June 30, 2005

Actor, Genetics, Environment, & Schizophrenia

Experts, actor clash on cause of mental ills Recently, we discussed some of the comments the actor Tom Cruise made about brain disorders (our past story). Initially, members of Congress took issue with Cruise's commentary. Now, experts are commenting on Cruise's comments as well as discussing what changes lead to brain disorders: Cruise's religious beliefs -- the actor is a Scientologist -- clash with the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence on the matter of mental illness, neuroscientists say."It's safe to say that we know that metabolic changes in the brain are present for all major mental illnesses," Conway said (Dr. Read More...
Posted by Laura at 07:32 PM | Comments (0)

Organon & New Antipsychotic

Organon achieves milestone in asenapine development In the past, we've reported on the development of Asenapine: a drug which is supposed to treat psychotic and mood disorders. Recently, it seems that Organon ( Akzo Nobel ), the company responsible for asenapine "has achieved a development milestone for (the drug)..." This "milestone has resulted in a retroactive change in the division of full Phase III development costs, with the co-collaborator, Pfizer , increasing its (asenapine's) share; the agreed future revenue sharing will remain in place. The milestone, which relates to satisfactory results in the companies' clinical trial programme and the achievement Read More...
Posted by Laura at 05:48 PM | Comments (2)

Pomegranate Juice Lower Schiz Risk?

This recent report out of Washington University School of Medicine seems to suggest that pregnant mothers (with a family link to schizophrenia) might lower the risk of their children getting schizophrenia by drinking pomegranate juice during pregnancy. Given that low oxygen levels (for babies during pregnancy) have been linked to later onset of schizophrenia - it seems like a wise precautionary measure. Pomegranate juice reduces risk of brain injuries in babies, May reduce risk of later schizophrenia Expectant mothers at risk of premature birth may want to consider drinking pomegranate juice to help their babies resist brain injuries from low Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:20 PM | Comments (3)

Compeer Buddies Help Recovery

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping
We've heard good things about Compeer programs to help support the mentally ill. A recent story demonstrates how they are helping people: Compeer buddies boost morale on path to recovery Ed Schlaifer and Bruce Weill sit on a sofa in a Havertown coffee shop, sipping their drinks while smooth jazz flows from speakers above their heads. This social time is big part of Schlaifer's week and has been since last year. That's when the Lansdowne man, who is recovering from schizophrenia, met Weill through Compeer of Suburban Philadelphia. The program matches people recovering from mental illness with volunteers for conversation, Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:50 PM | Comments (3)

Progress in Cognitive Drug Testing

In a marketing/press release, the biopharma company called Targacept, has announced long-lasting results of its new drug under development for treatment of cognitive disorders (such as are common in schizophrenia). Folowing are some quotes from the company's marketing/press announcement: Targacept compounds show long-lasting improvement in cognition Winston-Salem, NC, June 30, 2005 – In a review of research to be published in the July issue of Trends In Pharmacological Sciences, Targacept compounds were reported to have a beneficial effect on cognition well after they were no longer present in the central nervous system. For example, in preclinical animal studies, Targacept's compounds Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:48 PM | Comments (1)

Laureate Lecture on Molecule Important to SZ

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
Special Report from Schizophrenia.com: In April 2005, Nobel Laureate Dr. Paul Greengard gave a lecture at Emory University regarding his work on a certain brain molecule called DARPP-32. Called a 'master molecule' by some in scientific literature, DARPP-32 is affected profoundly by many of the neurotransmitters (most notably, dopamine and glutamate) that are implicated in schizophrenia symptoms. Moreover, Greengard's laboratory has shown that mutant mice who lack this brain molecule do not show the same schizophrenia-like behavioral effects to psychotropic compounds such as LSD or PCP. This work suggests that DARPP-32 may be an important therapeutic target in the future, Read More...
Posted by Julia at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

Equal Efficacy of Three Meds?

In one of the first studies of its kind, researchers from the University of North Carolina (in conjunction with AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical company). report preliminary results from a comparison of three atypical antipsychotic drugs (quetiapine, olanzapine, risperidone) taken by first-episode psychosis patients. The study lasted 52 weeks, and involved patients at 26 U.S. sites. The results? In terms of rate of discontinuation, efficacy outcome (measured by symptom rating scales), and side effects, all three drugs were rated equally. The most common side effects reported for all the medications were sleepiness and weight gain. Although this is interesting for consumers, it Read More...
Posted by Julia at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2005

Neglect of Physical Health & Schizophrenia

PHYSICAL HEALTH OF (PSYCHIATRICALLY DISABLED) 'NEGLECTED' When a person is diagnosed with a brain disorder, often, their physical health is overlooked. This can have severe negative consequences: A new report discusses the increased risk of death associated with brain disorders. It seems that people suffering from brain disorders "are three times more likely to die early than the general population..." The report claims that a major contributor of this shortened life span is the "neglect of physical health" among people suffering from brain disorders. Shockingly, this neglect has shortened the life expectancy of the psychiatrically disabled by 15 years. The Read More...
Posted by Laura at 04:16 PM | Comments (1)

Housing, Community Involvement, & Schizophrenia

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping
'My presence wasn't always welcome' Lilith Finkler, is a Dalhousie University planner, who was recently given the "prestigious Trudeau Foundation Award to fund her doctoral research into opposition to group homes for people with mental illness." At the age of 17, Finkler was diagnosed with schizophrenia. And as a result, she spent time in two different psychiatric facilities. Finkler thinks that there's a misconception about the psychiatrically disabled population. For example, she states that, "there's an assumption that people with psychiatric disabilities are more violent than other people...But that (this has) never actually been proven in any sort of study...In Read More...
Posted by Laura at 01:45 PM | Comments (3)

Tom Cruise and Psychiatry

Though many celebrities can use their popularity for good, the reverse is also true. Recently, the actor Tom Cruise "called psychiatry 'a pseudoscience' and dismissed the effectiveness of antidepressants." It's unfortunate that such comments were made because they have the potential of adding to stigma associated with brain disorders. In addition to these comments, Cruise suggested "that attitude adjustment alone can overcome (brain disorders)." These comments have attracted the attention of Congress and now some representatives are speaking out against what Cruise said: Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), a psychologist and...co-chair of the caucus, took issue with Cruise’s apparent belief that Read More...
Posted by Laura at 11:05 AM | Comments (5)

Overdiagnosis among Minorities

A study of one of the nation's largest databases of psychiatric cases reveals that cultural factors may be contributing to a much higher rate of psychiatric diagnoses among ethnic minorities. For example, scientist John Zeber found that blacks in the United States were more than four times as likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, and Hispanics were more than three times as likely, despite the fact that schizophrenia appears to affect all ethnic groupos at the same rate. Zeber reports that his findings could not be explained by differences in wealth, drug addiction, or tendency to seek treatment at different Read More...
Posted by Julia at 09:09 AM | Comments (0)

Physical Health Needs Attention

According to the BBC, "experts believe poor physical care contributes towards a three times higher rate of premature death among those with severe mental problems." Specific statistics estimate that those with severe mental illness have five times the risk of diabetes, and twice the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory disease, when compared to the general population A lack of care for physical health, often manifest in lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, and hygiene, puts this group at higher risk for disease and illness. A proposed solution is a "holistic approach" to treatment plans of those with illnesses such as Read More...
Posted by Julia at 08:22 AM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2005

Genetic Counselling Survey

A graduate student has asked us to support her survey into attitudes and opinions on genetic counselling. It looks like a good survey, and we'll try to publish the results after it is completed. We encourage you to participate: Schizophrenia Genetic Counselling Survey A survey of people with schizophrenia and their relatives Do you have a blood relative with schizophrenia? (such as sibling, cousin, parent etc) Would you like to participate in a survey looking at your opinions about genetic counseling? If you are over 18 years old and are interested in participating in this research, please visit: Genetic Couseling Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 04:09 PM | Comments (0)

Hype in Medical Reporting

We sometimes get as caught up in the excitement as any of our readers in the positive reports that relate to the development of new treatments or therapies for schizophrenia. Its natural to get excited about new developments that could provide benefits to millions of people. But while the benefits of new developments are important - its also important to work to identify potential problems so that a balanced report is made. Its difficult for us to do that (due to limited staffing and time constraints), but we'll continue to work to improve our own efforts in this area. What Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:15 PM | Comments (1)

June 27, 2005

Social Ties Vital for Recovery

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping
Although medication treatments for schizophrenia have taken huge leaps within the last decade, information from the World Health Organization (see http://www.who.int/mental_health/evidence/en/ for more information) reminds us that medication is far from the only thing needed for a complete recovery. According to the three-decade long study from WHO, people who have schizophrenia in developing countries (such as India, Nigeria, and Colombia) tend to do better in the long term than people in developed nations. For example, patients in developing countries tended to spend fewer days in the hospital, were more likely to hold jobs and be involved in social communities, and Read More...
Posted by Julia at 07:36 AM | Comments (3)

June 26, 2005

Adolescents, Cannabis, & Psychosis

Cannabis Is A Psychosis Time Bomb We've covered the topic of cannabis (marijuana) and its relation to psychosis many times in the past. "Medical research has long confirmed that cannabis, the most widely used illicit drug in the world, is not as safe as occasional users believe." However, recently, psychiatrists have discovered that the age at which people begin smoking the drug plays a crucial role in the development of psychosis: In 2002 a large scale study of more than 50,000 men conscripted into the Swedish army between 1969 and 1970 suggested that those who had used cannabis more than Read More...
Posted by Laura at 05:03 PM | Comments (6)

Meds Improve Cognitive Functioning?

SCHIZOPHRENIA; Seroquel and risperidone improve cognitive function Recently, results from a new study conducted by AstraZeneca, show that Seroquel and risperidone are effective "in improving cognitive function, such as memory and attention, in patients with schizophrenia." Though, this is good news, there are certain things to be a cautious of when considering these results. We would keep the study in mind, but wait until the study been repeated, by truly independent researchers before we consider it too strongly. Companies in all fields, including the pharmaceutical industry, have a strong tendancy to publish only positive results related to their products, and Read More...
Posted by Laura at 04:07 PM | Comments (0)

Rhode Island, Nonprofits, & Brain Disorders

It's the job that makes the difference Few employers understand the difficulty associated with working with a brain disorder. However, places like The Cookie Place and A New Leaf Florist are different. "They are the two nonprofit businesses in Rhode Island that employ people with mental (disorders)." Unfortunately, the state has decided to stop financing these businesses: There was no real warning that the small piece of the state budget earmarked for The Cookie Place and A New Leaf would be cut. In fact, William Monahan, executive director of The Cookie Place, said that just four months ago, the Department Read More...
Posted by Laura at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

NIMH Outreach Program

This program from the NIMH (the USA's National Institute of Mental Health) looks like it could be of value to groups looking to help the mentally ill and people with substance abuse challenges. Apply now with a letter of intent because the due date is July 5th (this week), 2005. Thanks to Doe for finding this program. NIMH Outreach Partnership Program Seeks Proposals NIMH invites proposals for outreach partners from organizations with statewide outreach that focus on mental health or substance abuse disorders from the District of Columbia and the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:29 AM | Comments (1)

June 25, 2005

Smoking, Attention, & Memory in Schizophrenia

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
YALE UNIVERSITY: Nicotine helps schizophrenics with attention and memory In the past, we've covered the topic of schizophrenia and nicotine: See Schizophrenia and Nicotine Study and A Surprising Twist, Nicotine as Treatment. A new study which also investigates this topic and which was "funded by grants from from The National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression" suggests that nicotine may help improve "attention and short-term memory" in people suffering from schizophrenia. The researchers involved with the study claim that "people with schizophrenia smoke two to three times more than smokers without (brain Read More...
Posted by Laura at 03:26 PM | Comments (0)

Schizophrenia Genetics, Imprinting

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
The Wall Street Journal columnist Sharon Begley had a good article this week on how imprinted genes seem to be the key to some diseases (including, potentially, schizophrenia), and offer paths to possible cures. Begley notes, in the article "that whether a child's traits are shaped by mom's genes or dad's genes isn't a simple matter of recessiveness or dominance, let alone of pure luck, as the textbook wisdom says. Instead, some genes come with molecular tags saying (in biochemical-ese), "I come from mom; ignore me," or "You got me from dad; pretend I'm not here." Such genes are called Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:50 PM | Comments (0)

License Holds Promise For Schizophrenia?

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
INTRA-CELLULAR THERAPIES, INC.; Company receives license for central nervous system compounds Intra-Cellular Therapies, Inc., (ITI) a privately held biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development of new therapeutics for neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, announced that it has been granted an exclusive, worldwide license to a family of pre-clinical compounds from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. This license will "provide ITI with a portfolio of compounds." This means that ITI may soon have new treatments that are useful for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and even obsessive-compulisve disorder. "The compounds complement our internal pipeline of small molecule therapeutics developed using ITI's drug discovery platform," said Sharon Read More...
Posted by Laura at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

NIH funds Schiz. Drug Research

GOVERNMENT OFFERS FUNDS FOR NEW SCHIZOPHRENIA DRUG RESEARCH This is a very interesting and positive development - the NIH is starting to fund smaller companies for development of new therapies for schizophrenia. This is great news, as we've mentioned before, there are a lot of good drug targets and ideas that are developed in university labs, but are still too far from development for large pharma and venture capital firms to be interested in investing. Typically less than 1% of new discoveries that look like they might be good candidates for drug therapies ever actually make it to market, so Read More...
Posted by Laura at 02:38 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2005

Healthcare Spending in America

The Economist magazine had an interesting article last week on healthcare around the world. The Economist stated: In 2003, America spent $5,635 per person on health care, more than twice the average in rich economies, according to a new OECD report. Britain spent only $2,231 per person. Health spending accounted for 15% of America's GDP. Germany, France, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland also spent over 10% of GDP on health. America is the only country where more than half of all health spending is within the private sector. Given that in most countries there is much better insurance/coverage of serious mental Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2005

Art Therapy Helps?

Disabled share their experiences through art Art therapy is a form of therapy that isn't researched often. Its goal "is not to produce beautiful art, but to help people communicate their thoughts and emotions, create a sense of accomplishment and foster problem-solving skills. Often, participants explore, with their therapists, what their creations mean to them." Though research is limited, "studies with children traumatized by illness and with adult cancer survivors suggest that art therapy is beneficial, said Dr. Nancy Gerber, director of graduate art therapy education at Drexel University's Hahnemann Creative Arts in Therapy program." Though psychiatrists have been studying Read More...
Posted by Laura at 08:32 PM | Comments (5)

Initiatives Provide Treatment?

Mentally ill get prison, not couch; Number behind bars up 60% in N.J. Recently, we covered a story that discussed the need for law enforcers to be educated about brain disorders: Police Officers Education on Brain Disorders? A new story connected to this past story discusses the high numbers of people suffering from mental disorders in prison along with a possible solution to this problem. Violet Popadich's 42-year-old son, labeled "Midtown Madman" by the tabloids will probably spend the rest of his life in jail for killing two people. And though what Ronald did was awful, we must consider why Read More...
Posted by Laura at 07:47 PM | Comments (0)

My Son and Cannabis

There is a good story in this morning's BBC News site on one man's story of his son's development of schizophrenia, believed to have been brought on by cannabis use: My son and cannabis "In 1999 Terry Hammond's son, Steve, developed schizophrenia. Terry believes that Steve's condition was brought on by his cannabis use. Panorama interviewed him as part of "Cannabis: what every teenager should know" which explores the issues surrounding the drug and its role in the often complicated and confusing issue of the development of mental illness. Terry has worked for rethink the largest severe mental illness charity Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 05:22 PM | Comments (7)

New Gene Sheds Light on Brain

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING; Scientists find gene that expresses differently in left, right cerebral cortex Researchers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, have discovered a gene called LM04 which they say "is expressed differently in the cerebral cortex - "the outer layer of the brain, consisting of nerve cells and the pathways that connect them" - in the left brain, compared to the right brain..." This discovery may have many implications. Scientists are suggesting that it may help them "understand how in most people one side of the brain achieves dominance over the other." But, the most Read More...
Posted by Laura at 03:37 PM | Comments (0)

Police Education on Brain Disorders?

A tragic shooting Our position: Police need more training in dealing with violent mentally ill suspects. In Florida, a man suffering from schizophrenia was shot and killed. Though this news is upsetting, suggestions have been made on how to prevent this from happening again in the future. The shooting took place because none of the police officers who were called to deal with the situation: "the man burst out of a room waving a knife," had received any training in dealing with suspects suffering from mental disorders. Based on preliminary reports, it appears that the deputies at the scene did Read More...
Posted by Laura at 04:50 AM | Comments (3)

Risperdal Increases Tumor Risk?

J&J's Risperdal Linked to Increased Tumour Risk Though we've already covered Johnson & Johnson's development of new antipsychotics to some extent, recently some new studies concerning the effects of their antipsychotic Risperdal have been made public. These "preliminary studies," conducted "by the US FDA(,)... suggest() that...Johnson & Johnson's (J&J) anti-psychotic treatment Risperdal (risperidone) is linked to a higher prevalence of benign tumours (tumours or lumps that do not spread to other parts of the body) in the pituitary gland - master endocrine gland (secrete hormones into bloodstream) that other endocrine glands depend on for secretion - than similar drugs in Read More...
Posted by Laura at 03:45 AM | Comments (2)

June 22, 2005

Homelessness and Schizophrenia

A reverse approach to homelessness About a dozen years ago, Dr. Sam Tsemberis started a program called Pathways to Housing. The program, unlike most housing programs for the homeless, provides housing before the person "gets better." Tsemberis "says the concept of housing the homeless before they receive treatment for drug addiction or mental illness isn't something he thought up. "It's what people told me they wanted," he said, referring to the men and women he met as an outreach worker in New York in the 1980s." Most cities in the United States only reward the homeless with a home after Read More...
Posted by Laura at 10:46 PM | Comments (1)

Schizophrenia & The Visual World

The self's broken border: Tracing the role of agency attribution in schizophrenia A new press release discusses the role of agency attribution - the "ability to distinguish between events that occur as a result of (your) own actions and events that occur as the result of someone else's" - in schizophrenia: Healthy individuals possess an intact ability to distinguish between events that occur as a result of their own actions and events that occur as the result of someone else's. This ability to attribute "self-agency" appears to be disrupted in individuals experiencing many kinds of delusions, including those associated with Read More...
Posted by Laura at 10:20 PM | Comments (3)

Genes, Schizophrenia, & Medication

Understanding schizophrenia genes Though approximately 70 percent of people diagnosed with schizophrenia respond to medication, many develop unpleasant side effects. Dr. Mowry, Associate Professor and Director of the Genetics Program at the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research (QCMHR) discusses his study and the possible positive impact its results may have on the development of new medications. The study conducted by Mowry and a team of researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia, "is at the forefront of an international project to identify genes associated with schizophrenia..." Dr. Mowry states that "the cause of schizophrenia has a strong genetic Read More...
Posted by Laura at 05:29 AM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2005

Stigma, Schizophrenia, & Family

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping
Family envisions 'no shame, no blame' Eight years after showing signs, the Willett's son was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Since then, both Mr. and Mrs. Willett "have immersed themselves in the subject." They became involved in several mental health organizations including "the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and the Parent/Professional Advocacy League. They served on boards and panels sponsored by those groups and others. They read anything they could find that would help explain what had happened to their oldest son, Michael, and why." As a result of this deep involvement, the Willett's now have ideas on how to change Read More...
Posted by Laura at 10:30 PM | Comments (8)

Schizophrenia and Epilepsy

Epilepsy, Schizophrenia May Share Genetic Link A new Danish study suggests that schizophrenia and epilepsy may share a genetic link. This information is especially valuable for families who have a history of both epilepsy and psychosis. According to the study, possessing a family history of both puts you at a "risk ...for schizophrenia and schizophrenia-like psychosis." Of course there are other factors to consider. The study also found that besides genetic factors, "environmental factors shared by family members may (play) an important role." The researchers examined data on more than 2.27 million people born in Denmark between 1950-1987. They found Read More...
Posted by Laura at 08:37 PM | Comments (3)

June 17, 2005

Brain Imaging, Schizophrenia, & ADHD

A WINDOW TO THE BRAIN;IMAGING STUDIES SUGGEST A PHYSIOLOGICAL BASIS FOR ATTENTION DEFICIT /HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER Despite focusing on ADHD, this news story has relevance to schizophrenia: Recently, "imaging technology has allowed scientists to see that brain structure and brain activity in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder are markedly different than in non-afflicted children." Though this may seem irrelevant to schizophrenia, consider what Michael Steves, "a researcher at the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center at Hartford Hospital's Institute of Living," had to say: "People don't believe in things until they see a picture." Consider the positive implications brain imaging technology might have Read More...
Posted by Laura at 10:48 AM | Comments (3)

June 16, 2005

Artistic Ability and Schizophrenia

COLOURFUL CHARACTER WOWS CROWDS Talented artists like Neil Olds of Australia are contributing to an exhibition called "Arts Against Stigma." Though he claims it's mediocre, Olds's painting "Colourful Characters...is wowing crowds from Copenhagen to Dublin and Athens to Sydney..." Olds, who is also a talented musician, believes his schizophrenia might have something to do with his artistic ability."I've always been a bit of a misfit, so I suppose being different does bring a bit of talent out in a person," he said."Look at Vincent Van Gogh, he was a misfit. I think I'm like him in a few ways, except Read More...
Posted by Laura at 09:01 AM | Comments (1)

June 15, 2005

Schizophrenia, Meds & Side Effects

Schizophrenia And Medication Side Effects Recently there has been a lot of news about the medications used for treating schizophrenia. From Florida's possible drug restrictions for Medicaid patients to Eli Lilly's recent "announcement to spend $690 million to end lawsuits (concerning side effects)..." A significant focus of this news has been on the side effects of these medications. Medication side effects (with all diseases) are common to many people diagnosed with schizophrenia. One example is the "renowned jazz musician and composer" Tom Harrell. Harrell has been on many different medications and as a result, he has suffered from side effects Read More...
Posted by Laura at 11:50 PM | Comments (1)

Working, Schizophrenia & Buddies

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping
Buddy system at work Recently, in reference to an article out of Australia, we addressed the unemployment problem people with psychiatric disabilities experience: namely, that companies are less likely to hire people with mental disorders because they perceive them as being incapable of holding down a job. A newer article discusses one possible solution to this problem: a buddy system. A PhD student at the University of Western Sydney "has concluded a year-long study pairing 40 non-disabled people aged 18-35 with people living with mental illness and intellectual disability." And as a result of his study, Robbie Llyod thinks that Read More...
Posted by Laura at 08:05 PM | Comments (1)

Medicaid Drug Restrictions Coming?

New limit on drugs may hurt ill poor: The state is forcing Medicaid mental-health patients to try the cheapest medicines first. Often people diagnosed with schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis have to go through several medications before they find one that works for them. Unfortunately, as of July 1, Florida mental-health patients who are on a medication that works for them, might have to switch to one that doesn't - that is if they're poor. A new article discusses this in detail and explains this to be the result of Gov. Jeb Bush's administration's attempt "(...)to save $292 million Read More...
Posted by Laura at 02:00 AM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2005

Zyprexa Settlement on Diabetes Warning

Eli Lilly announces Zyprexa $690 Million settlement on Zyprexa Warning Eli Lilly and Co announced last week that it has entered into an agreement in principle to settle about 8,000, or 75 pct, of the claims against the company related to its schizophrenia medication, Zyprexa Apparently, most of the lawsuits were filed based on the claim that prior to September 2003, the side effects hyperglycemia and diabetes were not "adequately displayed" on the label of Zyprexa. Though Eli Lilly and Co stated (since 1996) that these negatives effects on Zyprexa were rare, "the agreement involves claimants who asserted they developed Read More...
Posted by Laura at 08:41 AM | Comments (3)

Working with Schizophrenia

Breaking down the barriers to work A new article discusses the unemployment levels of people with mental disorders. According to the article, the "unemployment levels for people with mental illnesses are as much as 10 times the official general population levels." Further, a study out of Australia found that "...the proportion of Australians with schizophrenia in paid jobs is about 14 per cent." Though, this information is focused on specifically on Australia, unemployment is a disconcerting issue for psychiatrically disabled people all over the world. According to one American academic, many people with mental disorders want to work. They want Read More...
Posted by Laura at 02:11 AM | Comments (6)

June 13, 2005

Jack Kerouac, Author, Had Schizophrenia

Before he was On the Road, Kerouac was in the Navy Jack Kerouac was an American novelist at the forefront of the Beat Generation. But, before he became an author, he was in the Navy. Recently, the details of his days in the Navy have become public. "Kerouac's military career was part of 1.2 million files that the National Archives in St. Louis, Mo., plans to declassify." Kerouac's military records reveal a history of mental disorder. In fact, it seems that because Kerouac was diagnosed with "dementia praecox" (an archaic term for schizophrenia), he was considered "unsuitable" for the navy. Read More...
Posted by Laura at 08:39 PM | Comments (2)

June 10, 2005

Schizophrenia & Disability in Japan

2.58 Million people in Japan suffer from mental disability According to a new story out of Japan, "about 5 percent of the population (in Japan) suffer from one or more disabilities" of which about one third are mentally disabled. Though this information is focused on Japan, disability is an issue for many many modern countries and the ratios are likely similar in all developed nations. The story discussed a reported 6.56 million people with disabilities. However, while attempting to gather the data, "it was difficult to determine how many people were disabled in one form or another. It placed disabilities Read More...
Posted by Laura at 02:26 AM | Comments (0)

June 09, 2005

Family Education Programs

Family Interventions for Schizophrenia: An International View When a member of the family is diagnosed with schizophrenia, the family is often left in a state of confusion and shock. A new article discusses this situation and considers, "what (...)families want," when it occurs."Interviews with relatives and surveys show (...) that family members want information about the mental illness so they can cope better and know what to expect. They want to know specifics about medication, psychosocial treatments, housing options and social supports. They want to know how to obtain the best treatment possible and what they can do to help Read More...
Posted by Laura at 11:14 PM | Comments (1)

J&J - Paliperidone - New Drug in Development

While we've covered this previously, in a recent announcement Johnson & Johnson, developers of Risperdal (risperidone) expects to have 10-13 new drug applications (NDAs) cleared by the FDA by the year 2007 - and progress is continuing on the new drug in development called "Paliperidone". The company stated that among new products which J&J plans to release is the new drug called paliperidone, an extended-release antipsychotic that could become a replacement for Risperdal (which is facing competition from other, newer, branded drugs coming onto the market). For more information on this new drug in current clinical trials, and information on Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:11 PM | Comments (2)

Mental illness likely appears in childhood

A new survey of nearly 10,000 adult Americans uncovered some important trends among those who live with a mental illness. Conducted by the Harvard University and published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, the study is among the most comprehensive of its kind to date. The large sample size is especially important for researchers attempting to determine what are true trends among the general populace. One finding of the study is about 1 in 4 adults in this population displayed symptoms of at least one mental illness (the researchers concentrated on four broad categories: anxiety disorders, mood disorders, substance abuse, Read More...
Posted by Julia at 05:40 PM | Comments (1)

AIMhi: Patient Involvement in Treatment

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping
The long road to recovery The New Zealand-based AIMhi project is an innovative effort which allows patients to get involved with their own treatment plans. Patients collaborate with their case managers, and together they decide the patient's goals. This seems to be a new way of looking at mental health, one that empowers the patient by allowing him/her to get involved with treatment. Consider Samantha Seymour's story, a woman who "was diagnosed with schizophrenia," four years ago. At that time, she heard "voices speaking, laughing, arguing and singing." Mrs. Seymour thought that she "was being followed by people who were Read More...
Posted by Laura at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

CME Live Activity: Schizophrenia

CME Outfitters Announces Live psychCME TV Activity: "Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder: The Convergence of Medication Strategies" Premieres Wednesday, July 6, 2005 CME Outfitters, LLC, nationally accredited provider of multidisciplinary medical education programming and related healthcare communications services, is pleased to announce an upcoming live and interactive CE activity titled "Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder: The Convergence of Medication Strategies." Offered as a live satellite broadcast, webcast, and telephone audioconference premiering Wednesday, July 6, 2005, from 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m. ET, the activity will focus on providing current and clinically relevant educational information regarding the convergence of pharmacologic agents in the treatment of Read More...
Posted by Laura at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

Schizophrenia, Embryo Controversy

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
Barriers to embryo testing go down The New Scientist Magazine reported this week that "TWO million babies worldwide have been born following in vitro fertilisation, and the embryos of at least 1000 of these were screened for genetic diseases before implantation." This, however, "is only the beginning: in the future more and more clinics will be offering pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) for an ever-growing range of diseases." It may soon be possible to screen embryos for a class of genetic mutations called copy number polymorphisms (CNPs), caused by the deletion or duplication of segments of DNA. Until recently, these have Read More...
Posted by Laura at 10:21 AM | Comments (0)

New Mexico Brain Research Initiative

New Mexico Expands Focus On Research into Brain Disorders "The University of New Mexico unveiled a new $10 million expansion Thursday dedicated to the study of mental illness and the brain." This expansion "will be named Pete and Nancy Domenici Hall," and, it "should make UNM a world leader in the field of neuroscience and the study of mental illness." The 52,000-square-foot structure will house a variety of imaging machines to allow researchers to peer into the inner workings of the brain. "Our goal here is to wage war on diseases of the brain," said Dr. Nancy Andreasen, director of Read More...
Posted by Laura at 09:52 AM | Comments (2)

Supercomputer for Brain Study

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
Blue Brain: Illuminating the Mind On July 1st, a new supercomputer, called the Blue Brain computer, "will wake up... Scientists will use...(this) blazingly fast supercomputer to do never-before-possible research into how we think and how mental disorders arise." The Blue Brain computer is the latest installation of IBM's (IBM) BlueGene/L system, a radically new approach in supercomputer design. EPFL's machine has a peak speed of some 22.8 teraflops -- meaning it can theoretically spit out 22.8 trillion calculations every second. That blazing speed should put Blue Brain among the world's top 15 supercomputers. (The world champ is the BlueGene system Read More...
Posted by Laura at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

June 08, 2005

Schizophrenia Detection Product

IVMD Announces Commercial Agreement on New Diagnostic Product For Schizophrenia "A rapid, low cost, non-invasive diagnostic product for the early and effective detection of mental illness" is being developed by,"In Veritas, a medical device company..." In Veritas "...announced it has signed a Commercial Agreement on a joint project with The Ness Foundation, a Scottish based neuro-developmental research organization." This appears to be the commercialization of the "breath test for schizophrenia" research news that we covered several years ago. Its good to see it finally moving towards commercialization. In their press release, they stated: IVMD will apply its patented, low cost, Read More...
Posted by Laura at 08:27 PM | Comments (1)

Suicide: Signs to Watch For

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping
Research finds elevated U.K. suicide incidence during spring months There is a new article our of England which explains and examines why Spring is a season to be especially watchful of potential suicides, and that "May is the peak month for British suicides." Attempting to understand the reasons behind the occurrence of these suicides, may help us to prevent more in the future. Though this article focuses on depression, it is important to remember that many people who suffer from psychosis also suffer from depression. The article states: "Extensive scientific research in the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe and Read More...
Posted by Laura at 07:30 PM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2005

Schizophrenic Meds & Diabetes

Undiagnosed diabetes found in patients receiving antipsychotics We've covered this before - but this is another study that draws the conclusion that people on antipsychotic medications need to work with their doctors to make sure they are not developing diabetes. A recent study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology states:"The associations between psychosis, antipsychotic drugs (drugs used to treat psychosis), and diabetes mellitus (usually defined as a "disorder that occurs when the body is not able to use sugar for growth and energy for daily activities") have not been precisely defined but it has been repeatedly suggested that atypical antipsychotics Read More...
Posted by Laura at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

Advocacy Against Death Penalty

There is a good story today in the North Jersey web site about Ted Kaczynski's brother David's advocacy efforts against the death penalty. If more advocates like David Kaczynski and his group, as well as groups like the Treatment Advocacy Center - can stop the death penalties against the mentally ill, and improve treatment options for people so that they get treatment before violence occurs - the world could be a much better place. Ted Kaczynski was the "unabomber", who suffers from schizophrenia and who was tracked by police for his random bombing attacks on people. The story states: David Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:52 PM | Comments (0)

The Toll of Brain Disorders

Mental illness exacts heavy toll, beginning in youth In a new National Institute of Health (NIMH) funded study announced today that researchers have found that half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and that despite effective treatments, there are long delays -- sometimes decades -- between first onset of symptoms and when people seek and receive treatment. The study also reveals that an untreated mental disorder can lead to a more severe, more difficult to treat illness, and to the development of co-occurring mental illnesses. The landmark study is described in four papers that document Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 04:38 PM | Comments (0)

Introductory DVD on Schizophrenia

New DVD Gives Young a Voice and Educates those who have just developed schizophrenia or psychosis A new DVD is being released in New Zealand "to help the 500 young New Zealanders who face psychosis for the first time every year." This is a revolutionary way for young people afflicted by psychosis to help other young people in the same situation. It seems like every advocacy group and mental health center should have a DVD-based educational program like this to give to parents and individuals that are diagnosed with schizophrenia - ideally it would also include information on how to Read More...
Posted by Laura at 10:13 AM | Comments (2)

Opinions of People with Schizophrenia

Service-Related Needs and Opinions of People With Schizophrenia in Hungary Harangozo J, Dome P., Kristof R. A study out of Hungary examined the needs and opinions of people with schizophrenia by asking them through a survey. The authors of the study claim that, "Hungary and other countries that have made the transition from a communist government are in an optimal position to implement best practices in mental health care." The information gathered from this study seems important considering that the authors of the study gathered it directly from people diagnosed with schizophrenia. In their pilot (initial) study the researchers (in Read More...
Posted by Laura at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

India Movie Creating Schizophrenia Awareness

Pune Movie (TV Show) Creates Schizophrenia Awareness In Pune (a city in the state of Maharashtra located in India) a telefilm or "made-for-TV movie" is being made to raise schizophrenia awareness. Though the movie will be shot in Maharati (one of the languages spoken in Pune) it will be dubbed in both English and Hindi (the Indian national language). "The film being shot in and around Pune, is produced by the Schizophrenia Awareness Association (SAA) in association with the Satish Wagle Production." Further, the movie will be "the first of its kind covering all aspects and stages of the disorder, Read More...
Posted by Laura at 09:04 AM | Comments (4)

June 06, 2005

Services Cut for mentally ill

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping
Reductions in funding for mental health programs are already impacting the mentally ill in Texas. In a story titled:"'They took a sick person's crutch' Mental health clients must cope with decrease in services The Dallas Morning News stated that "Weekly visits from a caseworker kept Mark Streng out of psychiatric hospitals for the last two years. But that service was eliminated in February from the Dallas area's public mental health system - an example of some of the more intensive programs lost during recent cuts." The newspaper noted that "Ms. Taylor worries that her 42-year-old son's illnesses - schizophrenia, bipolar Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

New Brain Exhibit in Boston

The Boston Globe reported this week on a new exhibit that sounds like a great educational tool to help people learn more about the brain. It says: "Brain: The World Inside Your Head," a traveling exhibit that opened over the weekend at the Museum of Science, represents the latest research on the body 's center of thought, information processing, and personality. Designed to help adults and children understand the complex function of the human brain, the show explores both the organ's mechanics and mystique with exhibits ranging from simple video games to information-laden tracts delving into the intricacies of common Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:15 PM | Comments (0)

New Cognitive Medication in Development

Stanley Institute Announces $3.8 million investment for developing cognitive deficit therapy Saegis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company announced that The Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI) is providing Saegis with up to $3.8 million to continue funding human clinical trials of SGS518. Saegis is developing SGS518 as a treatment for the cognitive deficit that occurs in schizophrenia. As we covered previously in the schizophrenia.com news blog, this is the second award that Saegis has received from SMRI for this therapeutic clinical development program. In January, 2004, Saegis received a $2 million investment from The Stanley Medical Research Institute to Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

Antipsychotics start working quickly

Antipsychotic drugs improve psychosis in patients within 24 hours of treatment Released May 26, 2005 May 26, 2005 (Toronto) For the first time, scientists at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the University of Toronto have published research showing that antipsychotic drugs begin to improve psychosis in patients within the first 24 hours of treatment. This result is contrary to the prevailing assumption that it took two weeks for the drugs to have any effect on symptoms. Published in the May 2005 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, this discovery came as a result of analyzing Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:38 PM | Comments (11)

June 05, 2005

Loved Ones With Schizophrenia

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping
CARING FOR A LOVED ONE WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA This is a new story that gives advice on how to care for a loved one with schizophrenia. Along with pointing out the difficulties families endure when a loved one is diagnosed with schizophrenia, this story discusses what people close to the diagnosed can do to help. For example, this story addresses issues such as signs of schizophrenia: The most obvious ones - often called postive symptoms - "include hallucinations, hearing things that aren't there, seeing things, feeling, smelling, tasting, something that's perceived through the senses that isn't there.Big clues include if the Read More...
Posted by Laura at 08:44 AM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2005

Ethics in medication-free research

Informed consent in medication-free schizophrenia research. Moser DJ, Reese RL, Schultz SK, Benjamin ML, Arndt S, Fleming FW, Andreasen NC. Am J Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;162(6):1209-11 To study schizophrenia without the influence of medications, some researchers conduct “medication-free schizophrenia research”. This involves recruiting medicated participants who go through a medication-free interval before the study and then go back to their medications after completing the study. Even though there are advantages to this type of research since it allows a relatively “pure” study of the illness, such studies have some ethical concerns. For example, what is the guarantee that someone who provides Read More...
Posted by Farzin at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2005

Attention may affect emotion processing

A study out of the University of Tulsa reports that people with schizophrenia may have trouble recognizing other people's emotions because they do not focus on the face long enough. Dr. Dennis Combs, who will publish his findings in the next Schizophrenia Bulletin, tested 65 in-patients with chronic schizophrenia on four factors: looking at a person long enought to recognize and emtional expression, detecting when emotions change, taking in all features of the face (including portions less-relevant to emotion recognition), and speed of response to an emotional expression. Combs reported that patients often didn't look at a face long enough, Read More...
Posted by Julia at 11:41 PM | Comments (2)

June 01, 2005

Schizophrenia Cases Over-estimated?

A new study published in the Public Library of Science (medicine) suggests that the incidence of schizophrenia in the population may not be as large as it has been reported in the past. We'll have to see how the experts weight in on this review and will report on it when we get more information. Large survey suggests schizophrenia less prevalent than textbooks say Schizophrenia is a devastating mental illness and a major contributor to the global burden of disease, but how many people are actually suffering from the disease worldwide? John McGrath and colleagues from the University of Queensland Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:56 AM | Comments (0)

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