March 31, 2005

Schizophrenia Ups and Downs

The following is a great personal story of the ups and downs of schizophrenia. Special thanks to Douglas James Brown for permission to reprint the story here. Schizophrenia is a life of ups and downs By Douglas James Brown I have a disease known as schizophrenia. Individuals with this disorder vary in their presentation of symptoms. For me, there are days when everything is detailed, scary and frightening, and there are days of seeing things moving around in my apartment that are not really there. There are days where I weep because my life is one big roller-coaster. There are Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:32 PM | Comments (3)

March 29, 2005

Future Prospects of SZ Genetics

Another excellent article in Psychiatric Times - reviews the current tools for identifying the genes linked to schizophrenia, introduces the limitations of these techniques, and discusses implications and prospects for future directions in genetic studies. View the full article: Current Limitations and Future Prospects in Genetics Read More...
Posted by Julia at 03:54 AM | Comments (0)

SZ articles in Psychiatric Times

Two good articles are available online in the March issue of Psychiatric Times. Short summaries and links are included below: ---------------------------------------------------------------- First-Episode Schizophrenia: Research Perspectives and Clinical Implications By Matcheri S. Keshavan, M.D. Psychiatric Times March 2005 Vol. XXII Issue 3 Despite over a century of research, we only have a limited understanding of the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders. Early studies largely relied on postmortem examination of the brains of mostly older patients with chronic schizophrenia or brain scans in patients with established schizophrenia, many of whom were treated with medications. It was difficult, therefore, to tease Read More...
Posted by Julia at 03:48 AM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2005

Update on choline research

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
In our section on what mothers can do during pregnancy to minimize risk of mental illnesses in their children, we’ve previously discussed research on why pregnant women may benefit from supplementation with a nutrient called choline. Choline is a vitamin-like substance that is sometimes treated like B vitamins and folic acid in dietary recommendations and is found in eggs and some meats. Research with rats has repeatedly shown that babies born to mothers who eat more choline are smarter on memory testing (Click here and here for more information) suggesting that choline plays an important role in memory and brain Read More...
Posted by Farzin at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2005

Antipsychotics and Prolactin

Elevated prolactin and antipsychotics Antipsychotic medications are known to have many side effects including movement disorders, stiffness, obesity and diabetes. One side effect that has received intermittent attention over the years is the risk of elevated prolactin. Prolactin is a hormone produced in the brain that regulates milk production and breast growth in women and can also be related to growth hormone and other hormone regulation throughout the body. When prolactin is elevated, it can cause galactorrhea (abnormal milk production seen in women or men), amenorrhea (absence of a menstrual period), gynecomastia (abnormal breast growth in men), and can cause Read More...
Posted by Jacob at 12:44 AM | Comments (1)

March 24, 2005

Schizophrenia Bloggers

Here are some substantive stories from bloggers around the Internet, related to schizophrenia: Study Ties Loss of a Child to Mental Ills The death of a child not only alters a family forever but also sharply increases the risk that parents will later be hospitalized for a mental illness, researchers are reporting in the largest study to date of parent bereavement and mental health. The risk is greatest during the first year after the child's death but remains elevated even five years afterward, the researchers found, and includes higher rates of schizophrenia, depression and abuse of drugs and alcohol. The Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:35 PM | Comments (0)

Schizophrenia recovery interview

There is an excellent interview with Dr. Steven Marder of UCLA. Schizophrenia and Recovery: An Expert Interview With Stephen R. Marder, MD Interviewer: Randall F. White, MD Schizophrenia is one of the 10 most disabling conditions worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Can people with schizophrenia become fully functioning members of society? What is the most effective approach to fostering rehabilitation? On behalf of Medscape, Randall F. White, MD, interviewed Stephen R. Marder, MD, Professor and Director, Section on Psychosis, University of California at Los Angeles Neuropsychiatric Institute; and Director, Desert Pacific Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:29 PM | Comments (0)

Wine, Music and Schizophrenia

Wine, music and schizophrenia genes California wine country music festival will aid a Rutgers scientist's research Press Release - NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. – A California wine country music festival will aid a Rutgers scientist's research into schizophrenia, its causes and cures. Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disease that affects more than 2 million Americans and as many as 51 million people worldwide. Dr. Linda Brzustowicz, an associate professor of genetics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, a board certified psychiatrist and an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), was Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

Aripiprazole and EPS?

Aripiprazole (Abilify) and Extra-pyramidal symptoms (EPS) Aripiprazole (Abilify) is the newest drug in the class of atypical antipsychotics. It has a different mechanism than the other medications and for that reason there has been hope that it would have fewer problems with side effects. Extra-pyramidal symptoms are the typical side effects of antipsychotic medication that manifest as tremors, stiffness, shuffling gait, slow movements and/or severe restlessness (akathisia). Aripiprazole is called a "partial dopamine agonist" that means that it theoretically increases the amount of dopamine in areas where it is too low (and perhaps causing movement disorders and stiffness) and decreases Read More...
Posted by Jacob at 06:43 PM | Comments (17)

New Schizophrenia Meds

Early reports are good on Akzo Nobel's new schizophrenia and bipolar disorder drug called Asenapine, currently in Phase-III trials, (Phase III trials are the final stage of the FDA drug approval process, but there are no guarantees that the drug will pass this phase of trials, or that it will ultimately be sold to the public). Pharmacuetical company Solvay is also in final testing with its new drug -- Bifeprunox -- which is also in Phase-III testing. Another new drug in development and testing is ACP-104 by Acadia Pharmaceuticals (Phase II) Medical Benefit: ACP-104 aims to deal with hallucinations and Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:26 PM | Comments (4)

Gene profiling for Meds

It has been announced that Nanogen Inc., of San Diego, and Pathway Diagnostics Corp., of Los Angeles, entered a nonexclusive, worldwide license agreement under which Nanogen will develop diagnostic products that detect genetic variations associated with responses to antidepressant and antipsychotic therapeutics. The companies have begun work on development of a molecular diagnostic product that could be used to select the most appropriate drug and dosage for patients treated for psychiatric diseases. The goal for these types of tests is the ability to pre-test people so that doctors can determine which medication would be best, and what specific doses, would Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:13 PM | Comments (1)

Schizophrenia Genes and Cannabis

It was reported today by New Zealand researchers that a double dose of a faulty gene could be the connection between cannabis use and the development of schizophrenia, according to the New Scientist report. In the original New Zealand study used by researchers, people who had smoked cannabis on three occasions by the age of 15 had a 10 per cent chance of developing the condition by the age of 26. Dr Mary Cannon's research team recently re-analysed the data from from this study, adding another variable - genetic predisposition to schizophrenia. The gene they investigated, called COMT (catechol-O-methyl transferase), encodes Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 05:53 PM | Comments (0)

Marijuana as anti-antipsychotic?

Cannabis as an “anti-antipsychotic” The subject of marijuana (cannabis) and psychosis is one that is currently drawing a large amount of research effort. It is controversial the extent to which marijuana (or the active ingredient THC) has towards the onset of psychosis. Some argue that it has a causal effect in particular patients while others maintain that while it may hurt, certainly does not help, it does not have a profound causal relationship with schizophrenia or psychosis. This article attempts to take a more thorough look at the role of cannabis in patients who are admitted to a psychiatric intensive Read More...
Posted by Jacob at 04:31 PM | Comments (4)

March 23, 2005

TMS for hallucinations: update

TMS for Auditory Hallucinations: An update I have previously posted ( about trancranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for schizophrenia. For a brief explanation on TMS, please see that post. Some recent research has been published that I want to present as an update. Article 1: The first article, Lee et al., is a double-blind, sham-controlled study in which the authors took 39 patients with treatment refractory auditory hallucinations (AH) and performed TMS for 20 minutes daily for ten straight days. These patients were considered “refractory” because they had failed adequate trials with 2 different medications and in 2 different classes (i.e. Read More...
Posted by Jacob at 10:58 PM | Comments (2)

13% of schizophrenia from cannabis

A newspaper story today quotes a leading researcher in the area of cannabis and mental illness as saying that he believes about 13% of schizophrenia cases (in The Netherlands) have been caused by cannabis use. Dr. Pat McGorry, a top researcher on this topic in Australia (click for interview) has estimated that around 8% of cases of schizophrenia (in Australia) are linked to cannabis / marijuana use. The news story is based on a report in the British Medical Journal that showed those who used cannabis as a teenager had a 10 per cent chance of developing psychosis by the Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:42 PM | Comments (0)

Urban Living Increases Schizophrenia Risk

The risk of developing schizophrenia is up to three times higher in urban cities vs. rural areas says Ezra Susser, head of the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. While the city itself may not be a cause for concern, many known risk factors for schizophrenia are more often found in urban environments. For example, the risks of prenatal infections are increased in dense urban areas. Cities tend to be dirty, increasing the risk of prenatal exposure to lead and other pollutants. Residents of cities are also more likely to have decreased exposure to sunlight, Read More...
Posted by Julia at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

Police Internet Training Program

The Los Angeles Police Dept will train 9,100 officers with an internet program designed to help defuse, rather than escalate, situations involving mentally ill offenders. The training will include the common symptoms of mental illnesses, and how to cope with people who have them. Training police to deal more effectively with the mentally ill, who they deal with every day on the streets and in prisons, may be a growing, positive trend. The LAPD training program follows the footsteps of police departments in New York, Seattle, Memphis, and Portland. Special "mental health courts" are also part of this trend; now Read More...
Posted by Julia at 12:09 AM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2005

Canada TV - Schiz Success

Schizophrenia Society of Ontario Sends a Message of Hope & Recovery The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO) today announced the broadcast of TV Ontario's Person 2 Person with Paula Todd, featuring William (Bill) J. MacPhee, founder of Schizophrenia Digest and spokesperson for the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario. This inspirational program brings optimism to the 120,000 people in Ontario living with Schizophrenia.      "Schizophrenia is known as youth's greatest disabler because it usually hits between the ages of 16 and 28," said MacPhee, who was 24 years old at the time of his first psychotic episode or "split from reality". In Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:04 PM | Comments (1)

Birth complications & Schizophrenia?

Women with Schizophrenia Have Increased Risk of Obstetric Complications This study looks at the frequency of complications in pregnancy, labor and delivery that are sustained by people with schizophrenia and mood disorders. They also sought to survey the general newborn characteristics of infants born to mothers with severe mental illness and looked over a large population cohort (group) and collected data over the large sample. The subjects were 3000 babies born to mothers with mood disorders or schizophrenia in Western Australia and they were compared with a similar number of babies born to mothers without mental illness in the same Read More...
Posted by Jacob at 01:04 AM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2005

Heart transplant success story

Heart transplant in a young man with schizophrenia. Le Melle SM, Entelis C. Am J Psychiatry. 2005 Mar;162(3):453-7. The outcome of heart transplants in patients with schizophrenia is unknown, mainly because having a diagnosis of schizophrenia is an automatic exclusion criterion for heart transplant in most transplant programs worldwide. Here a case is presented of a young man with schizophrenia who was initially denied a heart transplant because of assumptions about his psychiatric vulnerability, his ability to communicate, and his likelihood of complying with complex posttransplant treatment. The authors claim that there was little objective information to support these assumptions, Read More...
Posted by Farzin at 05:05 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2005

Protein markers in schizophrenia

Discovery of biomarkers in human urine and cerebrospinal fluid by capillary electrophoresis coupled to mass spectrometry: Towards new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. Wittke S, Mischak H, Walden M, Kolch W, Radler T, Wiedemann K. Mass spectrometry (MS) has become an important tool to help researchers discover biomarkers in diseases. Biomarkers are molecules that can be used to diagnose and classify diseases. This technique, MS, helps in identifying proteins (which are in naturally found in cells in the body) with unprecedented speed and sensitivity using either tissues or body fluids such as urine, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The researchers here Read More...
Posted by Farzin at 04:54 PM | Comments (3)

Climbing Everest w/schizophrenia

A very inspirational story was written in the BBC News this week on a man who trekked to Everest base camp. "Stuart Baker Brown trekked to Everest Base Camp to draw attention to the positive achievements of people with mental illness. He recently opened an exhibition of his photographs in Dorset. "I find it hard to see myself as an artist, rather than as someone who just has schizophrenia," Mr Baker Brown told the BBC News website. "I was told I would probably never work again - that my whole life would just be battling with my illness." See the Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:33 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2005

Schizophrenia Gene - D2 receptor

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
It was reported from Australia today that a team there has identified what they are calling "a major new gene" associated with schizophrenia. An Associate professor Phillip Morris, from Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation was quoted as saying "The gene that we have been studying is a type of dopamine receptor gene. One version of this gene results in an overabundance of a specific type of brain receptor, called the D2 dopamine receptor," he said. "This overabundance has previously been identified as an important underlying feature of schizophrenia." The researchers suggested that men and women Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:01 AM | Comments (0)

Early Schizophrenia Diagnosis Important for Best Outcomes

Brain Imaging Study May Hold Clues to Onset of Schizophrenia in People at High Risk Source: Press Release from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine Images of brain activity may hold clues to the onset of schizophrenia in people at high risk for the disease, according to a study headed by psychiatry researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. The new findings appear in the March issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, a journal of the American Medical Association. A decline in function in the prefrontal cortex, the "executive" Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:47 AM | Comments (1)

March 15, 2005

Schizophrenia Genetic Counseling

We have just added a good document that covers the state of the art in terms of genetic counseling for schizophrenia. This could be valuable in families where one or more people have had a history of psychiatric illness such as schizophrenia - and the family wants to know the precise risk for other individuals or for planned children. The document was written by a PHD student studying genetic counseling at Sarah Lawrence College. If you're interested in this issue, I encourage you to review the document. Genetic Counseling and Schizophrenia Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2005

Child abuse and schizophrenia?

Abuse as predictor for schizophrenia? (Note we have a new article on this topic here: Schizophrenia usually caused by child abuse? Not likely. (June, 2006) The following series of reviews concern articles written about the relationship between child trauma, mainly sexual or violent abuse, and subsequent psychiatric illness. Certainly, child abuse is a rampant problem and one that has lasting consequences upon its victims. However, it is unclear precisely what risks are conferred upon those with violent childhoods. I did a brief review of the literature for articles that were about the risk of psychotic illness and schizophrenia in people Read More...
Posted by Jacob at 04:00 PM | Comments (1)

March 11, 2005

My Brother the Homeless Person

There is an excellent editorial on one man's brother who is homeless with schizophrenia: "The calls come at all hours of the day and night. Most often collect, but not always. Sometimes there's a prim, somewhat disapproving, message which lets me know the call is collect and coming from a jail. I never know what to expect when I pick up the phone. The calm voice of a middle-aged man? His alter ego, the conspiracy theorist? Or the alcoholic who will say anything for a chance to calm his demons? My brother, my only sibling, is homeless and schizophrenic in Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:13 PM | Comments (3)

March 10, 2005

Suicide in schizophrenia

The lifetime risk of suicide in schizophrenia: a reexamination. Palmer BA, Pankratz VS, Bostwick JM. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005 Mar;62(3):247-53. In 1977, Miles conducted a major meta-analysis (ie. which looks at results from many published studies) where he reviewed 34 studies looking at people with schizophrenia. This original study found an estimated 10% lifetime risk of suicide. The authors in the current study thought that this might be an overestimation of suicide risk and wanted to conduct another meta-analysis including more factors. They were interested in issues such as the difference between proportionate mortality (PM) which is the percentage the Read More...
Posted by Farzin at 03:34 AM | Comments (0)

Schizophrenia in Turkey

   The 3rd Schizophrenia Days meeting, organized by the Istanbul Schizophrenia Association, was held on March 26-27 at Istanbul's Harbiye Military Museum.    Among scheduled activities were discussions of the stigma and discrimination that affect patients with schizophrenia and their families along with the problem of unemployment.    World Psychiatric Association (WPA) Global Anti-Stigma program director Professor Norman Sartorius made a speech on the issue and two documentary films shot by schizophrenia associations will be shown. Source: Turkish Daily News Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:24 AM | Comments (0)

Early Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Norman RM, Scholten DJ, Malla AK, Ballageer T. Early signs in schizophrenia spectrum disorders. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2005 Jan;193(1):17-23. This study focuses on early signs of schizophrenia. It is known that generally people who experience dramatic symptoms of schizophrenia, such as delusions and hallucinations, generally have a period of time before the illness in which they suffer from disturbances of their thinking and other problems. Most commonly they are seen to have decreased motivation, decreased concentration, sleep changes, behavioral changes, loss of functional ability in work/school, social withdrawal, problems with anger, anxiety, and lower energy. It can be difficult Read More...
Posted by Jacob at 01:51 AM | Comments (1)

March 09, 2005

The Role of Poverty in Mental Illness

Although many studies have documented a positive correlation between poverty and the prevalence of mental illness, the causal order is still unclear. Is poverty caused by, or a cause of, mental illnesses? A recent study of 34,000 patients, analyzed by diagnosis and zipcode (to assess affluence), favors poverty as a causal factor of mental illness, rather than a result. The study followed patients over a 6 year period, and documented "little downward drift" from more to less affluent zipcode areas. There are certainly a few flaws that may confound this finding. For example, zipcodes are not a surefire way to Read More...
Posted by Julia at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)

ER Underdiagoses Psych Disorders

A new study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (published by the American Psychological Association) reports that the rate of documented, diagnosed psychiatric disorders in emergency rooms (data based on three major emergency departments in the Midwest and South) is far below that of the national prevalence rate. While 20-28% of Americans are expected to have a diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder, only 5.27% were documented in the emergency departments studied. A specific breakdown of diagnosed vs. expected diagnosis rates for various conditions includes: -schizophrenia= 1.30% versus 0.32% -mood disorders= 4% (national rate) versus 0.70% (emergency department rate) Read More...
Posted by Julia at 03:38 PM | Comments (0)

Schizophrenia Blogging Review

I've been checking on different people's blogs that touch upon the issue of schizophrenia. Here are some of the ones I think you may find interesting: What makes me feel good now? - research project - a nice, short blog entry by a neuro-cognitive psychology student who is looking forward to doing research on schizophrenia, and working with people who have schizophrenia. Its great to find people like this in the world. Nothing you can do - this is a blog entry by a woman who's best friend from childhood develops schizophrenia. She talks about the challenges she has with Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:36 AM | Comments (0)

Sound Test for Schizophrenia

A recently published article in the Archives of General Psychiatry suggests that sound tests may be helpful in diagnosing people who may have schizophrenia. Schizophrenia can affect thought processes by reducing people's attention span, speed of thought, memory and decision-making abilities. Psychological tests are fairly accurate at diagnosing schizophrenia but schizophrenics often find it difficult to complete the tests because of the problems outlined above. A new test, based on sound, could help with diagnosis. Researchers found that when people were played a series of sounds with odd sounds (either different in rhythym or pitch) inserted at intervals schizophrenics were Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:02 AM | Comments (0)

Schizophrenia in Computer Game

I've just read in the Wonderland blog that the experience of schizophrenia has been integrated into a internet-based multi-player roll-playing game, for educational effect. Cory Ondrejka, VP of Product Development for Linden Labs (the producer of the game - called "Second Life") is quoted by the blogger as saying: ...the game includes "Virtual Hallucinations. Done by a medical doctor who built a place that looks sort of like a hospital. It plays voices from interviews with schizophrenics as you move around the environment. It recreates hallucinations similar to those experienced by schizophrenics: voices from objects, objects that don’t actually exist. Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 05:42 AM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2005

Iowa Mental Health Insurance Parity

Health insurance coverage for brain disorders appears to be inching forward in Iowa. The Iowa State House has moved forward with a plan that would require some employers that provide health insurance to their employees to offer coverage that pays for mental health treatment. The Quad-City Times newspaper noted "Supporters portrayed the bill as a compromise that would be less expensive than the type of complete mental health coverage some had wanted. The bill cleared the House on a 74-24 vote last week. Mental health advocates and some Democrats complained that the measure did not go far enough, but said Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:44 PM | Comments (0)

Mentally Ill and Death Penalty

Recent news out of Washington, DC this week suggests that there may, in the near future, be more humane treatment of mentally ill who have committed serious crimes. This would put the US legal system more in line with other western countries in Europe, Canada, Japan, etc. - where severely mentally ill people who commit serious crimes are typically put into long term psychiatric care hospitals for treatment. Last week the US Supreme court ruled to ban executions of teen killers. This ruling has given defense lawyers and others hope that the top court will next spare death row inmates Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:36 PM | Comments (0)

Dr. Watson on Schizophrenia and Genetics

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
Harvard's Crimson newspaper today covered a genetics talk by Dr. James Watson - the co-discoverer of the double-helix architecture of DNA (and Nobel prize-winner because of this discovery). Dr. Watson, the story notes, has a son who has schizophrenia. Given Dr. Watson's exalted position in genetics research it would seem that he would be a good person to work with (for national advocacy groups like NAMI and Canada's schizophrenia society) in working towards genetic testing and genetic therapies for schizophrenia and other serious brain diseases, as well as prevention of insurance discrimination against the mentally ill and their families. The Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:01 PM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2005

Interview: Dr. Pat McGorry

There is a good interview with one of the leading researchers in early diagnosis and prevention of schizophrenia (and related disorders like bipolar disorder) from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Some brief quotes from the interview: "early diagnosis … is a much more effective and cost-effective way to treat people. That’s well established in cancer, heart disease, diabetes, anywhere else. It’s been a difficult struggle to get that accepted in psychiatry, but now there there’s increasing evidence - particularly for psychotic disorders, but also for other kinds of ah potentially severe mental illnesses - that the same principle applies" "psychosis is Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 04:52 PM | Comments (1)

Movie: Out of the Shadow

is a good story this week by a North Jersey newspaper on Susan Smiley's experience with her mother's schizophrenia. If you want to learn more about a representative experience I recomment you read the story - and perhaps learn more about the movie. I saw Susan Smiley's presentation at the NAMI conference in September, 2004 and highly recommend NAMI affiliates and Schizophrenia Society groups, as well as high schools and universities consider showing it at their meetings. Capturing an illness's frustrations Tuesday, March 1, 2005 By TOM DAVIS Up and down. Up and down. For years, that's how things went Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:56 AM | Comments (19)

March 04, 2005

Parity in Wash. State

Slowly, but (I hope) surely, the persistence of advocates for the mentally ill is forcing America's treatment of brain diseases and disorders to come out of the dark ages. The battle is far from over - but at least things seem to be moving in the right direction. Today it was announced that Washington State has approved a bill that demands equal treatment of mental and phsysical illnesses. Unfortunately the bill doesn't take effect until the year 2010. The Seattle Times reported "Convinced that an illness of the mind is as important as one of the lungs or heart, the Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:29 PM | Comments (0)

American Mental Health

There is a good story in this week's "Economist" magazine out of the UK (unfortunately you need to be a subscriber to view the article) that is titled "The Mental Health of Americans". In the article it states that while every generation believes that their life is more stressed out than the previous gneration, in fact an increasing percent of Americans are looking for professional help for mental problems, and they are doing it at an earlier age. "One study, conducted among students at a large mid-western university between 1988 and 2001, showed a dramatic increase in mental-health problems reported Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:33 PM | Comments (0)

Researcher Interviews, TV, etc.

Following is another interview and an upcoming TV program (in Australia on Monday, March 8th) on the issue of Cannabis (Marijuana) and Schizophrenia. This week there has been a flood of news on this topic in the International media - strangely I never see anything on the issue in the American popular press. The more I read the international news services (BBC, etc.) the more I realize how bad the regular news services are in the USA. Here is an important issue -- schizophrenia impacts millions of people in the US and costs over $30 billion a year in health Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 04:37 AM | Comments (0)

Hollywood and Mental Illness

Following is a good article about the persistant problem of Hollywood and other media almost completely ignoring modern science as they develop their movies and books. While not specifically about schizophrenia, it is a good overview of the important problems with Hollywood when it comes to mental illness. (Special Thanks to "learning" for letting us know about this story). Time for Hollywood to Ground Freud ‘It’s all Mom’s fault’ makes great scripts but scorns brain science and families struggling with mental illness. The opening scene of Martin Scorsese’s award winning biopic The Aviator shows us young Howard Hughes being sensuously Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:36 AM | Comments (0)

Cannabis & Schizophrenia Interview

Following is a very good, recent interview with an Australian psychiatrist Dr. Andrew Campbell on what he is seeing as the impact of cannabis as it relates to schizophrenia and other psychiatric issues. At we're not on any type of crusade against cannabis - we're just finding that there is a lot of recent news and research on the subject recently and the news is not good. (Special thanks to Moeder for pointing us towards this interview) Some brief quotes from the interview: "What I’m seeing now is a vastly greater number of young people smoking cannabis and you Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:03 AM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2005

Study: Brain out of Sync

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
A new research study out of Sydney University, Australia suggests that the neural networks of people with schizophrenia function like members of an orchestra playing out of time.    The AAP Information Services report stated that "In their research they used an electroencephalogram (EEG) to examine the brain function of 40 people recently diagnosed with schizophrenia aged between 13 and 25 and compared them with a healthy control group.    The scientists from Australia's Brain Dynamics Centre looked at the synchronisation of rapidly-firing cells - a process known as gamma synchrony - as the subjects performed a task."    The report suggested that Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 05:40 PM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2005

Schiz. Sibling Study - Join in!

Kimiko Tanaka is a volunteer at this site who is working on her PHD thesis on the sibling coping issues faced by brothers and sisters of people with schizophrenia. As part of her thesis she needs our assistance in filling out an anonymous survey form on the issues we have faced and how we have coped. If you have a brother or sister who has schizophrenia - please participate in this anonymous survey. The results will help her, and other, understand the issues that we face and ultimately to improve the services that are offered to families. A summary of Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)

MIT prize for Dr. Rapoport

It was announced in a press release by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that the McGovern Institute is to Present the 2005 Edward M. Scolnick Prize in Neuroscience to Dr. Judith Rapoport the well known researcher focused on childhood psychiatric disease, including childhood-onset schizophrenia. As part of the day's activities, Dr. Rapoport will present a public lecture on the MIT Campus from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. pm April 14th. The lecture will be hosted by the McGovern Institute and is free and open to the public.    Dr. Rapoport was selected to receive the 2005 Edward M. Scolnick Prize for her Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:38 PM | Comments (0)

Nose Cells Provide Disease Insight

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
Because psychiatric diseases predominantly affect cellular function in the brain, it can be hard to get a clear picture of exactly what is being affected at the molecular level. However, olfactory (nose) neurons connect directly to the brain, and thus share many features with other brain cells. These cells are easy to sample using a 5-minute biopsy procedure, and may provide valuable information concerning what is happening inside the brain. For example, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and collaborating institutions recently reported altered olfactory cell function in patients with bipolar disorder. Using flourescence imaging, the scientists tested calcium response Read More...
Posted by Julia at 03:14 PM | Comments (0)

Hypofrontality as early Schizophrenia marker

A new study in the British Journal of Psychiatry has identified hypofrontality (lower metabolic activity in the frontal regions of the brain during an attention task) as a possible early marker of schizophrenia. The authors suggest that identifying hypofrontality with an MRI scan following a first-break episode may be a way to separate people who will likely develop schizophrenia from people who have experienced a psychotic episode for another reason. The sample size was small (13 subjects) and limited to all males. All subjects were given an MRI scan during an attention task (to activate the frontal brain regions) during Read More...
Posted by Julia at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2005

Schizophrenia Meds in Development

It was reported this week that two new drugs for treatment of schizophrenia are in early stage testing - a positive development that offers hope for better treatments in the future. Galenea Corp. of Cambridge, Mass. is developing new drugs that are targeting the calcineurin pathway for the potential treatment of schizophrenia. Galenea's research effort is based on data from Rockefeller University (USA) providing behavioral and genetic evidence for the role of calcineurin dysfunction in the development of schizophrenia. The company is utliizing mice that have been genetically modified to develop schizophrenia-like symptoms (mice don't get schizophrenia naturally so scientists Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:17 PM | Comments (0)

Preventing Schizophrenia

Last week we featured an editorial that highlighted the need for many more early intervention and preventative actions for mental illness - as it is now possible to identify, via tests, schizophrenia several years before the outward symptoms are obvious to everyone. Today's Boston Globe has an excellent article on the under utilized approach of "prevention" for mental illness. Following is a brief excerpt from a long article - the full story is linked below. Doctors see need for prevention in mental illness Cancer treatment is more effective when the disease is caught early. Ditto for heart disease that's treated Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 04:08 PM | Comments (2)

Marijuana Doubles Risk of Schizophrenia

The BBC News reported today on a new research study out of New Zealand that highlights the greatly increased risk of mental illness associated with Marijuana use. "Smoking cannabis virtually doubles the risk of developing mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, researchers say. The New Zealand scientists said their study suggested this was probably due to chemical changes in the brain which resulted from smoking the drug. The study, published in the journal Addiction, followed over 1,000 people born in 1977 for 25 years." The researchers stated that "The weight of the evidence clearly suggests that the use of cannabis may Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 04:41 AM | Comments (8)

$20 Million for Research

Last week it was announced by the University of British Columbia (Canada) that an anonymous donor has given the University $10 million to kick-start a new $20-million Institute of Mental Health. The donation, along with a $10-million matching donation from the provincial government, will make UBC a world leader in the prevention and treatment of mental illness, UBC president Martha Piper said in a prepared statement. Mental health has for too long been the "orphan" of Canada's health-care system, even though depression ranks only second to heart disease as a leading cause of disability, Piper told a news conference. “The Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 04:20 AM | Comments (1)

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