December 23, 2005

Schizophrenia Genetics among Top Scientific Breakthroughs of 2005

The prestigious Science Magazine just released its annual list of Breakthroughs of the Year for 2005 in its latest issue (23 December 2005), highlighting work on evolution and natural selection at the top of the list. Listed among the "runners up" at #5 was Miswiring in the Brain, including the following emphasizing new findings on the Genetics of Schizophrenia: In November, two reports put meat on the bones of previous claims that variants of a gene called DISC1 increase the risk of schizophrenia. One research team found that inhibiting DISC1 activity in mice alters brain development, causing subtle abnormalities in Read More...
Posted by Brian J. Schulman at 12:05 PM | Comments (1)

December 19, 2005

Donate to Schizophrenia Research

During this time of the season people's thoughts frequently turn to charity. Here are some suggestions: If you are looking to make a positive impact in the lives of people who have schizophenia, we recommend donations to the non-profit organizations that do the research that will ultimately lead to better treatments for schizophrenia, and to preventative approaches to schizophrenia. The best group to donate to (in our opinion) is the group NARSAD (with which we have no affiliation). NARSAD is a private, not-for-profit public charity 501(C)(3) organized for the purpose of raising funds for scientific research into the causes, cures, Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 01:31 PM | Comments (1)

New Schizophrenia Film: Hysterical Mind

Filmmaker Mike Kula of Lincoln, Nebraska graduated in 1997 with a Bachelors in Fine Arts from the University of Nebraska, at Lincoln. Mike has recently released his short (33 minute) film " Hysterical Mind" for purchase via the Internet and is also looking for new venues to promote it and show it around the country. Mike Kula wrote, produced, edited and starred in the independent short film. Its a film he calls "funny and horrific at the same time." A film he created from his own experience, from his life with schizophrenia. Although "Hysterical Mind" might be easily categorized as Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)

NARSAD - Schizophrenia Education Meeting, Sarasota, Florida

Internationally known mental health researchers will travel to Sarasota, Florida for to help physicians, mental health workers, caregivers, patients and their families at the NARSAD 2006 Mental Health Research Symposium on Jan. 7 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune spoke with the co-founder of the Florida Chapter of NARSAD, Lee Paterson, who stated "It's very important for people to come and learn about mental illness and the devastating effect it has on the lives of our families and the community," Peterson and her husband, Robert, have helped to raise almost $3 million for mental Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

More News on Cannabis / Marijuana & Schizophrenia Link

The Times of London conveyed the following in a recent article titled "Cannabis: it's time for a rethink". In the article they talk about the long history of evidence for the link of cannabis / marijuana and psychosis and ultimately schizophrenia. In the story they mention that Professor of Pharmacology at Oxford University, William Paton was one of the world's experts on cannabis. "In the 1970s Paton and his colleagues published many papers describing their observations, which had led him to conclude that even regular social cannabis smoking could induce schizophreniform symptoms. ... Paton also drew attention to cases in Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:16 PM | Comments (7)

Ivax to offer Clozapine

In a Press/Marketing release, Ivax Pharmaceuticals today announced the following: IVAX Corporation: announced today that it has received final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for clozapine tablets USP, 200 mg. This product will be sold through IVAX' wholly owned subsidiary, IVAX Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Clozapine is the generic equivalent of Clozaril(R) which is marketed by Novartis and used in the treatment of schizophrenia. The drug is currently available in 100, 50, 25 and 12.5 mg tablet dosage strengths. The 200 mg tablet is a new dosage strength developed by IVAX Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2005

Crisis centers & retreats replace psychiatric hospitals?

Crisis centres, retreats and "sanctuaries" should replace psychiatric hospitals, UK report by Advocacy Group (Rethink) urges The UK-based advocacy group called RETHINK (the NAMI equivalent in the UK, I believe) recommends in a new report that crisis centres, retreats and therapeutic "sanctuaries" with private ensuite rooms should replace psychiatric hospitals. It was reported this week by "PsychMinded" that the report also stated that: People in a mental health crisis and carers should also be able to drop into new community health centres at any time of the day and night to access help. Such services should from the core infrastructure Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:17 PM | Comments (1)

December 16, 2005

New Canadian Treatment Guidelines for Schizophrenia

Marvin Ross sends us these links to the new Canadian Treatment Guidelines for schizophrenia published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. This is the guide for Canadian psychiatrists for the treatment of schizophrenia. Its somewhat "technical" in nature - but we think most people who have been visiting and reading at this web site for a while can handle the terminology. Its highly recommended reading. Canada is arguably much faster in implementing new approaches, treatments and therapies for schizophrenia than many other countries, including the US, and already has a strong network of early diagnosis and treatment centers across the Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:15 AM | Comments (11)

How to Prepare to Travel, when mentally ill

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping
The "" web site has this information for people who are traveling: In light of the recent news coverage of a traveler whose unstable bipolar disorder precipitated a deadly confrontation with US Air Marshals, many people with severe mental illnesses are worried about traveling. One member of this community shares her frustration writing, "How are we supposed to get places when unstable?" Following are a few suggestions, many contributed by other community members, that may help alleviate some of these fears and make needed traveling more tolerable. Here's How: 1. Speak with your healthcare provider about your travel plans and Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:55 AM | Comments (1)

Another Family Story of Schizophrenia

Below is a personal story from today's Dallas/Fort Worth Star Telegram. Texas is just one of the many states with no early diagnosis and treatment centers for schizophrenia - and we get emails from people looking for them all the time. The issue is particularly relevant because in this family's story, one brother had already developed schizophrenia - so that family should have known that the risk was higher for the other siblings and been particularly sensitive to any strange behavior. Think of the tax-payer costs (to say nothing of the family's personal pain) that would have been avoided if Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

New Movie: "Keane": Lighting the dark corners of schizophrenia

There is a new drama/action movie out that deals with schizophrenia, and the title of the movie is "Keane". We haven't seen the movie, but the reviews are good in all the commentary we've seen. This probably isn't a movie for people who have schizophrenia, or family members closely involved, however it is perhaps a good movie for people who just want to learn more - including students and the general public. The Keane DVD is listed on, but not yet available to purchase. You can watch the Keane trailer (short preview) and learn more about the movie, by Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:08 AM | Comments (1)

Churches and Mental Illness - Progress

People in our discussion groups have mentioned some bad experiences in the past where churches or other religous groups didn't understand mental illness (and blamed the person for their disease or disorder). While some groups, like Scientology, still take this approach - it seems that most have moved beyond this lack of knowledge and have learned about the progress that 20th and 21st century science has given us. Following is an excerpt on this topic from a story in the Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, South Dakota). We hope more religious groups of all denominations start offering more services like these Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:54 AM | Comments (7)

December 15, 2005

A Typical American Family and Schizophrenia

This story about one family's experience with schizophrenia highlights the benefits of people talking about their family's experiences, and becoming advocates for all of the mentally ill. Surviving schizophrenia in the family Clemson athletics director Terry Don Phillips used to mock the value of social programs. "I think I was just like any other American. You'd hear about homeless, you hear about people who are housed in jails and you'd say, 'I don't buy that mental illness line,'" Phillips said. "I'm thinking, 'That's an excuse. Just go get a job. It's that simple.'" That changed about 10 years ago when Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:38 AM | Comments (1)

The Homeless Deserve Respect

By Jamie Nash, The Easterner; Eastern Washington U. via University Wire I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, although until quite recently I had never realized it. I was raised to believe that everyone has an equal playing field and if you work hard you can achieve anything. I wish that were true. A year ago I decided to start volunteering at a homeless shelter in downtown Spokane. My first night volunteering at Hope House Women's Shelter was one of the most emotional events of my life. I watched as women of every shape and sort were Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:21 AM | Comments (1)

Ecstasy - Street Drug Problems

A news story out of Canada reports that evaluations of the party drug "Ecstasy" has shown that is actually includes many other illegal drugs - many of which impact the brain in harmful ways. The Financial Post reported today (as shown in this short excerpt): "Methamphetamine has been found in 76% of pills seized as Ecstasy at raves, clubs and dances in B.C.'s Lower Mainland over the past year, police have found. Officers believe the huge increase over 1999 test results, which showed the drug in only 8% of tested samples, may be partly a consumer-driven phenomenon. "You're not making Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

Cognitive Impairment Drug Update

A positive bit of news out of California this morning on a new drug that is showing potential to help people who have schizophrenia, with the cognitive impairments that are common. Of course, progress in drug development is slow and even if the testing continues to go well, it will likely be a few years before this drug is available for consumers (and another 5 or 10 years before we have a good understanding of the drug's side effects): Saegis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing medicines that protect and enhance memory and cognition, announced the successful completion Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:47 AM | Comments (2)

Advocacy for Mentally Ill - Personal Story

Another good story I'd like to point people towards - like an earlier story this week - from the Amherst College Alumni magazine. Following is an excerpt: Music, Stigma and Carrying a Voice By Robert Simpson '69, chief operating officer of Sisters of Providence Health System Behavioral HealthCare When does the mind truly become conscious about what it is we really are here on this earth to do? I remember as a student thinking with envy that you, my colleagues, had it all figured out upon graduation: off to law school, medical school and business school to become lawyers, doctors Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2005

Man with schizophrenia earns tae kwon do black belt

In a nice personal success story, The Dallas Morning News (Texas) reported yesterday that: "William Blue has traveled independently, pursued higher education and, on Dec. 3, earned his black belt in tae kwon do. Mr. Blue, a Plano resident, is more accomplished than many 34-year-olds, his life a testament to running down dreams. He struggles with a form of schizophrenia that precludes him from processing abstract ideas and communicating whole thoughts, his mother, Hazel Ann Blue, said. "I've just been kind of special all my life," said Mr. Blue, who's being treated with counseling and medication. "I just have had Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:14 PM | Comments (0)

Nicotine for Alzheimers, & Schizophrenia?

A news story reported recently that researchers are trying nicotine patches to help minimize memory loss in Alzheimers, and researchers are also working on testing nicotine for treating brain disorders like schizophrenia (of course, since cigarette smoking causes Cancer, cigarettes definitely are not recommended as a means to get nicotine). Ivanhoe's reported that: "Paul Newhouse, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry at University of Vermont in Burlington, says, "Nicotine can improve learning. It can improve attentional performance." For the study, patients with mild memory loss will wear a nicotine patch or placebo patch for a year. The hope is that nicotine can Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 04:42 PM | Comments (6)

December 12, 2005

Calls for Mental Illness Treatment Reform

Following is an excerpt from a good editorial out of Australia that touches upon universal issues: Mental illnesses issues need reform By: IAN HICKIE POPULAR views are that the greatest health threats to the economic and social future of Australia are either bird flu or the ageing of the population. One rarely reads that 27 per cent of all health-related disability is due to mental illness or that a staggering 60 per cent of disability among 15 to 34-year-olds is due to depression, anxiety, alcohol and substance abuse, manic-depressive illness (bipolar disorder) or schizophrenia. As a parent of teenage girls, Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:00 PM | Comments (8)

The Maturing Brain and Schizophrenia

The St. Louis Dispatch (newspaper) recently had an excellent story by Tina Hesman and Matthew Franck on how researchers are studying and comparing the development of normal brains, with those that develop mental illness - to better identify the processes as early as possible, and to potentially prevent the brain disorder from developing in the first place. The research is moving ahead and early identification and treatment is showing significant and positive clinical results. Following is an excerpt from the 4-part series: "To date, much of the discussion around teenagers has focused on why so many change from adorable children Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:15 AM | Comments (1)

Women and Prison - Brain Disorders Not Identified

A new report out of New Zealand suggests that women prisoners are not being properly identified and treated for brain disorders. A similar problem is likely in most countries, other reports have suggested. The Press (of Christchurch, New Zealand) states: "Two-thirds of women prisoners suffering mental disorders such as psychosis and suicidal depression are not being picked up by the Corrections Department, says a leading forensic psychiatrist. Mark Earthrowl, clinical leader of Canterbury's regional forensic service, said the current Corrections screening process "is not effective". "Only about one-third of people with mental disorders are picked up." In a single year Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:05 AM | Comments (2)

Workouts are Potent Medicine for Mentally ill

The New York Times reported this week that Excercise and Workouts Are Potent Medicine for the Mentally Ill In a story written by ABBY ELLIN, the New York Times stated: MATTHEW HASS is not sure what caused him to blow up to 300 pounds: his sedentary lifestyle, a diet devoid of fruits or vegetables or the medications he took for bipolar disorder. Not that the cause mattered. Mr. Hass knew he was at a crossroads: at 27 he said he felt like a ''heart attack waiting to happen,'' so he decided to give exercise a chance. ''I was ready to Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:29 AM | Comments (6)

December 11, 2005

Schizophrenia and Stress

The following article is a few years old, but it is a good one and we haven't covered this area much in the past. We recommend the entire article: Schizophrenia and Stress Written by: Cheryl Corcoran, M.D., and Dolores Malaspina, M.D., M.S.P.H. The more we learn about stress, the more we understand how great a role it plays in a wide range of diseases and conditions. Not surprisingly, this is especially true of psychiatric problems such as psychosis, affective illness (a category that includes manic-depression and major depression) and alcoholism. Stress seems to be particularly harmful for those suffering from Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:55 AM | Comments (4)

December 09, 2005

Early Diagnosis - Nipping Madness in the Bud

The winter issue of the Amherst College alumni magazine has an excellent article on early detection and treatment of schizophrenia. Its great to see this new Portland, Maine Early Treatment program - as it will help many people avoid the full ravages of schizophrenia. Sadly, the USA is far behind most other developed nations in the important area of early diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia - with the result that many more people suffer much more from schizophrenia, at a much higher personal and financial cost than in other countries. In Canada, for example, they have 1/10th the population of Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:48 AM | Comments (3)

Zyprexa Patent Battle Continues

The Indianapolis Star reports that the makers of generic drugs to appeal; 3 companies will continue efforts to get share of the billions spent on the antipsychotic drug. Generic Drug Companies Challenge Lilly's Patent on Zyprexa The Indianapolis Star stated that while "round one" of the legal battle went against three makers of generic drugs that had challenged Eli Lilly and Co.'s patent on Zyprexa, its best-selling drug. But attorneys for the companies immediately vowed to appeal -- and they like their chances in Round Two. Zenith's parent company, Ivax Corp., issued its statement shortly after Judge Richard L. Young Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:23 AM | Comments (0)

Mentally Ill 4 Times More Likely to be Killed in Altercations with Law Enforcement

Following is a statement by Treatment Advocacy Center Executive Director Mary Zdanowicz: Rigoberto Alpizar's death is making headlines because he was the first person killed by federal air marshals after September 11. But tragic encounters between the mentally ill and law enforcement are most often the result of an old mental health treatment system than new security measures. A combination of deinstitutionalization and poor treatment laws have left too many people with severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder without support. Unable to get the treatment they need, they instead deteriorate until someone -- often a family member -- Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:17 AM | Comments (1)

Early Treatment Program, North Carolina

Following is a good example of the Early Psychosis Diagnosis and Treatment centers that are popular in Australia, England, Canada and Norway - but that are now slowly starting to be developed in the US. Two-thirds of people diagnosed with schizophrenia end up disabled. A new program in Chapel Hill, North Carolina is aimed at changing that. In an arty office lounge near University Mall, young adults, their parents and mental health professionals gathered Wednesday for an open house. Over chicken kabobs and pitas, they shared with curious health professionals their fresh experiences with a program that just kicked off Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

BioBanks move Schizophrenia Research Forward

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
A report in today's Economist Magazine (out of the UK) reports that international biobanks are targeting diseases like schizophrenia, which is good news. The downside is that these biobanks have potential to used in a way that might not be viewed positively by everyone (an example of law enforcement use is cited where the Swedish government used their "anonymous" biobank to identify a killer of a leading government official last year - and the killer turned out to have a long history of psychiatric problems). The Economist notes: "WHAT do you get when you link a repository of tissue and Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2005

Start-up company targets schizophrenia

Its great to see new companies targeting therapies for schizophrenia. Today's Washington post covered one such company: Name: Vanda Pharmaceuticals Locations Rockville, Maryland and Singapore Mihael H. Polymeropoulos, chief executive of Vanda Pharmaceuticals, which has two drugs in late-stage development. Funding: The company has raised $47 million from BioOne Capital, Care Capital Inc., MedImmune Ventures Inc., Prospect Venture Partners, Rho Ventures and Domain Associates LLC. Big idea: Vanda is developing two drugs, for psychiatric and sleep disorders. The first is an antipsychotic that would be used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The drug binds to serotonin and dopamine receptors Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:53 AM | Comments (1)

December 05, 2005

Cannabis-related Psychosis leads to Schizophrenia

A new scientific study published by Danish experts found that people who suffered a cannabis-induced psychosis were far more likely to go on to suffer from schizophrenia or other serious mental health problems. The study is the first to show that temporary mental problems due to cannabis use are often followed by chronic psychiatric illness. Researchers from Aarhus University Hospital found that nearly half of all patients treated for a cannabis-related psychotic episode went on to develop some form of schizophrenia. And almost a third were later diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. The research team tracked more than 530 Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:37 AM | Comments (7)

December 02, 2005

Gene interaction linked to schizophrenia

Disruption of gene interaction linked to schizophrenia Disruption of the normal interaction between the genes PRODH and COMT contributes directly to major symptoms of schizophrenia by upsetting the balance of the brain chemicals glutamate and dopamine, according to a group of investigators that includes a scientist now at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The investigators developed a model of schizophrenia that provides a way to study and understand how the loss of both PRODH and COMT gene activity contributes to the symptoms of schizophrenia. The insights they gained into the disease with this model are important because the loss of Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:40 PM | Comments (2)

$1.75 Million for Schiz. research - Australia

$1.75 million NHMRC grant for a world first – the Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank (ASRB) In a world first, the National Health and Medical Research Council has awarded a coalition of researchers from New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia $1.75 million to establish a national schizophrenia research bank. The coalition is led by NISAD's (Neuroscience Institute of Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders) Scientific Director, Professor Vaughan Carr. The bringing together of current research efforts in to a nationally coordinated body will radically strengthen Australia's place in the world schizophrenia research effort. "This unique facility will expand and link existing programs Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:36 PM | Comments (1)

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