June 29, 2006

Evidence-Based Psychotherapy for Schizophrenia

Typically treatment for schizophrenia focuses on the use of antipsychotic medications, and case management, accompanied by little to no psychotherapy. Previous reviews on psychotherapy have shown promising results for a multitude of psychiatric illnesses. A 1994 meta-analysis of over 320 studies, spanning from 1895 to 1992, found that only an estimated 1/3 of patients suffering from schizophrenia have a favorable outcome with medication alone (Harvard Medical School, Hegarty 1994). (though a skeptical person would say that there were no effective treatments for schizophrenia prior to Chlorpromazine in the 1950s, so why have the study authors included such old data in Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 05:07 PM | Comments (10)

June 28, 2006

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis and Substance Abuse

Here is a recent article about how groups in Australia are using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for treatment of substance abuse in people suffering from psychosis. People with psychotic disorders as well as substance abuse disorders may gain some relief from their symptoms with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), investigators report. Dr Amanda Baker (University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia) and co-workers investigated the benefit of this treatment in 130 patients suffering from a psychotic disorder (severe depression, bipolar mania, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or other psychosis). All of the participants also reported extreme alcohol, cannabis, and/or amphetamine use in the preceding month. Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:42 PM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2006

New Book: "Overcoming Paranoid and Suspicious Thoughts"

There is a new book out in the UK called Overcoming Paranoid and Suspicious Thoughts that focuses on helping people to overcome paranoid and suspicious thoughts. The book is written by Dr. Daniel Freeman who is a senior lecturer in clinical psychology at King's College in London, England. The book uses one of the most well-proven approaches for handling mental health issues - an approach called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The book seems like it might be a valuable source of information for parents and young adults in families where there has been a history of paranoid schizophrenia, as well Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:39 AM | Comments (19)

Mental Health Stigma Reduction? Proof is in the Politics

Dr. John Grohol's Psych Central has a good blog entry today on the roll of mental health stigma reduction, politics, and public education - and how they impact how frequently people actually get treatment. It notes: There is no greater obstacle to people receiving treatment for psychological problems than the stigma associated with it. Embarrassment, feelings of failure, and individualism are all pieces related to the greater socio-cultural stigma that relegates a depressed person to his bedroom and relationship problems to closed doors. At least half of Americans who are in need to treatment do not seek services. Practitioners have Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:44 AM | Comments (0)

Colleges work more to assist students with psychiatric disorders

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping
A positive story comes to us today from Cleveland, Ohio where The Beacon Journal reports that local colleges are working to improve their mental health services for their students. The message here is that evaluating the mental health services and counseling that a college offers is just one more way to qualify whether a given academic institution is truly interested in addressing the needs of all its students. "A rising number of college students are taking medication for mental disorders, and schools are trying to help them by adding counselors and extending health center hours. "We see a very clear Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:23 AM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2006

Trauma Link to Schizophrenia is Strengthened by New Research

Following a number of stories that have come out in the past few weeks - a new research study out of The Netherlands further strengthens the evidence that suggests that Trauma is a causal factor in psychosis and likely in schizophrenia (that includes psychosis as one of the key symptoms). In a broader sense this study also provides confirmation of the consensus view in the scientific community that schizophrenia is caused by a genetic or biological prediposition, and then later environmental insults, or stresses that further increase the risk or trigger the disorder. The Schizophrenia Research Forum reports: Does exposure Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:49 PM | Comments (10)

New Movie in the works: Imagining Beethoven

It has been reported (by the Hollywood Reporter) that a new movie is in production by Steven Speilberg's firm -- DreamWorks -- on Nathaniel Ayer's life, the street musician in Los Angeles who suffers from schizophrenia. "DreamWorks to Adapt Tale of Homeless Musician DreamWorks has hired Susannah Grant to write an adaptation of a 12-part series of Los Angeles Times newspaper columns by Steve Lopez about a homeless schizophrenic musiciain with grandiose dreams of playing at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The adaptation is tentatively called Imagining Beethoven. The musician, named Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, was a former student at prestigious Julliard Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:22 AM | Comments (1)

Our grip on reality is slim, says UCL scientist

The neurological basis for poor witness statements and hallucinations has been found by scientists at UCL (University College London). In over a fifth of cases, people wrongly remembered whether they actually witnessed an event or just imagined it, according to a paper published in NeuroImage this week. Dr Jon Simons and Dr Paul Burgess led the study at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. Dr Burgess said: "In our tests volunteers either thought they had imagined words which they had actually been shown or said they had seen words which in fact they had just imagined - in over 20 Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

Roky Erickson - Musician with Schizophrenia, Returns

The Chicago Sun-Times reported this week that Roky Erickson, a well-known musician from the 70's is making a comeback. "As he fought a long, sad battle with schizophrenia exacerbated by psychedelic drug use, Roky Erickson largely avoided the music world for the last two decades: Before Saturday, he had not performed outside his native Texas since 1982, and he had never played in Chicago. Encouraged by his younger brother to seek the right medications and take control of his life, the singer is a new man at age 58 -- healthy, happy and ready to reclaim one of the richest Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2006

Infections as a causal factor in schizophrenia

A new article in Psychiatric Times (a news publication for psychiatrists and psychologists) covers the new research around infections as one of the causal factors in schizophrenia (and bipolar disorder). Its a very technical article - so its probably of most value if you're well versed in science. New research in the field continues, aided increasingly by impressive technologic advances in microbiology and virology. As recently as the past decade, reports documented the presence of influenza virus, rubella virus, bovine disease virus, and other infectious agents in patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, as well as the presence of other Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:18 AM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2006

Prisons - The New Asylums (News Report)

There is a very good in-depth report by Public Broadcasting Services (PBS) on how in the USA prisons have been turned into the new mental asylums. We encourage you to view the entire video and explore the entire web site. Perhaps some outraged family members and/or citizens can motivate some changes to the system - as Pete Early is working on. The report explains: Fewer than 55,000 Americans currently receive treatment in psychiatric hospitals. Meanwhile, almost 10 times that number -- nearly 500,000 -- mentally ill men and women are serving time in U.S. jails and prisons. Why are so Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:39 PM | Comments (2)

Children with Mentally ill Parents - News Report

Tim/Capricorn directed us to this good story out of Australia about children with mentally ill parents and special programs to help these children. It doesn't seem that there are any similar programs in the USA - if someone out there knows of any, please let us know. "For children with a mentally ill parent, life is tough. But is there enough support for the growing number of children for whom parent-child role reversal is a reality? Fifteen-Year-Old Jessica Alley is on "night patrol". While her friends go to parties, she stays at home watching over her mother Jodie, who is Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:29 PM | Comments (4)

June 22, 2006

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approaches for schizophrenia

Cognitive behavioral therapy for schizophrenia is an area that has been researched and practiced a great deal outside of the US - and research and reports suggests that it is very affective and should be an important part of a treatment program for everyone who has schizophrenia. Right now these therapy approaches are not yet available in most of the US - but through better education of psychologists and psychiatrists - there is hope for much bettter outcomes. Following is a story about how Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) works, and examples of how it is done for schizophrenia. We encourage Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:42 PM | Comments (1)

June 21, 2006

Eating Disorders in Schizophrenia

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping
Psychiatric Times - a publication written for psychologists and psychiatrists - has recently covered the issue of eating disorders in schizophrenia. "eating disorders in patients with schizophrenia have been underappreciated and poorly studied within the traditional diagnostic systems in mental illness. Even when they are recognized, there is often unsubstantiated optimism that eating-related symptoms will disappear as psychosis abates. On the other hand, the psychiatrist may have a speculative skepticism, regarding schizophrenia as encompassing an inability to comply with prescribed ways of living. This may reflect emphasis on overt behaviors in the clinical management of schizophrenia, with less concern about Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

Childhood Emotional Abuse, Emotional Neglect and Schizophrenia

As we noted in our June 16th article on child abuse and schizophrenia - while the claim that some psychologists are making that child abuse is the leading cause of schizophrenia is unsupported by any rigorous studies, there seems to be an increasing level of belief among psychology and psychiatry researchers that different types of child abuse -- including emotional abuse and emotional neglect - are likely to be contributing factors in the development of mental illnesses, including schizophrenia (especially for children genetically or biologically predisposed). Additionally, research supports the idea that a warm, sensitive, loving, low-stress, and emotionally responsive Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:14 AM | Comments (7)

The Effects of Stress on Family Caregivers

There is an article in the web publication "Psychiatric Times" - which while the article is written for psychologists and psychiatrists, may have some beneficial information for family caregivers. The article notes: "Studies have shown that interventions to support caregivers have proved beneficial to health outcomes. Interventions with active treatments reduced burden (ie, perceived psychological problems), and pleasant event therapies (ie, interventions that teach caregivers to identify and pursue experiences that give them pleasure on a regular basis) decreased depression. Among persons with coronary disease, higher levels of the metabolic syndrome in caregivers than noncaregivers are explained, in part, by Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:09 AM | Comments (2)

Pregnancy and fears raised over anti-psychotic drugs

There is an interesting news report out of Australia on use of anti-psychotic drugs by pregnant women, and fears that the newer drugs are not well-tested enough to be confident that they are not harming the fetus. The older schizophrenia medications have been used long enough that they are viewed to be OK during pregnancy for people who need anti-psychotic drugs. Overall - it sounds like something any woman should discuss with her doctor if she has concerns. As a generaly word of caution - there is a higher than average risk of birth complications in a situation where a Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

Young 'failed' by mental health system

This story from the BBC highlights the problem of poor availability of services for child mental health in the UK. The problem in the US - with over 20% of the population uncovered, or poorly covered, by mental health insurance is likely much worse - but is a problem that is rarely covered in the main stream media. Mental health problems in children and adolescents are on the rise, the British Medical Association has warned, and services are ill-equipped to cope. One in ten children, aged one to 15, have a mental health problem, says a report from the BMA's Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

Schizophrenia and the long road to mental wellness

Here is a good story about one person's long but ultimately successful stuggle with schizophrenia: Mental illness doesn't always intrude into a person's life as a single disease with clearly defined symptoms. Ask Dana Parker. For more than 20 years, she struggled off and on with depression, anxiety and panic attacks. She still managed to earn a college degree, get married, have a son and dote on him, and hold down a job as a university admissions counselor. But her precariously balanced life tumbled apart when her marriage collapsed and her symptoms snowballed into full-blown paranoia. Dana was convinced that Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:21 AM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2006

Altered Activity in Brain Receptors Points to Schizophrenia Complexity

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, in collaboration with scientists at the City University of New York, have identified a striking dysregulation in neuronal receptor activity in the postmortem brain tissue from patients with schizophrenia. By stimulating receptors in the prefrontal cortex, the research team tracked heightened levels of erbB4 receptor activity, as well as decreased NMDA receptor activity in the tissue from patients with schizophrenia. Additionally, they were able to identify a relationship between these two receptor groups, suggesting a mechanism for decreased NMDA receptor function that has long been suspected in schizophrenia. The researchers report Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:57 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2006

Research Revealing How Marijuana Affects the Brain

There is an interesting new article just published on the MIT Technology Review web site that is about a new imaging method that could show how cannabinoids affect diseases like schizophrenia. The article states: Scientists have long known that the brain possesses natural chemicals similar to marijuana. While little is known about their precise function in the brain, studies suggest that these compounds, known as cannabinoids, and the receptors they bind to, play a role in diseases, including schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, and obesity. Now researchers at Johns Hopkins University have developed a way to image cannabinoid receptors in living animals. Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:03 PM | Comments (1)

Schizophrenia Usually Caused by Child Abuse? Proof Lacking

There are a couple of psychologists who think that child abuse is a significant cause, if not the major cause, of schizophrenia and began strongly publicizing this theory recently. However main-stream schizophrenia researchers say that there are no rigorous studies that support this theory. Increasingly however, leading psychiatric researchers have told us that they think it is likely that child abuse is one type of stress and trauma (of many) that is a contributing factor in schizophrenia (especially for people biologically or genetically predisposed) - though as yet there is no definitive long term studies that have proven this. (leading, Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 01:20 PM | Comments (34)

June 15, 2006

NIMH Seeks Outreach Partnership Program Proposals

Good news for organizations supporting people who have schizophrenia - act quickly - deadlines for questions is next week (June 19, 2006) NIMH Outreach Partnership Program Seeks Proposals NIMH invites applicants to submit proposals for becoming an NIMH Outreach Partner from the following states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Each organization selected as an NIMH Outreach Partner will receive a $7,500 yearly stipend (dispersed in two equal payments of $3,750 every 6 Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:17 PM | Comments (0)

Mental health patients face high Medicare Rx drug benefit costs

A new National Institute of Mental Health study reported that: Elderly people with mental health problems who enroll into the US Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit are likely to spend as much as four times the out-of-pocket costs that are associated with private insurance, according to a new study. On average, they will reach the infamous "Donut Hole", the gap in coverage between $2,250 and $5,100 of drug costs, up to two months earlier than other categories of prescription drug beneficiaries. The research was carried out by a partnership between the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:10 PM | Comments (4)

New Housing for people who have schizophrenia in Canada

Read more... Schizophrenia Housing
Housing is a common problem for people with schizophrenia. Here is a recent story on how they are handling the issue in British Columbia, Canada: "The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) will invest up to $3.3 million annually to provide 184 new affordable housing units offering intensive support to people with mental health and addiction issues on Vancouver Island, including 15 new units in Port Alberni. VIHA has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to enter into long term leases with property owners or developers to lease suitable existing or new apartment buildings. VIHA would provide 24/7 on-site clinical support. Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:03 PM | Comments (2)

June 13, 2006

Urban Schizophrenia Risk: A Family Affair?

A new article on the Schizophrenia Research Forum web site discusses the well-known link between urban living and increased risk for schizophrenia. They note: Children born and raised in cities grow up to develop schizophrenia at a higher rate than their country-dwelling counterparts. While the evidence implicates environmental factors, no specific exposures have been identified that can explain the urban-rural difference. But because the urban environment acts on both children and their families, it stands to reason that environmental effects act on the level of the family to contribute to the increased risk of schizophrenia in cities. ... The [new Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 04:54 PM | Comments (1)

June 12, 2006

Neurodevelopment and Schizophrenia

There is a book that come out a few years back, published by Cambridge Press in 2004 - that is titled, appropriately "Neurodevelopment and schizophrenia". As it happens - the famous Dr. Frederick Freese (a board member of NAMI and person who has recovered from schizophrenia to become a noted psychologist and professor) has recently reviewed this book - and while its written for psychologists and advanced students of psychiatry - both the review and the book has valuable information. Dr. Freese notes, in his review: "Some of the book's 24 chapters are particularly relevant for consumers and practicing clinicians. Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:52 PM | Comments (2)

Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia: Making the Determination

A summary of an article on "Treatment-resistent Schizophrenia" in Psychiatric Times May 2002 Some people suffering from schizophrenia never seem to get successful results from medications, and other therapeutic methods. These people are then deemed as having "treatment-resistant schizophrenia", but there's speculation that this is not the case for everyone with that label. Many factors could influence a psychiatrist to believe someone has treatment-resistant schizophrenia and these should be looked into more thoroughly. Some of these factors are: • Medication noncompliance, even partial noncompliance. • Variations in metabolic rates among individuals, influencing effectiveness of drug dosage. • Inaccurate initial diagnosis Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 01:38 PM | Comments (2)

Solvey & Wyeth moving ahead with testing of Bifeprunox

It was announced this week that Solvay is recruiting patients for a phase II trial in the USA, which started in January 2006. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study is to assess the tolerability of bifeprunox with the progressive elimination of titration steps to achieve the shortest tolerated titration dosing to a dose of 40 mg/day in either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder subjects. The study is to be two months long with an optional open-label 26-week extension study. Wyeth is working towards filing an FDA approval and commercial launch of the drug for the treatment of schizophrenia by mid 2007, and Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 01:15 PM | Comments (1)

June 11, 2006

Psychiatric Drugs for Young People

National Public Radio has a good program on the issue of prescribing anti-psychotic drugs to young children. The focus of the program is not people who have schizophrenia (only 1 in 10,000 children develop schizophrenia at a young age), but rather the prescribing of anti-psychotic medications for people who are not diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder - but other disorders that these drugs may help in. NPR says: Doctors are treating more young people with anti-psychotic drugs, according to a new study. And they're not just prescribing the medications for psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and mania, but also Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

Social class and type of schizophrenia

A new research study done in the US by researchers at Villanova University and published this month in European Psychiatry covered the issue of social class and schizophrenia. The study reported that current and past research strongly indicates a high prevalence of schizophrenia in the lower income class in the USA and other stratified societies. To date, no study has tested for a connection between type of schizophrenia and socioeconomic status. The researchers therefore tested for an interrelationship between schizophrenic subtype, socioeconomic status and race. The results of their study indicated a distinct increased risk for deficit schizophrenia to be Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:20 PM | Comments (6)

20% of people with Schizophrenia will get Diabetes?

In a very informative story printed in today's New York Times, they state that "Among the mentally ill, roughly one in five people appear to develop diabetes - about double the normal rate." Diabetes is a known risk factor with schizophrenia - and is linked to the side effect of the medications, as well as to the tendancy for an innactive life style and poor eating and nutritional habits. The take home message for anyone who has schizophrenia, as well as their family members, is to work towards a health diet - avoid the sugar-filled sodas, candies and junk food Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:49 PM | Comments (1)

June 09, 2006

New medication in testing for Cognitive Impairment in Schizophrenia

This week a small drug company announced that they were entering early preliminary testing of a new potential drug for treatment of the cognitive impairment that is common in schizophrenia. Predix Pharmaceuticals has initiated a Phase I clinical trial in 18 healthy adult male and female volunteers to study the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of PRX-07034, a serotonin 5-HT6 antagonist being developed for the treatment of obesity and also for cognitive impairment (associated with Alzheimer's disease or schizophrenia). "PRX-07034 is the fourth novel drug candidate emerging from our discovery platform and progressing rapidly into human clinical trials," said Michael G. Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:00 PM | Comments (4)

June 08, 2006

Sisters and Brothers of people who have schizophrenia

There is a special radio documentary focused on the challenges that the sisters and brothers of people who have schizophrenia face. A good program for parents and siblings - its available for listening now. Here is the web page where you can listen to the radio documentary: A Burden to Be Well: Sisters and Brothers of the Mentally Ill Following are the details: June 2, 2006; Amherst, Mass. - 88.5FM WFCR, NPR News and Music for Western New England, will broadcast a half-hour documentary, "A Burden to Be Well: Sisters and Brothers of the Mentally Ill." The documentary, produced and Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:32 PM | Comments (2)

Free Online Game to Reduce Social Stress, Improve Self Esteem

As we've reported in the past, research indicates that people who have schizophrenia are more likely to suffer from social stress and have difficulty interpreting facial expressions. Additionally, research is suggesting that if you can lower the levels of social stress then people who have schizophrenia will be less likely to relapse, and more likely to have good outcomes. There have also been research that suggests that children who have lower social stress have a lower risk of developing schizophrenia. There is a new free internet-based game that has been developed by psychiatric researchers at McGill University in Canada. The Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:12 PM | Comments (4)

Nicotine-like drug showing positive benefits in schizophrenia

We've reported previously on how research has shown that nicotine helps people with schizophrenia with concentration and thought processes (though smoking cigarettes is the worst possible way to get nicotine and is never recommended - see our special report for details on less harmful means of using nicotine). We've also reported on new companies that are focused on developing drugs that provide the benefit of nicotine (or even more benefits than nicotine), but without the negative health effects that nicotine and cigarettes have (one such company is Targacept). Now a new drug that has nicotine-like properties, called DMXB-A, has shown Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2006

New Blog - Brain imaging research on inter-personal stress

We have a new blogger that has just started - but instead of it being a family member of person who has schizophrenia - its a schizophrenia researcher (technically a "research assistant") who is working in England (the University of Manchester clinical psychology department to be precise). Angela Rylands is doing brain imaging research on interpersonal stress and how it relates to schizophrenia. This is a very interesting and active area of research these days. Increasingly research seems to suggest that social stress may play a significant roll for some portion of people who have schizophrenia - either as a Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:41 PM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2006

US Congressmen took $50 million in free trips & Why Health Insurance is So Poor in the USA

A new independent, non-partisan study today announced that US congressmen and their assistants have taken about $50 million of trips paid for by special interests (corporations & lobbyists) with many trips to popular vacation destinations such as Paris, Hawaii and Italy. Many people are viewing these "fact finding trips" as thinly disguised payments for special favors for corporations and other special interest groups - and provide examples such as the regulations that allow very limited mental health insurance coverage (or non-existent health insurance) which increases insurance companies profits at the expense of driving up costs for families that can least Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:17 PM | Comments (2)

June 01, 2006

Prenatal Exposure to Maternal STDs Raises Risk of Schizophrenia

This is additional coverage of a schizophrenia research paper we initially reported on in May that links maternal infections (sexually transmitted disease in this case) to a much higher (5 times higher) risk of the child getting schizophrenia later in life. Interestingly, another recent paper identifies the potential mechanism by which the increase risk is being transfered to the child. Of course this is just one of a number of important pregnancy factors that have been linked to increased schizophrenia risk for the child. These studies strongly support the importance of pre-pregnancy health and pre-natal physical health check-ups for the Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:21 PM | Comments (17)

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