August 30, 2006

Early Psychosis / Schizophrenia Intervention - Internet Video

Working with William McFarlane, MD (a schizophrenia researcher) and the Maine Medical Center PIER program for early psychosis treatment - we are making a number of videos available over the Internet for educational purposes. These videos are recommended viewing for all family members. Early Intervention in Psychosis and Schizophrenia; What You and Your Family Should know. This 32 minute video was created in 2004 and covers the common questions that families have when a person is showing early signs of psychosis or schizophrenia and they begin treatment at an early treatment center. Additionally, a young man describes the first symptoms Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:43 PM | Comments (2)

Schizophrenia Explained - Internet Video

In this 1 hour video, William McFarlane M.D. (a psychiatrist and leading schizophrenia researcher) and other mental health professionals at the Maine Medical Center provide an introduction and overview on the brain disorder schizophrenia. The video was created in 1999 (so its a little out of date), and provides a good overview and answers common questions that family members and students have on schizophrenia. For more information on the Maine Medical Center PIER program for early treatment of psychosis - go to: Click on the Play arrow (just below the video screen) to start the video below. Or go Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:35 PM | Comments (0)

Childcare, Genetics, Epigenetics and Schizophrenia

A radical gene theory gains momentum: 'Epigenetics' researchers say life experiences and nutrition affects gene function. An article by Daniel Tencer of the newspaper Ottawa Citizen (Canada) covers the emerging field of epigenetics, which proposes that there is a "second code" of programming on top of our DNA, a code that -- unlike DNA -- can change during our lifetimes. Following is a summary of the Ottawa Citizen article. In the past half decade, epigenetics researchers have theorized that our diet, the chemicals we are exposed to and even our behavior toward one another can cause changes in the way Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:23 PM | Comments (9)

The Beach Boys - Brian and Murray Wilson, Family Dysfunction and Schizophrenia

News and audio recordings that have just come out on Brian Wilson, the leader of the band "The Beach Boys" - and the news highlights some of the genetic susceptibility and environmental factors that are now believed to contribute to many cases of schizophrenia. The Beach Boys were one of the top bands in the 1960s and 1970s and much has been written about how in his early to mid 20's Brian Wilson had a "breakdown", and then descended into mental illness and drug abuse in the late '60s and '70s, taking less and less of a role in the Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:48 AM | Comments (5)

Marijuana and Schizophrenia - Public Policy Implications

Two new research journal articles came out in the August,2006 issue of the "Canadian Journal of Psychiatry" on the issue of how cannabis (marijuana) use is linked to increased risk of schizophrenia - and what the public policy should be given what they describe as this now generally-accepted fact in psychiatry today. In their research study the schizophrenia researchers state: "Evidence from 6 longitudinal studies in 5 countries shows that regular cannabis use predicts an increased risk of a schizophrenia diagnosis or of reporting symptoms of psychosis. These relations persisted after controlling for confounding variables, such as personal characteristics and Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:04 AM | Comments (17)

August 29, 2006

High School Education Program on Mental Illness (Canada)

The Pembroke Observer (Ontario, Canada) reported this week on a high-school program that teaches students about mental illness - which sounds like a great way to educate people at the age when most mental illness starts. From the sounds of the news story and the web site - this educational program is being rolled out across Canada. The newspaper story says: For the past five years, high school students throughout Renfrew County have been learning about mental illness as part of a four-lesson program aptly named TAMI (Talking About Mental Illness) -- see full resources, training books and more at Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:37 PM | Comments (1)

Bristol-Myers Squibb Announces Orally Disintegrating Tablets (Abilify Discmelt)

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka have announced the US launch of aripiprazole orally disintegrating tablets (Abilify Discmelt) for the treatment of schizophrenia or manic episodes associated with bipolar I disorder. The product is bioequivalent to Abilify oral tablets and provides similar efficacy and safety at the same doses. Abilify Discmelt is available as 10 mg and 15 mg tablets. Some adults with schizophrenia or bipolar mania may have difficulty swallowing tablets or, in institutional settings, may hide pills inside their cheek to later spit them out. ABILIFY DISCMELT tablets are placed on the tongue and disintegrate rapidly upon contact with saliva, Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

Researchers Analyze Brain Changes in Schizophrenia

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
A Wake Forest University School of Medicine team will try to understand what differences exist in the brains of people diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and how the differences may be related to these diseases. Under a five-year, $1,100,000 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, the team will be comparing post-mortem brain tissue from individuals who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder with tissue from normal individuals who had not been diagnosed with these diseases. The principal investigator, Scott E. Hemby, Ph.D., said the research focuses on the brain's temporal lobe, particularly on structures called Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:13 PM | Comments (0)

US Citizens without Health Insurance Climbed to 46 Million in 2005

The Wall Street Journal reported today that "people without health insurance increased to 46.6 million in 2005", an increase of approximately 1.3 million people over the 45.3 million who had no health insurance in 2004. Additionally, "The Census Bureau reported Tuesday that 37 million Americans were living under the poverty line last year -- about 12.6% of the population. That is down from 12.7% in 2004, but census officials said the change was statistically insignificant. The last decline in the poverty rate was in 2000, during the Clinton administration, when it dropped to 11.3%." The Wall Street Journal further commented Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:17 AM | Comments (2)

Mental Illness Doubled in New Orleans after Katrina

The Wall Street Journal reported today that: "A survey of Hurricane Katrina survivors found that the proportion of people with mental illnesses -- from increased anxiety to severe conditions like schizophrenia -- nearly doubled after the storm, confirming widespread belief and anecdotal evidence of a heavy psychological toll. The study, led by Harvard Medical School, also found that thoughts of suicide declined sharply among those with mental illnesses. Harvard said its survey is the most comprehensive to date of the mental-health effects on residents of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama who lived in Katrina's path and whose lives as they knew Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2006

How Schizophrenia Survivors are Offering a Helping Hand

There is a good story in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper (Canada) this week on how people who have schizophrenia are helping their peers. Following is a short excerpt: Mark Callingham beams as he talks about his job as coordinator of a new peer support program at the Royal Ottawa Hospital. The job has given him the chance to connect with people who, like himself, have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. "I'm a survivor of schizophrenia," says Mr. Callingham. "I have an understanding of it that no university degree can give you." Mr. Callingham, 40, was diagnosed 12 years ago with the Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:44 PM | Comments (4)

Theatrical Play on Schizophrenia - "When Time Collapses"

There is a very well-recieved new play that is being performed in the UK and Canada that is focused on schizophrenia. We recommend NAMI chapters (as well as Schizophrenia Society chapters in Canada) bring the play to their cities as an educational fund-raising opportunity. The play is titled "When Times Collapses", and is a powerful play about a teenager's lead-up to his first experience of psychosis. Reviewers have described it as a groundbreaking new play about one family's experiences of schizophrenia. "When Time Collapses" explores the difficulties experienced as a result of the disease, but also offers hope on managing Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:22 PM | Comments (1)

The Long-Term Outlook for Those with Dual Diagnosis is Hopeful

A summary review of "Ten-year recovery outcomes for clients with co-occurring schizophrenia and substance use disorders" By Jennifer Barnett, Post-Doctoral Research Associate, University of Cambridge, Department of Psychiatry Introduction to the study Drug and alcohol abuse are very common among people who have schizophrenia. Regardless of whether or not drug use can cause schizophrenia, people with this serious brain disorder who take illegal drugs and/or abuse alcohol are more likely to have relapses, less likely to respond well to treatment, and more likely to require hospitalization than those who do not. The New Hampshire Dual Diagnosis Study has for the Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:46 PM | Comments (1)

August 25, 2006

Mental Health First Aid Program Initiated in Australia

An innovative new program in Australia called "Mental Health First Aid" highlights the potential to educate people about how to help someone who is starting to experience severe mental illness and needs assistance. This campaign runs mental health first aid courses that teach people the skills they need in an emergency situation with someone who is, for example, suffering from severe psychosis, or early stages of schizophrenia. Full information on the program is available on the group's website with information and advice. Whereever you live, you can educate yourself to help people in crises. The program sounds like a good Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:55 AM | Comments (1)

August 24, 2006

The Impact of Stress on the Brain, and Schizophrenia

A new study summarized on Schizophrenia Research Forum (a web site for schizophrenia researchers) suggests that neuroscientists may be starting to understand how stress contributes to the development of schizophrenia. Researchers have identified how stress specifically changes the brain, resulting in loss of dendrite cells in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, and causing dendrite cell growth in another part of the brain. These changes were accompanied by distinctly different effects on facets of executive function (the part of the brain responsible for decision making) served by these two areas. Schizophrenia Forum reports: Executive function is of particular interest to Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:54 PM | Comments (2)

Update on Glycine as Treatment for Schizophrenia

One of our contributors in Canada -- Marvin Ross -- attended the APA meeting in Toronto in May and sat in on the research presentations focusing on glycine and related amino acid therapies that are being investigated as possible treatments for schizophrenia. Marvin reports, "A novel approach to the treatment of schizophrenia involving glutamatergic neurotransmission and its modulation with simple amino acids is beginning to generate interest among psychiatrists. Not only are more research studies being published in the psychiatric literature but there was an entire workshop on the topic at the most recent meeting of the American Psychiatric Association Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:35 PM | Comments (2)

A New Direction for Schizophrenia Treatments?

The Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI) recently awarded Dr. David Mamo and Dr. Shitij Kapur a CAN$330,000 grant to study l-stepholidine, a compound derived from a naturally occurring Chinese herb called Stephania intermedia. The aim of this positron emission tomography (PET) study is to confirm binding of l-stepholidine to dopamine D2 receptors in healthy human subjects; obtain supporting evidence of its safety and tolerability; and predict effective dosages for future clinical trials in people with schizophrenia. PET imaging has already contributed to our understanding of how anti-psychotics work and led to a better understanding of effective dose range in clinical Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:07 AM | Comments (1)

Biomarker Discovered for Schizophrenia - May Help in Diagnosis

Cambridge University (UK) announced this week that researchers have discovered what they are calling the first biomarker (or biological marker or test) for schizophrenia. The initial study was done with only 54 people - so validation studies by independent research groups with larger numbers of participants need to be performed before we know if this study is completely accurate. As we've reported earlier - there is another reseach group that is working on a blood test for schizophrenia, and other groups working on a breath test for schizophrenia, and an IQ test for schizophrenia. Only time will tell if any Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:43 AM | Comments (2)

August 23, 2006

New Study to Identify People With Schizophrenia who are at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

Source: Medical College of Georgia Press/Marketing release: Dissecting the relationship between schizophrenia and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes has scientists reaching across the Atlantic Ocean. They are looking at people newly diagnosed with schizophrenia in an upper-middle-class Spanish community to find whether the disease that causes patients to hear voices, smell, feel and even taste unreal objects also increases their risk of diabetes. Scientists know the drugs that best control psychosis increase the risk of diabetes. "We know it's the medicine; I'm asking whether it's the disease as well," says Dr. Brian Kirkpatrick, vice chair of the Medical Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:12 PM | Comments (1)

August 16, 2006

Brain Development Gene (OLIG2) Linked as Predisposing Factor in Schizophrenia

A new study finds that a gene related to brain development and function plays a susceptibility role in schizophrenia According to a press/marketing release from Mount Sinai School of Medicine - a new study indicates that variations of a gene related to brain development and function--OLIG2--may play a predisposing role for (making someone more susceptible to) the development of schizophrenia. The study is published in the August 15 issue of Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences. Earlier research suggests that schizophrenia is associated with changes in myelin, the fatty substance or white matter in the brain that coats nerve fibers Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:05 AM | Comments (5)

August 14, 2006

Gene Linked to Brain Growth in Schizophrenia

The New Scientist featured a short article on genetic researcher Hugh Gurling's latest interest in genes and schizophrenia. Gurling tested patients with schizophrenia for mutations in the pericentriolar material 1 (PCM1) gene. Decrease in gray matter volume in the orbitofrontal cortex was found. "This is the first time anybody has been able to separate out a genetic subtype of schizophrenia and show abnormal brain volume and shape correlated with it," says Gurling. PCM1’s role is cell division, and is most active during adolescence; when schizophrenia is diagnosed. Its hypothesized that the mutation in PCM1, and the decrease in gray matter Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 11:50 AM | Comments (4)

August 13, 2006

Podcasts from UK Institute of Psychiatry

There are some audio recordings of talks & debates at the King's College London Institute of Psychiatry that are available for all to download and listen to (special thanks to Teejay for notifying us of these talks). To download and listen to the talks - go here: Psychiatry Podcasts. We hope that other Universities and Psychiatry departments will follow the lead of this school and make downloads of their grand rounds lectures available for the public. Talks and debates at the Institute of Psychiatry include: Antipsychiatry is dead: long live psychiatry | 29 Jun 2005 A Born-Again Brain | 26 Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:05 PM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2006

Hyperthermia Can Be a Serious Risk for Those with Schizophrenia

A 41 year old woman diagnosed with schizophrenia died of hyperthermia (over-heating) in her home last week. Her daughter believes her schizophrenia prevented her from realizing she was too hot, and taking "normal" steps to cool down; like use the fan she had in her apartment, which was not on when they found her. But not only are the symptoms of schizophrenia a danger, but the medications used to treat them can increase risk. People suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder often have distortions of reality, which can include body sensations. This, combined with sensitivity to dehydration due to medications, Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 07:46 PM | Comments (0)

Art Exhibit in Canada to Raise Funds for Schizophrenia

The Ottawa Start, a news web blog for Ottawa, posted about a popular summer event in Strathcona Park raising schizophrenia awareness and funds for research. "Art in Strathcona Park has become one of the area's most popular outdoor summer events. Over 140 of the area's most talented artists and artisans will gather for Art in Strathcona Park, a fundraising and public awareness event sponsored by the Ottawa Chapter of the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario and supported by Mad About the Arts. The public is invited to attend this 6th annual exhibition & sale which will feature a silent auction, performers, Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 07:09 PM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2006

India Film Festival on Schizophrenia

The Hindu, India's national newspaper, featured an article on Frame of Mind's film festival and competition dedicated to erasing mental illness stigma. Frame of Mind is a three day festival taking place October 6-8, 2006 at the Russian Culture Centre in Chennai, India. It is a portion of the International Conference on Schizophrenia (IConS) organized by Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF) in association with Developing Awareness Through Entertainment (DATE). Popular culture, lead by the film industry, has had its hand in displaying negative and highly inaccurate views on schizophrenia. One of the most blatant misconceptions portrayed is that schizophrenia and multiple Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2006

A New Orleans Mental Health Breakdown?

Last week we reported on a British Medical Association study that suggested poverty was a major factor in mental health problems. This week Time magazine reports that there may be a mental health breakdown in New Orleans (and poverty may be a factor): Barbee, a professor at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and director of the Anxiety and Mood Disorders Clinic, sums up the situation with a quote he saw in a local magazine recently: "There's no 'post-' to the post-traumatic stress syndrome in this situation," he says. The stress, in other words, never goes away. "The event is Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

Nicotine-like Drugs for Schizophrenia - Update

This month, MIT's Technology Review magazine touched upon the issue we've identified many times in the past on the site - including in our Smoking, Nicotine and Schizophrenia Special Report - upon the potential for new drugs that mimic the positive impact that nicotine seems to have for people who have schizophrenia. The Technology review reports that: Everyone knows that smoking does good things and bad," says David Lowe, chief scientific officer at Memory Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company based in Montvale, NJ. "We're trying to focus on receptors that mediate the good things." The good things include a positive effect Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2006

Interesting Brain Blogs

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
We've recently run across some interesting "Brain Blogs", or web logs that are focused on brain fitness - that we thought you might find interesting. SharpBrains - is a blog focused on news related to keeping your brain fitness level good. It identifies news related and software and related information that may be of value for people interested in imporoving the health of their brain. This is for general information only - it is not schizophrenia focused. BrainWaves is a web log (blog) focused on neuroscience and brain news. Its very professionally written and covers interesting developments - some of Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:19 PM | Comments (1)

August 03, 2006

One in Ten Children is Suffering Mental Mealth Problems, Poverty a Key Factor (UK)

A recent article out of Scotland (UK) addressed the issues of mental illness prevalence and treatment in children, as outlined in the British Medical Association's recently published Child and adolescent mental health report. Over 125,000 Scottish children require mental health treatment, and this poverty-stricken community (a factor that may increase risk and severity of mental illness, and is labeled as a key cause in this report) relays the message that their treatment must be multidimensional. Anne Clarke, of Headsup Scotland, an Executive-funded task force on children's mental health, said a holistic approach was needed to tackle the issue. "Mental health Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 11:51 AM | Comments (2)

TeenScreen - Some States Order Psychological Tests In Schools

The suicide rate for individuals under 20 years old is 2.14 per 100,000, and 1 in every 12 high school students attempts to harm him/herself every year. These are statistics being outlined in defense of psychological testing in schools. Some feel it is appropriate, while others say it is an invasion of family privacy. Teenscreen, a psychological evaluation system developed at Columbia University, has been administered in 42 states, and Washington DC, to over 150,000 students, and New York plans to begin using this screening on about 400,000 students a year. Because of these overwhelming numbers, individuals, politics, and the Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia Are Pervasive

The Harvard Mental Health Letter this month has a good overview of the current knowledge of "negative symptoms" in schizophrenia. Following is a summary of their article: Many people think of positive symptoms (hallucinations and delusions) when schizophrenia comes to mind. But negative symptoms are maybe more common, detrimental, pervasive, and even have a greater effect on the individual's quality of life. Negative symptoms are described as an absence of normal responses, including: "Inexpressive faces, blank looks, monotone and monosyllabic speech, few gestures, seeming lack of interest in the world and other people, inability to feel pleasure or act spontaneously." Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 10:45 AM | Comments (1)

August 02, 2006

Famine / Schizophrenia link May Yield Clues About Inherited Diseases And Conditions

The University of Washington issued a press release today suggesting that an association between famine and schizophrenia may yield clues about inherited diseases and conditions. The higher risk of schizophrenia among offspring of expectant mothers living through famine could help us understand the genetic basis for that debilitating mental disorder, a group of researchers argue in a commentary piece in the Aug. 2 issue of JAMA. The finding also supports a theory of medical genetics in which diseases and conditions can be caused by hundreds of different genetic mutations in any number of human genes. Epidemiologists have studied two major Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:36 PM | Comments (3)

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