February 28, 2005

Working memory: a new target?

Selective alterations in prefrontal cortical GABA neurotransmission in schizophrenia: a novel target for the treatment of working memory dysfunction. Lewis DA, Volk DW, Hashimoto T. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2004 Jun;174(1):143-50. Epub 2003 Dec 09. This article is about research being done to identify other potential targets in the brain for medications for schizophrenia. The authors focus on an aspect of schizophrenia that is often overlooked, but is of paramount importance in understanding the disorder fully. Namely, the loss of working memory and deficit in executive function that is associated with schizophrenia often can be severely limiting when people with schizophrenia are Read More...
Posted by Megan at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

Prisons Overloaded w/Mentally Ill

While the problem of USA prisons being overloaded with mentally ill prisoners is well known, a new report in by "Corrections Canada" (a government agency) reports that the same problem is true in Canada. A recent news report by Canadian Press reports: "An inept justice system is putting more mentally ill people in federal prisons, where there is little treatment available for them, says a newly released report. Corrections Canada must spend more on doctors and facilities to treat as many as 1,500 prisoners who need urgent help each day, the internal study concludes. "The criminal justice system continues to Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:04 PM | Comments (1)

February 27, 2005

New Care Program for Elderly in NC

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is launching an innovative psychiatric care program for home-bound and frail elderly. This outreach service, which targets people over 65 years old that cannot easily access the mental health system due to frailty, disability, or their own psychiatric condition, is the first of it's kind in the United States. Similar programs have shown successful results in Canada and the UK. Proponents of the program hope that it will provide needed care to a growing demographic, hopefully avoiding an emergency or hospitalization situation, while still respecting the Read More...
Posted by Julia at 04:13 AM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2005

Gene Variation tied to Aggression

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
Male patients with schizophrenia who have specific gene variants are associate with higher levels of aggression, suggests a recent research report.     According to the recently published research from South Korea, "the incidence of aggressive behavior in patients with schizophrenia is higher than in the general population. Among particular gene polymorphisms posited to be involved in psychiatric disorders, the catecholamine-O-methyltransferase (COMT) and serotonin transporter (5-HTTPR) genes have been the focus of recent research on aggression."     "In this study, we hypothesized that both the COMT and the 5-HTTPR genotypes may be dependent on and related to aggression in Korean patients Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:24 PM | Comments (0)

Lilly Zyprexa Warning/Confusion

This week Eli Lilly warned doctors about Zyprexa, Zyrtec confusion Eli Lilly and Co. announced this week that it has changed the labeling on its antipsychotic Zyprexa to avoid confusion with Pfizer Inc.'s allergy medicine Zyrtec after some patients were given the wrong drug. Lilly said in a letter to psychiatrists and pharmacists that it has received 79 reports of such mix-ups since Zyprexa, which is used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, was introduced in 1996. The letter, dated January 26, was posted February 8, 2005, on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s Medwatch Web site. The letter Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:17 PM | Comments (0)

$7 Mil for NeuroSearch Psych Prog

It was announced today that NeuroSearch, a Danish biotech research firm focused on psychiatric disease, has received a payment of approximately $7 million as part of their strategic alliance that was initiated in December 2003. The partnership is focused on the drug candidate NS2359 (GSK372475), which is in clinical phase II development for the treatment of depression. In addition, the alliance comprises a number of research programs within ion channels and the treatment of diseases of the central nervous system (CNS), including anxiety and schizophrenia. Source: Pharmalive Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)

Mental Health Courts Spreading

With the number of mentally ill people in jail skyrocketing in the past decade (while, coincidentally, hospital facilities and resources available to treat people with brain disorders have fallen dramatically) its on a rare positive note that people are finally recognizing the special needs of the mentally ill when it comes to minor criminal offenses. (for more information see the "Schizophrenia and Violence" part of this web page) This week Harris County, Texas, judges may create a mental health court to provide specialized legal consideration and treatment for those with diseases such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and psychotic episodes.     Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2005

The Need for Early Intervention

The Need for Early Intervention in Schizophrenia A Schizophrenia.com Editorial by Marvin Ross "Once the damage is done, it cannot be undone. Neither love nor money can ever undo the damage of delayed treatment for schizophrenia. The individual is disabled for the rest of his or her life and this is what early intervention can prevent." These words were spoken by a man whose own diagnosis and treatment were delayed for over ten years and whose life today would have been considerably different if he had been treated early. In addition to the human cost, the cost to society would Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 05:26 PM | Comments (1)

Schizophrenia.com member speaks out

Schizophrenia.com member Brooke, who published her autobiographical book "I Think I Scared Her: Growing Up with Psychosis" in summer 2004, was featured in a recent story on the BostonChannel.com. It's great to see people telling their stories, actively advocating for themselves and others!! Thank you Brooke, and great work! See the full story - "Woman Battles Schizophrenai for Normal Life" (Feb 22 2005). http://www.thebostonchannel.com/health/4220937/detail.html See the Recommended Reading section (http://www.schizophrenia.com/media) for more info on ordering Brooke's book. Read More...
Posted by Julia at 03:49 PM | Comments (0)

New Drug for Psychotic Symptoms

Source: Memory Pharmaceuticals Press Release (excerpted below): MONTVALE, N.J., Feb. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Memory Pharmaceuticals Corp. (Nasdaq: MEMY - News) today announced the addition of a PDE10A inhibitor program to its pipeline. The preclinical PDE10A inhibitor program, the fourth program to be added to the Company's pipeline, is based on promising preclinical research suggesting that the inhibition of PDE10A may reduce psychotic effects and may therefore be useful in treating psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. PDE10A is a class of phosphodiesterases that degrades cAMP and cGMP, molecules that are responsible for improving the function of many different cells in the Read More...
Posted by Julia at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2005

Geneology & Schizophrenia

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
As we've mentioned here in the past - given the significant roll that genetics play in schizophrenia and the significant benefits that can accrue to people who get early treatment, it makes particular sense for families where one or more people suffer from schizophrenia to do some genetic analsysis and family tree analysis to better understand their risks and potential preventative actions (or early treatment options). Today there is a good article on The Guardian's web site on this issue (of tracking geneology for health reasons). The article suggests that: "GPs are used to asking whether heart disease or cancer Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

The Unconscious Mind

A story on the unconscious mind in US News and World report this week touches upon schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, stating that research into the unconscious mind : "has revealed fascinating activity out of conscious awareness that may eventually provide clues to more effective treatments." The story goes further to suggest that in barely conscious patients that have been studied, language centers of the brain show high amounts of activity when they hear personal stories recounted by a family member. Similarly, research on schizophrenia reveals that most who are afflicted have an impaired ability to smell, which researchers think may Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:46 PM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2005

Genetic blood test for schizophrenia?

Assessing the Validity of Blood-Based Gene Expression Profiles for the Classification of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder: A Preliminary Report Ming T. Tsuang, Nadine Nossova, Tom Yager, Min-Min Tsuang, Shi-Chin Guo, Kou Ge Shyu, Stephen J. Glatt, and C.C. Liew American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B (Neuropsychiatric Genetics) 133B:1–5 (2005) In this paper, the authors are describing a new technique for doing genetic testing. Traditionally, DNA tests are done on tissues, particularly the tissue that shows evidence of the disease being queried. In psychiatric illness however, that is difficult or impossible because one cannot do a brain biopsy without significant Read More...
Posted by Megan at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2005

Pregnancy risks

Pregnancy, delivery, and neonatal complications in a population cohort of women with schizophrenia and major affective disorders. Jablensky AV, Morgan V, Zubrick SR, Bower C, Yellachich LA. Am J Psychiatry. 2005 Jan;162(1):79-91. Introduction: Some studies have suggested that women with schizophrenia may be at a higher risk for more pregnancy problems. But, it is unclear whether these bad outcomes are specifically related to schizophrenia or some other nonspecific reasons due to being pregnant and having a severe mental illness. This study wanted to look at the frequency, nature and severity of obstetric (pregnancy related) complications in women with schizophrenia and Read More...
Posted by Megan at 03:16 PM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2005

Stem Cell Study and Schiz.

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
In California it was announced today that a Stanford University researcher has gotten a preliminary go-ahead to create a mouse with a significant number of human brain cells -- as long as the creature behaves like a mouse, not a human. This is very good news for families of people who have schizophrenia (as well as for people with other brain diseases like Parkinsons, Alzheimers, etc.) The San Jose Mercury News reported that "A university ethics committee studied a provocative project that transplants human neurons into the brains of mice where, surprisingly, they settle in and feel right at home. Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:06 PM | Comments (0)

Disclosing Schiz. to Friends, Lovers

A common issue for people with any brain disorder is how much to tell other people about the disorder. In this story a woman talks about her experiences: Title: Mismatch of the Day "In the minefield that is dating and mating, when is it safe to reveal a mental health problem? Does a history of mental illness ensure that psychiatric services users are losers in love? Since suffering a psychotic breakdown during my first romantic relationship, I've been wary of admitting to a history of mental illness to prospective partners. To read the full story - click here Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)

Possession by Evil Spirits?

In the UK, as in many other parts of the world - (more advanced, as well as lesser advanced) its good to remember that many people don't follow the latest medical advances in the understanding of schizophrenia and related brain disorders - and therefore have some very archaic views towards people with psychosis (and their behavior). In an editorial in The Guardian newspaper this week, a writer discusses a local British television station that plans to do a "live exorcism" on one of its TV programs. In the 21st century, in a modern country - such a practice is unbelievable. Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:39 PM | Comments (4)

Schiz. Direct link to Grey Matter

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
Australian Schizophrenia researchers claimed a breakthrough in the search for the cause of schizophrenia this week, linking the impaired thought processes involved with the disorder directly to thinning grey matter in the brain. If confirmed, this would be an important step forward in understanding the direct mechanisms by which schizophrenia is caused by changes in the brain. It was reported that "The importance of this research is that it links together for the first time abnormal brain structure and function in the one image and ties that with abnormal thinking in schizophrenia," Vaughan Carr of the Neuroscience Institute of Schizophrenia Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:47 PM | Comments (0)

Senator Champions Community Tx

Added to the incomparable stress of raising a child with a serious brain disease, many parents are forced to maneuver through a maze of legislation that can eventually result in the state claiming custody of their child. Along with thousands of children in juvenile detention centers and welfare homes that don't recieve adequate treatment, even children in loving families may be taken away by the state due to a lack of community treatment options. Senator Susan Collins of Maine is responding by championing the Keeping Families Together Act. The legislation would hopefully allow parents to help their children without giving Read More...
Posted by Julia at 03:42 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2005

Single Gene Cause Schizophrenia?

Could schizophrenia arise from a single gene defect? Researchers have long puzzled over the apparently multiple causes of complex developmental disorders such as schizophrenia. Individuals seem to be predisposed to the disease by a tragic, mysterious combination of genetics, prenatal trauma, viral infection, and early experience. And its array of symptoms--including hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and antisocial behavior--has defied simple explanation. In experiments with rats, however, researchers led by led by Gerard J.M. Martens of the Nijmegen Center for Molecular Life Sciences (NCMLS) have demonstrated that such seemingly diverse combinations of symptoms can arise from a subtle imbalance in the activity Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 01:57 AM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2005

Low Bone Density in Males with Schizophrenia

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
A new study in the American Journal of Psychiatry indicates that men with schizophrenia are at high-risk for low bone mineral density - surprisingly, males are at higher-risk than females. The study tracked 75 in- and out-patients with schizophrenia who had been consistently taking antipsychotic medication for at least one year. The ages of the subjects (19-50) excluded those that might already be suffering from age-related osteoperosis. In males, lower than normal bone mineral density in the lumbar region of the back correlated with increased negative symptoms. In contrast, bone density increased as levels of vitamin D and/or body mass Read More...
Posted by Julia at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2005

Gene Mutations and Schizophrenia

University of Toronoto (Canada) Researchers links Schizophrenia and Gene Mutations The supersensitivity to dopamine that is characteristic of schizophrenia can be caused by mutations to a wide variety of genes, rather than alterations to just two or three specific genes, says a University of Toronto researcher. In research published in the Feb. 15 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, University of Toronto pharmacology professor Philip Seeman and his 16 colleagues in eight universities show that mutations to genes that have no relation to the brain's dopamine receptors can still cause those receptors to become highly sensitive Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:25 PM | Comments (1)

February 13, 2005

Lunch-time Behavior and Schiz

Could youngsters' behaviour while eating lunch predict which ones will develop schizophrenia? According to the results of a study headed by Jason Schiffman, Ph.D., the answer is yes. Some 9,000 children were born in a particular hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, between 1959 and 1961. In 1972, when the children were between 11 and 13 years of age, some 250 were selected for an investigation into the early signs of schizophrenia. One aspect of the study consisted of videotaping the youngsters while eating lunch to record their social behaviour and neuromotor skills. These adolescents were followed up in 1992, when they Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:52 AM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2005

Web Guide for Ped Antidepressants

Several medical and consumer organizations, among them the American Psychiatric Association and Suicide Prevention Action Network, have collaborated to advance a new website. ParentsMedGuide.org is meant to help parents of children with depression make informed and educated decisions about medications in the wake of numerous warnings about SSRI safety. The site is designed in an easy-to-follow question and answer format, addressing concerns about antidepressants, the meaning of the FDA blackbox warning, and questions about treatment with and without medication. This is an excellent advance over what parents previously had to do - that is, search through a jumble of FDA Read More...
Posted by Julia at 02:32 AM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2005

Brain chemistry and prevention

Targeting synapses and myelin in the prevention of schizophrenia. Woo TU, Crowell AL. Schizophr Res. 2005 Mar 1;73(2-3):193-207. There are many research efforts that are trying to understand how the brain works and how it develops in order to try to prevent the start of psychotic symptoms in those who might be prone to schizophrenia. There a part of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex (PFC) this is above the forehead, which has been implicated in schizophrenia. This part of the brain is involved in what is known as “executive functioning” which allows us to pay attention and use Read More...
Posted by Megan at 12:14 AM | Comments (3)

February 07, 2005

Blood Test for Schizophrenia Diagnosis

The science magazine "New Scientist" reported on February 5, 2005 on a new blood test being developed for the diagnosis of schizophrenia, as reported in a genetics journal (American Journal of Medical Genetics B , vol 133, p 1). It is still early, and this still needs to be validated in larger studies and by other groups, but the initial small sample was positive. The early results suggest a 95% to 97% accuracy level - which should help a great deal in early diagnosis and potential prevention of serious psychotic episodes. The story mentioned that: "A blood test that measures Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:10 PM | Comments (10)

February 05, 2005

Little Justice for Mentally Ill

Tragedies and violent crimes involving people who suffer with mental illness often get high-profile media attention, but for many, action from the legal system is the first real action that is ever taken in their cases. Due to publicity of violent cases, people with mental illness are seen as somehow more inherently violent or dangerous than the average person. However, examples such as the homicide committed by a mentally ill man in Alabama three weeks ago show that the danger is from the failure of legal and medical systems to intervene with treatment prior to a tragic breaking point. Such Read More...
Posted by Julia at 02:26 PM | Comments (1)

Poor Results from Secretin Trial

Phase II clinical trials with secretin show that the treatment had no more effect than placebo, despite hopeful results from phase I studies. Repligen, the biotechnology company that develops the treatment, reported that "moods and behavior of patients treated with the secretin during [phase II trial] was about the same as those who received a placebo." Phase I trials, carried out at the University of North Carolina, had initially reported transient symptom improvements in patients who recieved secretin treatment vs. those that did not. Source: "Repligen reports poor results for schizophrenia treatment", Feb 4 2005. The Boston Herald (http://www.bostonherald.com) Read More...
Posted by Julia at 02:17 PM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2005

Schizophrenia impact on Pregnancy

Women with Schizophrenia Have Increased Risk of Obstetric Complications A new journal article published in January's issue of "The American Journal of Psychiatry" suggests that women with schizophrenia or a major affective disorder have increased risks of pregnancy, birth and neonatal complications, according to a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry for January. "Research aiming at a better understanding of both the genetic and environmental reproductive risks could pave the way for the development of preventive programs ensuring optimal antenatal and postnatal care for these vulnerable groups," Dr. Assen V. Jablensky and colleagues at the University of Western Australia Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:49 PM | Comments (2)

Med Bills Cause 1/2 Bankrupcies

Half of Bankruptcies Due to Medical Bills, Harvard Study Says A report on Feb. 2 by Bloomburg on a new study by Harvard University indicates that Half of U.S. bankruptcy filers say that out-of-pocket medical expenses led to their financial hardship -- and most of the people had health insurance, according to a Harvard University study. The news story states that: "For the study, researchers surveyed 1,771 filers in five states, and as many as 54.5 percent cited medical expenses as a reason for filing. In addition, the study showed about a 30-fold increase in medical expense-related bankruptcies since 1981. Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

NAMI Oregon Pushes Parity

NAMI Oregon continues push for mental-health benefits It was reported today in the "Statesman Journal" newspaper that NAMI Oregon continues the fight against health insurance discrimination against people with brain diseases like schizophrenia. The newspaper noted that:    "Vincent Salvi got a chance Monday to experience a few of the sights and sounds of what his oldest son has gone through for almost five years.    But the machine in the Capitol galleria confirmed what Salvi already knew - that the brain disorder known as schizophrenia is not pleasant for the person with it or for his or her family.    Salvi, who Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:27 PM | Comments (1)

February 03, 2005

Homeless & Mentally Ill - Report

More Homeless Mentally Ill Than Expected According To UCSD Study: Interventions Urged The prevalence of homelessness in persons with serious mental illness is 15 percent, a higher percentage than suggested in previous studies, according to new research by investigators at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine. Published in the February 2005 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, the study noted that homelessness in this population might potentially be reduced or prevented with substance abuse treatment and help in obtaining public-funded health benefits (Medicaid, or MediCal in California). Because homeless mentally ill were more than twice Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:42 PM | Comments (0)

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