ephedra (also called ma huang) has already been removed from popular use by the FDA due to other serious health concerns (including heart attack and stroke), an exemption from the ban exists for practitioners of Chinese medicine, who use the herb for a wide variety of remedies. Before the ban, Ephedra was a popular supplement to enhance weight-loss and athletic performance. The study reviewed 1,820 cases of reported Ephedra-related side effects Read More...
Posted by Julia at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2005

Daniel B. Fisher and his "Empowerment Model"

Medscape.com recently ran an interview with Dr. Daniel B. Fisher, MD, PhD, Executive Director of the National Empowerment Center in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Dr. Fisher described his theory of Empowerment Model recovery, how it fits in with the medical model and medication treatment of mental illness, and how he believes it helps people with severe mental illness recover. Although this is just one person's opinion, some ideas could certainly be integrated into long-term care. Below is a paraphrase of some key points: An integral part of the Empowerment Model is a distinct definition for mental illness. According to Dr. Fisher, mental Read More...
Posted by Julia at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2005

Informed Consent in Schizophrenia

Wirshing DA, Sergi MJ, Mintz J. A videotape intervention to enhance the informed consent process for medical and psychiatric treatment research. Am J Psychiatry. 2005 Jan;162(1):186-8. Wirshing DA, Wirshing WC, Marder SR, Liberman RP, Mintz J. Informed consent: assessment of comprehension. Am J Psychiatry. 1998 Nov;155(11):1508-11. The topic of informed consent can be difficult when conducting research, particularly when mental illness is involved. The process often involves explaining complex and technical procedures to an audience who otherwise would not have knowledge of such. A skilled clinician must know how to address concerns and explain difficult concepts in language appropriate to Read More...
Posted by Megan at 10:45 PM | Comments (0)

True Story of Cannabis-Induced Schizophrenia / Psychosis

The following is a true story, appearing in the Nationwide News Pty Limited Sunday Mail (Queensland, Australia). It is written by a mother who lost her son to (what she believes was) drug-induced schizophrenia. Her story is a frightening and sad reminder of what scientific studies are revealing to us - that recreational drug use significantly increases the risk of developing schizophrenia and suffering dire health consequences. The most relevant portions of the story are excerpted below. Source: Nationwide News Pty Limited Sunday Mail (Queensland, Australia). Jan 22, 2005. HEADLINE: My son Liam was a brilliant student, but his first Read More...
Posted by Julia at 02:48 AM | Comments (60)

January 23, 2005

Risk in "at-risk" research

Prodromal interventions for schizophrenia vulnerability: the risks of being "at risk". Corcoran C, Malaspina D, Hercher L. Schizophr Res. 2005 Mar 1; 73(2-3):173-84. Researchers have been trying to identify and treat teenagers and young adults who may be clinically at risk or “prodromal” for showing psychotic symptoms. This “prodromal” research (prodromal means early symptoms and signs of an illness that precede the beginning of the acute, fully developed illness) is trying to help avoid the damage that can occur once the illness begins especially since the longer the duration of untreated psychosis the worse the long term prognosis. But, this Read More...
Posted by Megan at 11:28 PM | Comments (1)

January 22, 2005

Predicting the Course of SZ

A new study in Schizophrenia Research suggests that certain gender- and disease- related markers identified prior to diagnosis can help predict the future prognosis of those who develop schizophrenia. The study obtained behavioral and intellectual functioning data from 996 adolescents with schizophrenia and 335 with affective disorders at least 1 year prior to a first hospitalization. Resesarchers continued to monitor the hospitalizations of these individuals. Data revealed that males who had poor social functioning and organization skills before their diagnosis of schizophrenia spent more days in the hospital per year than other males with schizophrenia. Among the female subjects, those Read More...
Posted by Julia at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2005

Marijuana and Schizophrenia News

25% of cannabis users faces a tenfold higher risk of mental illness Jenny Hope, the medical correspondent in the British Newspaper "The Daily Mail", reported today on research which suggests that 1 in 4 cannabis users faces a tenfold higher risk of mental illness due to their genetic profile. The researchers, led by Professor Avshalom Caspi of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, will publish their study in the journal Biological Psychiatry. They investigated whether susceptibility to psychosis triggered by cannabis could be linked with a particular gene, known as COMT, which makes people more prone to schizophrenia. COMT is Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:25 PM | Comments (8)

January 19, 2005

Links between Bipolar, Schizophrenia

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
Despite the fact that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have different diagnostic credentials in the bible of American psychiatric medicine (the DSM-IV), the two disorders show a significant overlap of symptoms, as well as some similar treatment strategies. Now, scientists are discovering some of the key biological similarities that may link these diseases even more strongly. For example, Dr. Amy Arnsten at Yale University Medical School has found what she calls a "molecular trigger" for both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. This trigger appears to be stress, which can over-activate a brain protein called protein kinase C (PKC) in the prefrontal cortex. Read More...
Posted by Julia at 02:54 PM | Comments (10)

Mental Health High Priority for EU

At the World Health Organization Conference on Mental Health in Helsinki (opened Jan 18, 2005), the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection called mental illness an "unseen killer" in Europe. Statistics showing the high number of suicides in the EU (around 58,000 annually, as compared with about 50,700 from motor vehicle accidents and 5,350 from murder or homicide), led Comissioner Markos Kyprianou to say that "mental illness is just as deadly as physical illnesses like cancer," and call upon the EU to place a weightier priority on a comprehensive Mental Health program for Europe. As part of the EU Read More...
Posted by Julia at 02:51 PM | Comments (1)

January 16, 2005

Pets Can Help Schizophrenia Patients

A research team in the U.K. is studying how bringing a pet to therapy sessions can help the long-term recovery of people with schizophrenia. A group of 10 schizophrenia patients who had animal-assisted therapy (dogs involved in therapy sessions) showed improved motivation, improved "hedonic tone" (an improved ability to enjoy things), and improved ability to use leisure time as compared to a group of 10 patients who did not have animals included in their therapy. Ahedonia (inability to enjoy or take an interest in things) and lack of motivation are two of the most troubling symptoms of schizophrenia that are Read More...
Posted by Julia at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2005

Sexual Side Effects of Antipsychotic Meds

Several recent literature surveys, according to a review article in Mental Health Nursing, report that patients on antipsychotic medications often consider sexual side effects to be one of the most troubling aspects of taking their medication. However, this particular topic is often glossed over by medical professionals. Discomfort from the patient, their significant other, and the physicians can prevent the problem from being discussed and dealt with. The sexual side effects (such as decreased libido, menstrual irregularity, and infertility) are often caused by a condition known as hyperprolactinaemia. Prolactin is a natural hormone in the human body that plays a Read More...
Posted by Julia at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2005

Risk from short birth intervals

Association between short birth intervals and schizophrenia in the offspring. Smits L, Pedersen C, Mortensen P, van Os J. Schizophr Res. 2004 Sep 1;70(1):49-56. Background: Conceiving immediately after delivering a baby has been found to increase risk for premature births, maturity problems and birth defects in the child. Some have hypothesized that this increased risk may be due to incomplete restoring of nutrients such as folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12 in the mother at the time of conception. These nutrients usually take up to 1 year to return to recommended levels. Since there may be a link between prenatal Read More...
Posted by Megan at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2005

Special IQ Test for Schizophrenia

The Times of London reported today that: "A SIMPLE IQ test developed by Scottish scientists will be able to predict whether people are likely to suffer schizophrenia up to three years in advance. Researchers at Edinburgh University believe their test — which measures IQ, memory, motor skills and verbal learning — can be used to take action against the illness, which typically strikes people aged between 17 and 30, from being triggered. Although schizophrenia cannot be cured, early treatment has been shown to improve recovery rates. The study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, is part of the Edinburgh Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 01:01 AM | Comments (22)

January 08, 2005

Ocaperidone - New Schiz. Drug in Trials

It was reported this week that France-based Neuro3d, a biopharmaceutical company focused on psychiatric disorders, has raised $42.9 million in a third round of financing to advance the company's psychiatric drugs pipeline. The company's drug portfolio includes ocaperidone in phase II trials for the treatment of schizophrenia, two new antidepressants with different mechanisms of actions in phase I trials and several drug candidates in research or pre-clinical development. Source: Neuro3d, http://www.neuro3d.fr For more information: http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/260/1/146 Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2005

Gene Test to Determine Med Doses

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
The FDA has just approved the first-ever laboratory test system that will allow physicians to observe certain portions of a patient's genetic information. The results of this test can be used to help select medications and dosages that may be more compatible with that person's unique biology. The DNA microarray test analyzes the genetic information from the "cytochrome P450" gene family. These genes code for enzymes that act in the liver to metabolize drugs and other foreign compounds in the body. Specifically, this test looks at variations in a gene that codes the enzyme P4502D6, which the rate of metabolism Read More...
Posted by Julia at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

Another Gene linked to Schizophrenia

A news report out of India states that another gene(that when changed, or damaged) has been linked to Schizophrenia. Director of IGIB, Prof Samir K Brahmachari, who is at present attending the 92nd Indian Science Congress in the city said, ‘‘A consortium of scientists currenlty working on identifying and mapping of genes associated with diseases (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism or SNP) prevalent in India has succeded in identifying ‘cynaptogyrin’, a gene responsible for schizophrenia.’’ ‘‘Scientists during their study found that change in the structure of the gene was responsible for causing the brain disorder,’’ said professor Parth Majumdar, head of genetics Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)

New Test for Parkinson's and Schizophrenia

New Test May Detect Parkinson's Disease and Schizophrenia Early, and Aid Search for Drugs Source: WALL STREET JOURNAL The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that Pfizer has developed a relatively simple computer-based speach analysis test that, in initial tests, appears able to diagnose Parkinsons disease and schizophrenia. The Journal reports that: "Now scientists at drug giant Pfizer think they have stumbled on a simple test that is both sensitive enough to detect subtle biological changes due to Parkinson's [and schizophrenia] and specific enough to avoid false alarms: analyzing how people speak. If further studies confirm their conclusion, the test Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 04:04 PM | Comments (2)

January 06, 2005

Drug Industry to Reveal More Trial Data

As anyone here who has read the ongoing news related to undisclosed drug trial information knows - the drug industry had been doing itself a big disservice in this area by not revealing important drug trial information to the public, and it had been destroying much of the group's credibility that was built up over many decades of good work. Good news comes this weeek in that the global pharmaceutical industry unveiled plans on Thursday to publish more data about trials of medicines in a bid to reassure patients following recent alarms over drug safety. The New York Times reported Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:32 PM | Comments (0)

Olanzapine, Clozapine and Diabetes

Two Atypical Anti-psychotic Drugs May Be Associated With An Increased Risk Of Diabetes For Patients With Schizophrenia CHICAGO -- Patients treated with the atypical anti-psychotic agents clozapine and olanzapine may be at an increased risk for insulin resistance, which is a major risk factor for diabetes mellitus, according to a study in the January issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. "Compared with the general population, life expectancy in patients with schizophrenia is shorter by as much as 20 percent, attributable to higher rates of suicide, accidental deaths, and natural causes such as cardiovascular disease, Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:47 AM | Comments (4)

New Movie - "See Grace Fly"

A new Canadian movie that is a fictional story of a woman that has schizophrenia, was released last month. We haven't seen the movie - but it sounds (perhaps) a little too dark for viewing by people with schizophrenia. It does sound like a good film for people inexperienced in schizophrenia, and who want to see a realistic movie related to the topic. The basic overview of the movie is: Grace McKinley is a brilliant 38 year-old woman with schizophrenia. When her mother dies, Grace's actions become increasingly erratic. She takes two weeks to report the death, and in that Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:29 AM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2005

Schizophrenia Prediction Possible

A new study from Edinburgh University says that people in high-risk categories for schizophrenia who go on to develop the disease show subtle early warning signs that distinguish them from others in their group. The study, which began in 1994, tracked 163 young adults identified as "at-risk" for schizophrenia (based on the fact that each subject had two relatives diagnosed with schizophrenia). According to the data, those in this group who actually developed schizophrenia had more pre-diagnosis anxiety, social withdrawal, and "schizotypal" thoughts than those who remained well. Such eary symptoms were subtle in nature, tending not to be debilitating Read More...
Posted by Julia at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)

January 03, 2005

Pop Portrayal of "Madness"

The Washington Times recently published a critical article about pop media's overly-dramatic, unrealistic portrayal of people with mental illness. The article highlights recent films such as "The Aviator" (about Howard Hughes who suffered from OCD), "The Hours" (Virginia Woolf and major depression), and "Me, Myself, and Irene" (protagonist with schizophrenia), as well as TV shows such as ER (Sally Fields appears with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder). Although Hollywood portrayals have progressed since movies such as "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", which shows frightening and practically torturous methods of "treating" sick patients, mental illness advocates and experts complain that the brief Read More...
Posted by Julia at 07:18 PM | Comments (0)

Growing Up with an Ill Parent

Lisa Lieberman, author of "Leaving You: The Cultural Meaning of Suicide" has written an excellent and insightful memoir about the costs and responsibilities of growing up with a mentally ill parent. She includes some of her own anecdotes and experiences, as well as those of others she has interviewed. Read the entire article online by clicking on the link below: "The Legacy of Madness: The Hidden Cost and Continuing Legacy of Growing Up with a Mentally Ill Parent." Hartford Advocate News (http://www.hartfordadvocate.com), Dec 30 2004. Read More...
Posted by Julia at 07:11 PM | Comments (0)

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