December 31, 2006

Uncovering an Epidemic - Screening for Mental Illness in Teens

The New England Journal of Medicine has a good article on the importance of mental health screening at a young age. This is an important issue because -- like most serious illnesses -- the sooner that a mental illness gets treated, the better the outcome. Many adults do cancer screening of some sort - but the need for early identification and treatment children for mental illness is much higher, yet gets much less attention. The NEJM article mentions: "We know from the National Comorbidity Survey that half of all serious adult psychiatric illnesses — including major depression, anxiety disorders, and Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 05:01 PM | Comments (1)

New Group Home in Seattle - To Offer a New Kind of Life For Five Women

Read more... Schizophrenia Housing
There is a good story in the Seattle Times this week. A new kind of home will offer a new kind of life for 5 women with mental illness. They'll run the household and eventually be expected to go to school, get jobs or do volunteer work. The story notes: Hofmann House for Women is a new kind of home for people with mental illness, who more often live with their parents, on the streets or in transitional housing with mental-health care but no roadmap for building independent, self-supporting lives, said Frank Jose, executive director of NAMI Greater Seattle. NAMI Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)

Nathaniel Anthony Ayers Gets a Place to Show Off His Gifts

The Los Angeles Times today has another excellent story by Steve Lopez about Nathaniel Anthony Ayers - the Juilliard-trained musician who because of his schizophrenia ended up on Skid row in Los Angeles. It is a good example of the positive developments that can happen in the lives of people who have schizophrenia - with a little support from the community. We thank Steve Lopez, the LA Times, and the Lamp Community for this hopeful story and their support of people with mental illnesses. The LAMP Community is the organization that supports Mr. Ayers. Each night, more than 88,000 homeless Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2006

Strategies for Addressing Denial and Lack of Insight in Mental Illness - Dr. Xavier Amador Video

In this new Internet video (below), Dr. Xavier Amador, the Columbia University psychology professor (and author of "I am not Sick, I don't need help") speaks on how families can deal with the common challenge of when a person who is mentally ill does not recognize that they have a mental illness (a problem called "lack of insight" or "Anosognosia"). Information is provided on the science behind this common symptom of mental illness, and suggestions are provided for how to overcome these challenges. Special thanks to Dr. Amador and the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia, Canada for providing this video. Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:13 PM | Comments (2)

Some Counties Try Mental Health Courts

In an effort to offer nonviolent offenders with significant mental illnesses treatment rather than incarceration, and at the same time deal with overcrowded prisons and jails while still protecting public safety, Tulsa County court officials have joined a growing trend and developed a "Mental Health Court". This article, appearing in the Tulsa World news, quotes District Judge Rebecca Nightingale as saying that these Mental Health Courts would focus on people whose "criminal behavior is a byproduct of the mental illness." The article goes on to say that Defendants who want to participate must be competent for court purposes but also Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 01:01 PM | Comments (0)

December 26, 2006

Officers Gain Insight From Volunteers With Mental Illness

Thanks to volunteers who themselves have mental illnesses, Kansas City police officers, under a 3-4 times per year training program begun five years ago, have gained the insight to safely handle crises and defuse potentially dangerous situations involving individuals with mental illnesses. An article in the Kansas City Star describes how volunteer auxiliary officer Dupree Chavez and others, have helped train officers how to not make bad situations worse. One piece of advice Chavez has given officers is that a calm approach is more effective when dealing with a person with a brain disorder than going in yelling. Dupree Chavez, Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 04:15 AM | Comments (0)

December 24, 2006

New York Approves Insurance Parity Bill

New York's Governor George Pataki signed into law a bill known as Timothy's Law which was to mandate that health insurance providers provide coverage for mental health and substance abuse services that is "on par" with all other health care services covered under that policy. However, coverage that would have mandated treatment for alcohol and drug addiction was removed from the bill. Detractors of the law have stated that demanding insurance parity will raise insurance premiums, however, studies have shown that the increased cost is actually minimal, with advocates of Timothy's Law citing a mere additional $1.26 per person per Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

Bristol-Myers Settles in Pricing and Ethics Scandals

The Independent (London) reported this week that Bristol-Myers Squibb pays $499 Million fine to settle mis-selling charges. The UK Paper stated: Bristol-Myers Squibb, the drug company which fired its chief executive in September after a string of ethics scandals, will pay a fine to avoid criminal charges that it overcharged the US government for medicines. The company said yesterday that it had reached an agreement with the district attorney of Massachusetts "to settle several investigations involving the company's drug pricing, and sales and marketing activities". Federal authorities have spent several years examining a series of allegations against BMS's sales-force. This Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 08:54 AM | Comments (1)

December 22, 2006

Blink Rate and Dopamine Levels

High dopamine levels are believed to be one of the key factors that play a role in the development of schizophrenia. In the following story Graduate student (pursuing a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience) Chris Chatham describes the interesting phenomenon that eye blink rates seem to be tied to the level of dopamine in a person's brain, and that "Studies with human children show elevated eye-blink rate among unmedicated children with ADHD, schizophrenia, epilepsy, as well as those with autism." We know of no practical value of this information - but it is interesting. Read the article: Eyes, Window to the Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 12:00 PM | Comments (2)

December 21, 2006

Schizophrenia & Psychosis - Ways to Speed Recovery and to Prevent a Recurrence

The following document is a handout that is used at the University of California, San Francisco program for early psychosis and schizophrenia treatment. This document was originally developed by the PIER program at Maine Medical Center. It is something that is given to all family members and individuals that join the treatment program. Feel free to print it out and pass it out to anyone you think might benefit from it. Schizophrenia & Psychosis - Ways to Speed Recovery and to Prevent a Recurrence There will be a fair amount of uncertainty about causes and outcome, but providing treatment quickly Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 04:35 PM | Comments (11)

Schizophrenia Risk Rises When Child Has ADHD Plus Relative With Disorder

This past summer we met a pediatric schizophrenia researcher who mentioned that in his experience (and in at least some specific populations) childhood ADHD was a reasonably strong risk factor for a person developing schizophrenia later in life. Lately, while doing searches as we regularly do to find news for this site and have come up with a number of related, interesting articles. In a news item that came out a few years ago it was noted in Psychiatric News that "Having trouble paying attention is no small problem for youngsters diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But for those who Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:22 PM | Comments (6)

Make Silver as Recognizable as Pink, Red or Yellow

How often in the course of a week do you see a pink ribbon, a red ribbon, or a yellow ribbon? Can you name or explain what each of these ribbons signifies? Have you thought of how much your awareness of the issues these ribbons represent has been increased? Do you know how valuable the pink and red ribbon campaigns have been for raising funds for research and advocacy, not to mention their overall effect on raising awareness? Very valuable. Now. Have you heard of the Silver Ribbon? Have you seen one when out and about (and we’re not talking Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:20 PM | Comments (4)

Accepting the Reality of Unreality (Lack of Insight in Schizophrenia)

In this ABC Radio National (Australia) audio interview with renowned psychologist Xavier Amador, author of "I'm Not Sick, I Don't Need Help", the problem with trying to convince someone with a psychotic illness that they're sick and need treatment is discussed. No single answer is given - no "magic bullet" - other than making connections with individuals. Dr. Amador discusses the "3 A's" - Apologize, Acknowledge, and Agree to disagree. Also discussed are those cases of schizophrenia that are not helped by medication and that are perceived to be founded in abuse or trauma. Included in the broadcast are interviews Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2006

Abnormal Proteins Linked to Schizophrenia Found in Body Tissue

A new study suggests biochemical changes associated with schizophrenia aren't limited to the central nervous system and that the disease could have more encompassing effects throughout the body than previously thought. The findings, scheduled for publication in the January 2007 issue of the American Chemical Society's Journal of Proteome Research, could lead to better diagnostic testing for the disease and could help explain why those afflicted with it are more prone to type II diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and other chronic health problems. Researcher Sabine Bahn, M.D., Ph.D., and her colleagues at Cambridge University in England and the University of Cologne Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:22 PM | Comments (7)

FDA Approves J&J Antipsychotic Named "Invega"

The Food and Drug Administration approved a new schizophrenia drug from Johnson & Johnson called "Invega" this week. The Wall Street Journal stated that the new once-a-day pill "is derived from Risperdal, another drug used to treat schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, which is Johnson & Johnson's best-selling product, with $3.55 billion in revenue in 2005. Generic Risperdal, or risperidone, could be on the market as early as 2008." Invega will be available in US pharmacies next month, Johnson and Johnson said. A schedule for availability in other countries was not provided by Johnson and Johnson. A J&J company spokesman Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:14 PM | Comments (6)

Some With Mental Illness May Get Homes

As a result of the 2004 Mental Health Services Act which requires California's mental health departments to increase services and housing to people with severe mental illness, a move was made in San Luis Obispo County (California) to help meet the #1 most urgent need - affordable housing. The county has contributed $350,000 towards the purchase of a $1.2 million apartment building with nine two-bedroom units. Six of these units will go exclusively, for twenty years, to house adults participating in the county's mental-health programs. Some people who qualify for the housing are currently homeless or living with aging parents. Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

Minor Physical Anomalies May be Biomarker for Childhood Schizophrenia

Nearly 30 years ago in her book, Childhood Schizophrenia, Dr. Shiela Cantor described the numerous, sometimes subtle, physical anomalies that have been found in a significant percentage of very young children diagnosed with schizophrenia. Researchers have continued to investigate the development of a scale of physical anomalies as a potential biomarker of schizophrenia risk. In an effort to create a more effective biomarker scale, using 218 people with schizophrenia compared with 228 controls, researchers from Japan started with 11 items from the Waldrop scale of physical anomalies weakly associated with schizophrenia, and further studied anomalies not on that scale. The Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 07:22 AM | Comments (4)

December 19, 2006

Chronic Health Problems Plague Many With Schizophrenia

More than 46 common chronic health conditions, including cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological, and endocrine diseases, appear at a much higher rate in people with schizophrenia than in the population of people without mental illness. In fact, when looking at a rather young age group of people with schizophrenia (average age of 40), one third already suffered from non-psychiatric disorders requiring medical care. These results from a large study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), released from Indiana University (IU), emphasized the need for greater awareness of the high levels of co-occuring physical illnesses in people with schizophrenia as Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2006

Is Psychological Therapy Effective for Schizophrenia?

An overview of the following journal article: (2006) Efficacy of psychological therapy in schizophrenia: conclusions from meta-analyses. Schizophrenia Bulletin. What is Meta-Analysis Meta-analysis is a statistical procedure that combines findings from independent studies. Because meta-analysis assigns different weights to studies depending on their size, it can provide accurate estimates of overall treatment effect. It is often difficult to draw practical conclusions from small-or medium-scale clinical trials. By integrating results in a systematic and impartial way, more coherent results are often evident. Why is this review of interest? Because of challenges associated with clinical research of psychological interventions (i.e., funding, subject Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:10 PM | Comments (0)

Generic Wellbutrin XL Approved

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first generic version of Wellbutrin XL (Bupropion hydrochloride) Extended-Release Tablets, which is indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). In 2005, Wellbutrin XL, produced by GlaxoSmithKline, was the 21st highest-selling brand-name drug in the United States with sales exceeding $1.3 billion. Anchen Pharmaceuticals Inc, of Irvine, California holds the license to manufacture the generic Bupropion Hydrochloride Extended-Release Tablets. They are producing the medication in 150 mg and 300 mg tablets. Generic drugs now account for over 50 percent of all prescriptions sold in the United States. About issues Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 01:40 PM | Comments (1)

Eli Lilly Said to Have Down-played Zyprexa Diabetes Risks

The New York Times reported this past weekend that "Indianapolis-based drug maker Eli Lilly and Co. has engaged in a decadelong effort to downplay the health risks of Zyprexa, its best-selling medication for schizophrenia, according to hundreds of internal Lilly documents and e-mail messages among top managers. The documents, given to The New York Times by a lawyer representing mentally ill patients, show Lilly executives kept important information from doctors about Zyprexa's links to obesity and its tendency to raise blood sugar -- known risk factors for diabetes. Lilly's own published data, which it told its sales representatives to play Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:06 AM | Comments (2)

December 15, 2006

Hypothyroidism and Psychiatric Illness

Symptoms of hypothyroidism can mimic, or be intertwined with, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression. Treating an underlying thyroid problem is critical to alleviating the associated psychiatric symptoms. The first hurdle to treating underlying hypothyroidism is in its diagnosis. An article in Current Psychiatry Online focusing on the psychiatric presentation and diagnosis of hypothyroidism explains the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid endocrinology involved, psychiatric presentations, testing and treatment, including the treatment in conditions considered “sub-clinical”. Although in general practice, testing for hypothyroidism is usually limited to the testing of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), the article’s author, Dr. Thomas D. Geracioti Jr, MD calls for more Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 03:00 PM | Comments (4)

Injectable Abilify (Aripiprazole) Now Available

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical announced the launch of Abilify (aripiprazole) Injection, an injectable form of Abilify, for intramuscular use. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved Abilify Injection on 20 September 2006. Abilify Injection, which provides healthcare professionals with ready-to-use single-dose vial (9.75 mg/1.3 mL), provides control of agitation in adults with schizophrenia or bipolar mania within approximately 2 hours independent of sedation. Acute agitation is a common cause of psychiatric emergencies characterized by a range of behaviors that includes excessive motor and/or verbal activity, irritability, uncooperativeness, verbal outburst or abuse and threatening behavior or language. The Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 07:17 AM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2006

Diabetes Screening Process Validated for Patients With Schizophrenia

Data shows a high incidence of hyperglycemia and diabetes among patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder regardless of antipsychotic use. Currently, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) advise that all patients with these disorders be screened with a simple blood test, called a fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test, measuring glucose levels. However, other data has been emerging showing that the FPG test is sometimes insufficient for detecting glucose metabolism abnormalities in this patient population, and therefore some doctors are suggesting that the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), considered to be the "gold standard" test for Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 01:11 PM | Comments (1)

December 13, 2006

Schizophrenia and Quality of Life - Key Factors

The quality of life (QOL) of people living with schizophrenia in France, Ireland, Portugal and Spain was studied and compared in order to learn about the events and circumstances that affect QOL in these countries. The study's findings and discussion, appearing in Medscape, concluded that although each country's resources and care available to the patients differed greatly, the biggest enhancers of quality of life across the board were marital status and income. Other factors found that contributed to an individual's perception of their quality of life were living conditions, gender, education and work status, but in varying and not always Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 03:04 PM | Comments (2)

NARSAD Awards $19 Million in New Grants for Mental Health Research in 2006

NARSAD: The Mental Health Research Association announced today that it recently completed its grant making for 2006, awarding a total of $19 million in new funding for research on the causes, treatment and prevention of severe mental illnesses. The grants should bring new insight to such illnesses as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, autism, eating disorders, and other adult and childhood disorders. The funds support far-ranging research, covering subjects ranging from the genetics of schizophrenia to new treatments for depression. Now in its 20th year of grant making, NARSAD is the world’s largest donor-supported organization dedicated to funding innovative scientific Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2006

Foster Care as a Last Resort to Obtain Psychiatric Treatment for One's Children

Loving parents, desperate to get children the same level of care for severe psychiatric disorders as they could have received for other severe medical illnesses, are often forced to make the ultimate sacrifice - giving the children up to state custody in order to get them the desperately needed care. In many cases, families who do not qualify for Medicaid, but are covered by a private insurer come to learn that conditions falling into the category of "mental health" are not adequately covered by their insurance, presumably because the cost of such care can be quite high. When unable to Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 10:28 AM | Comments (2)

December 11, 2006

Children With Mentally Ill Parents or Siblings - Special Education and Coping Program

The reading and planning materials for an Australian educational program designed for children with mentally ill parents or siblings is now available for download and use by anyone in the world. It is a collection of documents and educational approaches - that may be used together, or independently. As we've reported in the past, Australia seems to be one of the leaders of the effort to prevent mental illness, with a specific focus on children. Earlier this year we covered two stories "Australian Study: Helping Children of the Mentally ill" and "Children with Mentally ill Parents". In these stories we Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:29 AM | Comments (1)

In Spite of Childhood-Onset Schizoaffective Disorder, Nursing Student Triumphs

Brooke Katz, nursing student and author of "I Think I Scared Her: Growing Up With Psychosis" has, since early childhood, overcome many obstacles to achievement. With the support of a loving family and caring doctors, not to mention her own inner strength, she has shed the pounds caused by her medications, got back in shape, started playing soccer in an adult league, and most importantly, has succeeded in attaining her life-long dream of graduating from nursing school. Watch a video of the show here: Interview With Brooke Katz Link here to an article from a show about Brooke Katz from Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 09:20 AM | Comments (3)

San Francisco General Hospital - A Refuge For City's Most Fragile Minds

A well-written story about the San Francisco General Hospital's work to help people with psychiatric disorders appeared recently in the San Francisco Chronicle. The article highlights the challenges that individuals, families and hospital staff face in a large city hospital in the US. The story notes: Among the 350 or so patients jammed into San Francisco General Hospital's beds on most days, the most common diagnosis upon admission is psychosis. Schizophrenia is second, followed by delivery of newborns, HIV, hypertension, pneumonia and depressive disorder. In other words, three of the top seven reasons people are admitted to General are psychiatric. Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2006

Treating Schizophrenia: Pharmacological and Psychosocial Interventions: April, 2007 UK Professional Conference

A professional conference focused on schizophrenia will take place in London, England in April, 2007 - for doctors and nurses who are focused on helping people who have a mental illness. The conference keynote speaker is Robin Murray, the well known UK schizophrenia researcher who is Professor of Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, London. The conference information is as follows: Treating Schizophrenia: Pharmacological and psychosocial interventions 26 Apr 2007 - 27 Apr 2007 Institute of Physics, London For more information see: Treating Schizophrenia: Pharmacological and psychosocial interventions Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2006

American Psychiatric Association Task Force Calls Attention to Increased Risk for Mental Illness From Adverse Childhood Experiences

Earlier in 2006 it was announced that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) would form a special task force to examine the effects of exposure to interpersonal violence in childhood, and its relationship to mental illness. The November edition of Clinical Psychiatry News reports that the task force has made a stern recommendation to the APA. "Traumatic stress in youth is the single most important contributor to later psychiatric morbidity and mortality, and the American Psychiatric Association should make violence and its sequelae a major organizational priority, according to a new report." Furthermore, it stated, "The report of the APA Task Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:37 PM | Comments (0)

Veterans Administration is Underfunding Mental Health Services

The Washington Post reported this week that the money that was allocated to provide mental health services isn't being spent. While the current budget deficits in the US are causing healthcare expenses in all areas to be cut by the government, people with psychiatric illness tend to get hit harder. The Post reported that the "VA launched a plan in 2004 to improve its mental health services for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorders and substance-abuse problems. To fill gaps in services, the department added $100 million for mental health initiatives in 2005 and another $200 million in 2006. That money Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:27 PM | Comments (2)

December 08, 2006

New Moms at Increased Risk for Mental Illness, Should be Screened After Childbirth

A new study covered in Time magazine reported this week that "Danish researchers find that first-time mothers - but not first-time fathers - are at an increased risk for mental disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. The risk is greatest in the first three months following childbirth" The Boston Globe, covering the same study, reported "During the first 10 to 19 days, new mothers were seven times more likely to be hospitalized with some form of mental illness than women with older infants. Compared with women with no children, new mothers were four times more likely to be hospitalized Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 07:11 AM | Comments (8)

December 07, 2006

Ads Target Stigma of Mental Illness in Teens

Its great to see a national public awareness campaign in the area of mental health finally launched - better awareness means faster treatment and better outcomes for individuals and families. The USA Today newspaper reported this week "The federal government is launching a $1 million public service campaign beginning today aimed at reducing the stigma surrounding mental illnesses such as depression and bipolar disorder. Health agencies say millions of U.S. adults go untreated for mental illnesses because they are too ashamed to tell friends and family. The government's campaign will use public service radio and TV ads to encourage young Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:35 AM | Comments (1)

Ohio Senate Backs Coverage for Mental Illnesses

After 18 years of advocacy, a mental-health parity bill in Ohio is on the brink of becoming a reality before the year's end. The Ohio Senate passed a mental-health parity bill requiring some Ohio health-care plans to offer the same coverage for psychiatric illnesses as they do for non-psychiatric illnesses. The House is expected to approve the bill within the next two weeks, making Ohio the 38th state to enact mental-health parity. Advocates for the state's approximately 500,000 residents affected with mental illness had argued for years, "It's unfair for health-insurance plans to offer less coverage for a mental illness Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2006

Brain Scans May be Able to Predict Schizophrenia

The BBC reported today that a new study suggests that"Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans have revealed key changes in the brain's grey matter in a small group before they developed symptoms [of schizophrenia]. The finding suggests tracking these changes over time, combined with traditional assessments, could help doctors to predict illness. The research, published in BioMed Central Medicine, was carried out by the University of Edinburgh." The research indicated a reduction in grey matter in a part of their brain called the inferior temporal gyrus, which is linked to the processing of anxiety. This is early research - so additional Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:59 PM | Comments (2)

Panel Calls for New Paradigm in the Treatment of Schizophrenia

A panel of researchers convening at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) came to the conclusion that a new direction for the development of psychotropic medication is needed. Below is the press release issued by the ACNP identifying historical barriers to the development of more effective medications and the new opportunities we now have to improve how schizophrenia and mood disorders can be treated in the future, thanks in part to the research in molecular biology and the focus on central nervous system (CNS) drug development that act on more than one molecular target. "Leading brain and behavior researchers called Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 12:40 PM | Comments (1)

December 05, 2006

Thanks to Challenge Grant, Every Donation to NARSAD in 2006 Will Be Doubled

There is some good news on the topic of schizophrenia research this December. Every donation made to NARSAD by December 31st will be matched dollar for dollar, raising more money for critical research on psychiatric illnesses, thanks to a challenge grant from the Essel Foundation. People who are considering making a year-end donation to NARSAD will be pleased to know their gift can be doubled, thanks to a challenge grant recently received from the Essel Foundation. The foundation has pledged to match all donations to NARSAD dollar for dollar. Therefore, a contribution of $100, for example, will net NARSAD a Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)

Prescription Medicine Labels Are Often Misunderstood

Commenting on a new study from the University of California and San Francisco General Hospital, Michael Wolf, Ph.D. says that many people, even some with college educations, don't understand label instructions on their prescription medication. This misunderstanding can lead to errors taking the medications. The lower the person's level of English literacy, or the more medications a person takes, the more likely he or she will be to misunderstand the labels. The most common error found was in misunderstanding dosages, such as confusing tablespoon for teaspoon and vice-versa. But another major area which many found confusing was how many times Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

December 04, 2006

If the Drug Works Reasonably Well - Don't Switch

If a patient with schizophrenia has been doing reasonably well, long-term on a medication, switching to a different medication in an attempt to further improve outcome may backfire, so say researchers at Mount Sinai hospital in New York, a conclusion drawn from a large study Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) trial. Switching to a different antipsychotic medication when the one the patient is already on is working relatively well, often made matters worse rather than better. The effects of switching medications early in treatment were not addressed in this study. Suggestions coming from that study include: Physicians should Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 12:59 PM | Comments (2)

December 03, 2006

Is Schizophrenia Psychological Or Biological?

A question we see people frequently discussing at is the nature of schizophrenia (and mental illness in general) - is it a "biological disease" or a "psychological disorder"? This question has largely been settled in the view of most of the researchers and other experts working in the area of neuroscience and psychiatry but there remains a great deal of confusion in the public's mind. Many people seem to think that the theory of "psychological" causes of mental illness has been made entirely obsolete by the theory of "biological" causes of mental illness, but researchers we talk to tell Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:37 PM | Comments (32)

Consumer Reports on Best Drugs for Schizophrenia

Consumer Reports magazine has recently published a review of what they believe are the best drugs for schizophrenia. It seems to be based on all the latest research that has come out on different medications effectiveness (i.e. the CATIE trials). The Consumer reports story suggests: Antipsychotic drugs help many people with schizophrenia live more meaningful, stable lives with fewer – and sometimes no – periods of hospitalization. But they are a highly problematic class of medicines. A sizeable percentage of people with schizophrenia get little or no benefit when they take an antipsychotic while others get only a partial reduction Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:24 PM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2006

Antipsychotic Drug-induced Weight Gain Stopped With Metformin

Antipsychotic drugs are a standard and important treatment for people who have schizophrenia - but the side effects of weight gain and diabetes are something that a significant portion of people also suffer from. Recently, in a new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, David Klein from Cincinnati Children's Hospital tested a well-established (over 20 years on the market) drug that diabetics use to counteract the high blood glucose levels and weight gain called Metformin. In the four month study done in the US, Dr. Klein found that kids on antipsychotic medications gained an average of nearly nine Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:23 AM | Comments (8)

December 01, 2006

Britian's Royal College of Psychiatry Interviews - Podcasts

For our visitors who are already up to speed on schizophrenia basics - and want to learn more, there are some interesting interviews with British schizophrenia researchers in the new podcasts (digital audio files) from the UK's Royal College of Psychiatry. We hope some US universities start to offer more of these podcast interviews by experts in schizophrenia - though already UCLA , Yale University and Harvard University / Massachusetts General Hospital offer some great online videos focused on schizophrenia and related disorders. (Please let us know if you know of other good sources of videos and podcasts). Some specific Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 04:42 PM | Comments (0)

Older Medication May be More Cost-effective for Some People who Have Schizophrenia

A new study analyzing the economic implications of the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) concludes that the older (first generation) antipsychotic medication perphenazine was less expensive and no less effective than the newer (second generation) medications used in the trial during initial treatment, suggesting that older antipsychotics still have a role in treating schizophrenia. The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry on December 1, 2006, was funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The Washington Post reported: Treating schizophrenia with an older, cheaper drug, rather than with heavily promoted newer Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

Lingering Psychiatric Symptoms May be Due to Hyperthyroidism

An article in Current Psychiatry Online focusing on hyperthyroidism discusses the possible pituitary/thyroid involvement in some patients who may have a variety of psychiatric symptoms and suggests a thorough pituitary/thyroid work-up be done on psychiatric patients. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism can mimic those of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Psychiatric symptoms can include psychosis, paranoia, anxiety, social withdrawal, intrusive thoughts of violence or bizarre sexual ideation, cognitive impairment, apathy, depression, mania, irritability and emotional lability. Patients can have subclinical (low level) hyperthyroidism co-existing with the psychiatric conditions or vice-versa. Lithium can be helpful for some patients with mood problems co-existing with subclinical Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 11:00 AM | Comments (4)

$5M to Treat Defendants With Severe Mental Illness Languishing in Florida Jails, But $50M Needed

The Miami Herald newspaper reported that the head of the Florida Department of Children & Families (DCF), Lucy Hadi, under threat of jail time for contempt of court, announced that $5 million dollars had been obtained to provide needed psychiatric hospital treatment for Pinellas County jailed defendants who are currently too ill to stand trial. Previously, the department had cut back $53 million in funding and now another $45 million dollars in funding may still be needed to provide timely care for the defendants with severe mental illness waiting trials. Hadi is accused of approving a decision to ignore judge's Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 07:31 AM | Comments (0)

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