April 30, 2006

Variations in PDLIM5 Gene Linked to Schizophrenia Risk

New research coming from Japan suggests that increased schizophrenia risk is tied to specific variations of the PDLIM5 gene. (note, this is just one of a list of a dozen or so gene variations that have been identified as potential factors for increased risk of schizophrenia). In their recent study the Japanese researchers stated "results of recent DNA microarray analyses of postmortem brains of patients with schizophrenia revealed that expression of the PDLIM5 gene is increased. In the present study, we examined whether variations (called polymorphisms) in PDLIM5 are associated with schizophrenia." They explained, "We screened for variations (mutations) in Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:42 PM | Comments (2)

April 29, 2006

Gene linked to schizophrenia also tied to intelligence

A new research paper authored by psychiatric researchers at The Zucker Hillside Hospital and Harvard Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics in Boston, examined the genetic blueprints of individuals with schizophrenia and compared them with healthy volunteers. They discovered that the dysbindin-1 gene (DTNBP1), which more than 11 other research studies have previously demonstrated to be associated with a person's risk of developing schizophrenia, may also be linked to general cognitive ability. The study is being published in the May 15 issue of Human Molecular Genetics, available online. "A robust body of evidence suggests that cognitive abilities, particularly intelligence, are Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:49 PM | Comments (9)

Religion - a Problem and Opportunity for Mental Illness

A new research study published in "Health Services Research" looked at the role that religious belief played in mental health and use of mental health services by the seriously mentally ill. The study is titled "Religious involvement and the use of mental health care; Religious beliefs influence mental health". In essence, the study implied that because many people in the US participate in religious services of some sort -- and therefore religious organizations could be a strong source of mental health information if they have people who are well-educated in the science of mentall illness and prepared to direct people Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:32 AM | Comments (14)

Mental Health Film Festival In Canada

The "Minds Eye Film Festival" is a film festival focused on movies related to mental health that is being shown in Peterborough, Ontario (Canada) this week (May 3rd, 2006). The festival is co-sponsored by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), the Schizophrenia Society, the Peterborough Regional Health Centre and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. It seems like an excellent way to raise funds, and educate the public about mental illness - and something that could easily be duplicated around the world by other support group and advocacy organizations. The local newspaper in Peterborough had this to say about Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:06 AM | Comments (1)

April 24, 2006

Depression in the Brain

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping
Depression is a common problem in people who have schizophrenia, as well as their family members who may be under a great deal of stress trying to get appropriate help their family member. Its important for everyone to get treatment for depression - which could include cognitive behavioral therapy and medications, exercise, good diet, attempts to put yourself in a lower stress environment, etc. Tim/Capricorne (a valuable contributor at schizophrenia.com) let us know of this new special report on Depression from The Infinite Mind. We highly recommend you listen to it if you have any interest in learning more about Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 05:46 PM | Comments (4)

April 23, 2006

Genetic Test for Schizophrenia Susceptibility Coming

A Lousiville, Kentucky newspaper reported this week that a company is working on bringing a new genetic test to market to help determine if a person is at high risk of developing schizophrenia. This would be an ideal test for for families where one person has already developed schizophrenia - so that special care could be taken to reduce the risk of developing schizophrenia (by avoiding known schizophrenia risk factors). We have not done any validation on this news story - so a healthy dose of skepticism is due. The company is looking for investors - but unless you are Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:02 PM | Comments (14)

April 21, 2006

Australian Internet Radio Special on Schizophrenia

The Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) had a special recently on schizophrenia. You can listen to the two parts of the program (listed below), or read the typed transcripts of the shows. Fragmented minds, part 1 - - TRANSCRIPT (typed version of program) Saturday 1 April 2006 One in one hundred people in Australia will develop schizophrenia during their lifetime; it's frightening and alienating, devastating the lives of individuals and their families. Psychiatrists and researchers are still puzzled by the complexity of the disorder. We hear about some recent fascinating insights into the causes and risk factors for schizophrenia. And a Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:04 PM | Comments (5)

April 19, 2006

Schizophrenia Conference - Boston, April 30

A public, free conference on schizophrenia (and depression) research by NARSAD. Highly recommended if you live in the Boston area. ====================================== NARSAD expands its national schedule of public symposia on mental health research with a new offering in Boston co-presented with The Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Foundation. The symposium will take place Sunday, April 30th, 1 to 5 p.m., at Boston Harbor Hotel. Admission is free, but reservations are required. NARSAD-supported research scientists from Harvard University, who are also affiliated with McLean and Massachusetts General Hospitals, will present recent research on schizophrenia, depression and childhood bipolar disorder. The scheduled presenters Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:27 PM | Comments (1)

Supreme Court re-considers Insanity Standard

Its been reported today that the Supreme Court has started reconsidering the legal definition of "insane". This is long-overdue given that the USA is noted for having jailed what is auguably the largest percentage of its mentally ill population of any modern country in the world. Wereas most other countries place the mentally ill who have committed crimes into psychiatric hospitals for treatment - in the US we put them in jail or on death row. Given the increasingly proven effectiveness of early treatment that results in much better outcomes and remission - there has to be a better way. Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:46 AM | Comments (7)

April 18, 2006

High IQ Helps Fight Mental Illness

Intelligent people are at less risk of suffering severe mental illness, according to a new study by psychiatrists in the UK. This substantiates the conclusions of previous research on the same topic. Of course, what this suggests also is that some of the same genetic and brain differences that lead to mental illness may also cause lower IQ (again, in some but not all people) - which is a more logical explanation of the correlation of low IQ and mental illness. But - for the rest of this news, we'll stick with the official version of the story from the Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:24 PM | Comments (17)

Neuregulin-1 gene variation confirmed as predisposing people to schizophrenia

A new report published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) confirmed what a large gene (Neuregulin-1) that regulates many brain functions is abnormal in people who have schizophrenia. The study provides clues to how the gene seems to disrupt brain development and function and put people at risk for different types of thinking problems and brain disorders. Newsday of New York reported that "This is a very interesting study," said Dr. Gerald Fischbach, dean of the faculty of medicine at Columbia University, who added that this finding may one day lead to new ways Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:54 PM | Comments (2)

Pete Earley and E. Fuller Torrey on Mental Health System in USA

A good Internet radio broadcast that we think you'll find interesting and relevant. Pete Earley, who recently published the book "Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness" was interviewed this week on National Public Radio - and you can listen to the broadcast via the internet by going to the following link: Pete Earley Interview on NPR (when you arrive at the NPR page, click on the "listen" button). If there are too many people listening to the broadcast and you can't get to it, try again later. Also, as part of the same NPR program, there is Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:24 PM | Comments (4)

April 12, 2006

The Significance of CATIE: An Expert Interview With Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD

Medscape has a recent interview with the leader of the recent CATIE research study - following is an excerpt. Can you describe the rationale for the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE)? Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD: The reason for doing the CATIE study was that, since the introduction of clozapine in 1990, a series of newer, second-generation antipsychotic drugs have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and increasingly used by clinicians. The treatments have been embraced on the assumption that they are better and safer. As a result of their increasing use, total treatment costs have Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:22 PM | Comments (5)

Family Interventions for Drug and Alcohol Misuse: Is There a Best Practice?

Medscape reported last week on Drug and Alcohol abuse treatments and how families can help. The article is titled: Family Interventions for Drug and Alcohol Misuse: Is There a Best Practice? A brief excerpt states: An increasingly robust evidence base supports family-focused and social network-focused interventions in substance misuse treatment. Recent studies have continued to show that family and network approaches either match or improve outcomes when compared with individual interventions. Research needs (and is starting) to consider a broader set of outcomes relevant to family and network interventions, besides simply making an impact on substance use. The major challenge Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:10 PM | Comments (0)

US: Mentally ill suffer deadly neglect

An sad, but well-written story out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin: With a promise of community care, psychiatric wards were unlocked 30 years ago. Today, the sickest patients live in squalor. By MEG KISSINGER Tony Hall roasted to death in the stifling heat of an unregulated rooming house. Street thugs murdered David Rutledge. John Collins died after falling from his wheelchair, down the stairs of the unlicensed, mouse-infested group home where his Milwaukee County caseworker placed him. For months after Collins' death, someone kept using his food stamps. Thirty years ago, a Milwaukee County lawsuit sparked a nationwide revolution in mental health Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:56 PM | Comments (8)

New Australian Clinic to Target Schizophrenia "voices"

For approximately 30% of people who have schizophrenia, medication does not silence the inner voices that haunt them. It is this group that the new Voices Clinic in the Melbourne suburb of Parkville hopes to help. The clinic, the first of its kind in Australia, will soon be opened by the Mental Health Research Institute using therapy backed by clinical trials around the world. Co-ordinator Dr Neil Thomas believes that the minds of schizophrenia sufferers creates voices that could intimidate, frighten and command them, often causing them to lose touch with reality. Therapists at the new clinic will aim to Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:48 PM | Comments (5)

Biolinerx begins trial of new medication

BioLineRx Ltd. today announced the start of Phase I clinical trials in Isreal to test the safety of BL-1020, a new molecule targeted at treating schizophrenia. The trial will be conducted at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital), and will be part of an US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) application. BL-1020 is a small molecule to be taken orally. Early pre-clinical trials indicated that it might be as effective as anti-psychotic drugs, but not have the side effects associated with traditional treatments, such as motor problems and obesity. Phase 1 trials are the first of a three-phase FDA Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:39 PM | Comments (7)

Best Schizophrenia Drug? more CATIE 2 Study Results

Earlier this week we covered the release of the results from the CATIE 2 drug comparison study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. Instead of focusing on how some symptom or side effect waxes and wanes, the government trial focused on the big picture: How do typical schizophrenia patients fare on the drugs over the long term? The results were surprising: whatever the drug being tried, three-quarters of all patients stopped taking it, either because it did not make them better or had intolerable side effects. The discontinuation rates remained high when they were switched to a new Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 01:34 PM | Comments (7)

Free Lunches and Conflicts of Interest

The April issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry has two interesting editorials on "Free Lunchs" and "Conflicts of Interest". Its an issue we face here at schizophrenia.com because we accept pharmaceutical company advertising money. We are, however, run by family members of people with schizophrenia and our focus will always be on what is best for them. We thought that this is an issue that all families involved in the US mental health system need to be aware of. Free Lunch? by Kevin P. Hill, M.D. Excerpt: ""Dr. Hill, are we changing my medicine because they gave you a Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)

Schizophrenia Drug Research Bias

The Washington Post reported this week on a new academic study covered in the American Journal of Psychiatry that suggests there is a significant bias in research studies done by some pharmaceuticals companies. Specifically the newspaper reported: Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. recently funded five studies that compared its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa with Risperdal, a competing drug made by Janssen. All five showed Zyprexa was superior in treating schizophrenia. But when Janssen sponsored its own studies comparing the two drugs, Risperdal came out ahead in three out of four. In fact, when psychiatrist John Davis analyzed every publicly available Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:22 PM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2006

Early Diagnosis and Treatment - Vital for Recovery

This story about early treatment programs for psychosis and schizophrenia comes to us from Ireland. Perhaps the key quote of the story is this: "There is evidence from Canada, Australia and other countries that such services improve the chances of recovery by up to 50 per cent." Its extremely unfortunate that we in the USA don't have a national program to target this crucial time period of early psychosis - as the healthcare systems in Canada, Australia and England have. Instead of early schizophrenia treatment and prevention programs, we invest in jails. While this may be great for the jail Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:42 PM | Comments (4)

New Schizophrenia Handbook For Advice and Support

An excellent new free handbook for people affected by schizophrenia and psychosis has been launched recently by Schizophrenia Ireland. "Discover the Road Ahead" is a comprehensive and user-friendly handbook that gives people with schizophrenia and their families information, advice and support. Its easy to read, and a good primer for people new to the issues associated with schizophrenia, or simply those who want a quick reminder of how to handle issues that come up frequently. (Note: Schizophrenia Ireland also has a very good booklet on suicide prevention as it relates to schizophrenia) The handbook - a cross European initiative - Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:42 AM | Comments (10)

April 09, 2006

U. Minnesota researches schizophrenia

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
The University of Minnesota devotes research to unlock secrets of schizophrenia Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in his teens, Sam Yeager, 54, of Minneapolis, Minn., has participated in four of University of Minnesota psychiatry professor Steve Olson's studies, including medication studies and a weight-loss study. Yeager used to struggle with blackouts, anxiety and paranoia, but said he has benefited from the medication given to him in the drug studies. He said he enjoys the extra money made from participating in the studies and getting to work with Olson. When asked how schizophrenia has impacted his life, Yeager said he's not sure Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:43 PM | Comments (1)

Research: Schizophrenia chemical flaw clue

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
The BBC news reports that a research team out of the UK's Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) carried out hi-tech brain scans and have reported that a failure in the chemical messaging system in the brain has been identified in people with schizophrenia. The BBC reports that: The IoP researchers, working with colleagues from University College London, used a scanning technique called single photon emission tomography (SPET). They compared brains in 13 healthy people with five people with untreated schizophrenia and another 16 who were on medication for the condition. When the communication system in the brain works properly, neurons talk Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:20 PM | Comments (4)

Cognitive Deficits in the Families of Patients With Schizophrenia

There is a new review of the studies that have evaluated cognitive deficits in the families of patients who have schizophrenia. (of course, research has also suggested there are some benefits to having the genes associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder - such as enhanced creativity - so the news isn't all bad. The study conclusion is as follows: More than 50 peer-reviewed studies have been conducted on cognitive deficits in the families of patients with schizophrenia over the past 25 years, providing convincing evidence for the conclusion that relatives perform significantly lower than that of healthy comparison participants on Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:26 PM | Comments (3)

Suicide Prevention for Mental Healthcare Service Users

After learning about Schizophrenia Ireland's "Discover the Road Ahead" document, we discovered that they have a good publication on suicide prevention in people who use mental healthcare services - with a specific focus on schizophrenia. The 36 page handbook (available for free download at the link at the bottom of this page) is titled: Supporting Life: Suicide Prevention for Mental Healthcare Service Users While the information includes a some information that may not be directly relevant to other countries (i.e. suicide statistics in Ireland, etc.) - much of the informati.on would be very valuable reading for any family member or Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2006

Mental Health Challenges in Florida

Excerpt from a report by the newspaper "The Ledger" (Lakeland, FL) Facing Invisible Demons; Resources are few for many area poor with mental illnesses. By: ROBIN WILLIAMS ADAMS The Ledger Greg Popwell, an unemployed truck driver, was saved from a suicide attempt when someone at the motel where he was staying in East Polk County smelled gas and called for help. ''The depression got so bad, I isolated myself from the world,'' he said. ''I got to the point where depression froze me, made me physically unable to function.'' Winter Haven Hospital sent Popwell to the Peace River Center Crisis Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:05 PM | Comments (5)

Theragenetics for Schizophrenia Diagnostics

IP2IPO Group PLC, the intellectual property commercialisation company, said it has invested 390,000 stg for a 48 pct stake in Theragenetics Ltd, a pharmacogenetic diagnostics spin-out company from the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London (UK). Theragenetics said it will develop and commercialise pharmacogenetic diagnostic tests to help guide and improve the treatment of schizophrenia and other disorders Commenting on today's announcement, Alan Aubrey, IP2IPO's Chief Executive, said: 'We believe that the high reputation enjoyed by the Institute of Psychiatry at King's is well justified and are very pleased to be establishing what will be our first spin-out company from Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

CATIE II - Schizophrenia Treatment Study Update

A government study (CATIE 2) comparing treatments for chronic schizophrenia found that an older drug (Clozapine/Clozaril) performed better than three new treatments, but it also highlighted the drug's dangerous side effects. The national clinical trial comparing clozapine with other new-generation antipsychotic medications for the treatment of chronic schizophrenia has shown that people who switched to clozapine from their first medication because it failed to manage symptoms adequately, were twice as likely to continue treatment as patients who switched to other antipsychotic medications. A companion study found that for people who switched to new-generation antipsychotic medications other than clozapine, those who Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:40 PM | Comments (10)

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