May 31, 2007

The Case for Early Treatment of Schizophrenia

Dr. Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD, presenting at the American Psychiatric Association 2007 Annual Meeting discussed the role of intervention during the early phase of schizophrenia (called the "prodrome") that may be possible in the cases in which schizophrenia develops when the person is 15-25 years of age (the most common period for schizophrenia to develop, though women tend to get schizophrenia slightly later than men). Dr. Lieberman describes schizophrenia as a neurodegenerative process that is not as complete as in Alzheimer's disease but in which patients can never-the-less live with chronic disability from negative and cognitive symptoms. Schizophrenia is believed Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 06:45 AM | Comments (2)

May 30, 2007

More Patients on Atypical Antipsychotics Should Be Monitored for Possible Metabolic Side-Effects

The good news is that most patients on atypical antipsychotics are being monitored for potential metabolic adverse side effects. The bad news is that approximately 30% still are not. According to a group presenting at the American Psychiatric Association 2007 Annual Meeting, antipsychotic medications can have significant adverse effects on weight, girth, blood pressure, lipids, and glucose metabolism, which often lead to life-threatening diseases. Recommended tests for monitoring potential adverse metabolic side-effects include glucose, blood pressure, girth and weight, cholesterol (total, HDL and LDL), and triglycrides. Findings presented showed that psychiatrists check at least one measurement for metabolic side-effects more Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 05:30 AM | Comments (2)

May 29, 2007

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science

There is a good review in the New York Times of the new book called "The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science" written by the Canadian psychiatrist Norman Doidge (who does work at Columbia University in NY). While this book is not specifically about schizophrenia - it provides hopeful stories and background information on the science of brain regeneration (called neuroplasticity) which provides hope for individuals and families that suffer from schizophrenia. In the review, New York Times writer Abigail Zuger, M.D. reports that the book is a fascinating synopsis of the Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:52 PM | Comments (2)

May 28, 2007

Young Child Mental Health - The Importance of Early Treatment

Increasingly psychiatrists and psychologists are finding through research that early childhood risk for many mental health problems like autism and ADHD (as well as more serious mental illness such as schizophrenia) can be identified, treated and even prevented with certain behavioral and psychological treatments at an early age. The Philadelphia Enquirer newspaper has a good story on this progress and the importance of identification of mental health in children. One interesting part of the article was a quote that summarizes the importance of how environment and genes are now known to interact to result in mental illness: "An Institute of Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 04:43 PM | Comments (1)

May 27, 2007

UK Issues Warning About Fake Zyprexa 10mg Tablets

The United Kingdom (UK) Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), an executive agency of the Department of Health in the UK, has issued a press release warning its citizens using Zyprexa (olanzapine) of the existence of three counterfeit batches of Zyprexa 10 mg tablets. Be on the look-out for the following batch numbers, (or one of these numbers with a prefix or suffix): A229505A200127A216454 Here is what the MHRA has to say: The MHRA has issued a drug alert to recall this product from the market, to minimise the risk to patients. To date, it is believed that two Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 07:45 AM | Comments (2)

May 25, 2007

"Well Sibling" Syndrome: Siblings of the Children With Severe Mental Illness

When a child has a severe psychological or psychiatric disorder such as bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, or schizophrenia, strain is placed on the entire family. An inordinate amount of time, energy and commitment is made on the parents' part in order to care for the ill child. The well brothers and sisters of the ill child can be directly affected emotionally, and even physically, by the behaviors of the ill child. Dealing with physical threats and abuse at the hands of their ill brother or sister, they may be left feeling emotionally battle-scarred. And because of the drain on their Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 08:45 AM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2007

Schizophrenia Treatment Goal Can Go Beyond Simple Maintenance

Some doctors are saying that although there is not yet a "cure" for schizophrenia, "remission" or "recovery" are valid treatment goals. The idea that the prognosis (predicted outcome) for all people with schizophrenia is universally poor is being increasingly challenged. Criteria for "remission" have been developed to which improvements in pharmacologic, psychosocial, and psychotherapeutic treatments can be measured against. One article in Schizophrenia Source reports on findings from researchers looking at some naturalistic data for people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder using the remission criteria. The remission criteria is based on having low severity of symptoms that is sustained over Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 05:40 PM | Comments (7)

May 22, 2007

Is the Mental Health System Racist?

MindHacks - the blog that focuses on new research related to the brain and mind - reports today on the topic of racism and mental health. While the focus is on issues in the UK - the message is something that is probably applicable in most countries that have significant numbers of people from different races. This question is particularly relevant because of the evidence that indicates that the social stress of immigration, as well as prenatal stress and prenatal nutrition - are significant factors in increasing risk of schizophrenia. Given the high levels of poverty in immigrant communities (and Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:57 AM | Comments (5)

May 21, 2007

"Glutamate Receptor Regulator" Studied to Treat Schizophrenia

According to phase 2 clinical trial data presented by Eli Lilly at the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research in Colorado Springs in April, a "metabotropic glutamate receptor agonist" medication that it is working on may be able to help reverse some of the cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia. The effects seen gives some researchers hope that the drug may even be an alternative to the Dopamine D2 receptor antipsychotic medications currently on the market although it is much too early to make that determination. Being an "agonist" means that it enhances the receptor's ability, as opposed to blocking it. Glycine Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2007

Test to Detect Gene Variant Responsible for Cannabis-Induced Schizophrenia

Scientists in the United Kingdom are working on a marketable test to determine if a person is a carrier of a gene which would put them at a greatly increased risk of cannabis / marijuana-induced schizophrenia. The gene type was isolated by researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. It is believed to increase the risk of becoming ill from the use of cannabis by five times. Currently, we have only been able to put members of families with a history of schizophrenia into the category of being at greatest risk of developing a mental illness from the drug. Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 05:15 AM | Comments (1)

May 18, 2007

A Call for Community Action During Schizophrenia Awareness Week: May 20-26

This Press Release was issued by the National Schizophrenia Foundation (United States). Schizophrenia Awareness Week: May 20-26, 2007, Realizing Recovery, Shattering Stigma The National Schizophrenia Foundation (NSF) is looking for others to help "shatter the stigma" by participating in this year's Schizophrenia Awareness Week (SAW), May 20-26, 2007. Community Action Kits with event ideas and tools are available by calling (800) 482-9534, extension 101; or Kit contents can be downloaded HERE. This years observance emphasizes candle-light vigils, to be held May 24 at 7pm EST; and a major effort to obtain governors' proclamations in each state. SAW is an annual Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 01:20 PM | Comments (4)

Seroquel XR (Extended-Release) Approved for Schizophrenia

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate) XR extended-release tablets for the treatment of schizophrenia. Seroquel XR is a product of AstraZeneca. The new extended-release formulation of Seroquel is intended as a once-daily medicine for the treatment of schizophrenia in adult patients. The company says that the Seroquel XR development program was based on the needs of patients and physicians for a wider choice of medicines that offer convenient once-daily dosing. With Seroquel XR, patients can achieve a dose within the recommended range as early as the second day of treatment. The FDA approval was Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 10:15 AM | Comments (2)

May 17, 2007

U.S. Health System Is a 'Mess' Says NIH Ethics Expert

A leading ethicist at the National Institutes of Health this week stated that the U.S. health care system is "a dysfunctional mess" and politicians who insist otherwise look ignorant. "If a politician declares that the U.S. has the best health care system in the world today, he or she looks clueless rather than patriotic or authoritative," Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel wrote in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association. Dr. Emanuel noted that Americans' average life expectancy of 78 ranks 45th in the world, behind Bosnia and Jordan. And the U.S. infant death rate is 6.37 per 1,000 live births, higher Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:59 PM | Comments (1)

Social Stress Associated with Immigration Identified as a High Risk Factor for Schizophrenia

A new study has found an increased risk for schizophrenia among first-generation and second-generation immigrants and found a particularly high risk for immigrants from countries where the majority of the population was Black. Researcher studies done in the past have suggested that the prenatal and social stress, racism and poverty that has been a common experience for people that immigrate (especially those who's skin color doesn't match that of the new majority of people in the new country) results in higher rates of mental illness. Many researchers are also studying the effect of prenatal stress in the role of prediposing Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:08 PM | Comments (1)

NARSAD Announces 245 New Grants for Neuropsychiatric Research

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
NARSAD: The Mental Health Research Association announced this week that they had just completed awarding 23 Distinguished Investigator grants and 222 Young Investigator reearch grants for 2007. The awards, which represent more than $15 million in new grantmaking, will be used to support brain and behavioral research that offers the potential of breakthrough findings on serious mental illnesses. To see the new research into schizophrenia that will be supported with these grants, scroll down to the list of interesting studies. NARSAD is the world’s largest donor-supported charity dedicated to funding innovative scientific research on psychiatric disorders of the entire life Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:29 PM | Comments (1)

Emory University Awarded Grant for Schizophrenia Gene Research

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Emory University School of Medicine a $3.6 million research grant to test patients with schizophrenia for a recently discovered variation in the human genome. The project is led by Stephen T. Warren, PhD, Timmie Professor and chair of the Department of Human Genetics. Schizophrenia is a severe and common psychiatric disorder that has a strong genetic predisposition. Despite the knowledge that genetic changes can lead to the disorder, however, few genes have been identified. Recently, scientists have discovered an entirely new and previously unknown Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 01:00 PM | Comments (3)

May 16, 2007

"Metabolomics" to be Used to Study Schizophrenia And its Treatment

Antipsychotic drugs do most of their work in the brain, but they also leave behind in the bloodstream a trail of hundreds of chemicals that may be used in the future to direct better treatment for schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions, say Duke University Medical Center researchers. The study is among the first to use metabolomics -- the measurement of thousands of chemical byproducts of the body's cellular processes -- to look at a psychiatric disease and its response to therapy, according to the researchers. "Doctors draw blood every day to look at metabolites such glucose and cholesterol and determine Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 07:30 AM | Comments (1)

May 15, 2007

New Theater Production "IMPERFECTLY Sane - Delusions of Splendour" (Australia)

"IMPERFECTLY Sane - Delusions of Splendour" is a new theater piece playing in Canberra, Australia at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre on Friday, May 18, and Saturday, May 19, at various times. This seems like a great way to provide high quality educational entertainment for the public, while helping remove stigma, and creating funding for mental health groups -- all while providing a valuable activity for people who have schizophrenia. We hope NAMI, Schizophrenia Society of Canada, and other groups will take notice and create similar plays. The play description reads: "Mental illness doesn't discriminate by who you are or your Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

Blood Test for Schizophrenia Offered

In March we covered the research that found four "unique and statistically significant" subgroups of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder patients based on their gene expression profiles. This week the company working on this research - Curidium Medica, based in London, UK, announced that they are developing a blood-based diagnostic test for the different schizophrenia and bipolar disorder subgroups that they believe they have identified. This blood test is, it sounds, targeted more at commercial developers of new drugs, and health care providers (to help them identify the best medication match for a given person), rather than consumers to use themselves. Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:56 AM | Comments (7)

New Job Programs for People with Schizophrenia Sought in Australia

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping
Professor Vaughan Carr, a mental health researcher in Australia, says the number of job opportunities for schizophrenia sufferers could be tripled if more state and Federal Government funding was made available. The issue is one of many being raised as part of Schizophrenia Awareness week which is under way in Australia. Professor Carr from the Brain and Mental Health Research Centre says between 50 and 60 per cent of people with the illness are employable, if the right programs are in place. "Currently about 15 to 20 per cent are employed either full or part-time - we think that those Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2007

Study Suggests that Aspirin May Lower Schizophrenia Risk

New research suggests that aspirin and ibuprofen use by male teens may offer some protection against developing schizophrenia. Caution should however be taken in the interpretation of this because its early research (one study), its only a retrospective analysis of schizophrenia incidence rates, and because excessive aspirin use causes many adverse effects and medical problems (internal bleeding, etc.). In other words - this is interesting research - but too early to draw any firm conclusions from - and not something that anyone should act on yet - though perhaps something to discuss with your doctor if you have a very Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 03:34 PM | Comments (1)

Progress Towards Identifing Schizophrenia Risk in Children

New research conducted by a schizophrenia research team from Quebec, Canada suggests that significant progress toward finding a way to determine whether a child is likely to one day suffer from bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. The findings where presented at the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research in Colorado Springs about a month ago. The participants in Dr. Maziade's study — a group of 45 children from families densely affected by schizophrenia or bipolar disorder — had not yet been diagnosed for the diseases. However, they came from families where the prevalence of these illnesses was 15 to 20 times higher Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:41 PM | Comments (3)

New Study on Schizophrena Relapse Prevention -

More than half of schizophrenia patients don't take their medication as directed and a new study will determine whether biweekly physician visits and injectable drugs can change that. "The basic thing we are comparing is whether people who get the injectable medicine will do better either in their symptoms or their functioning and have less relapses over 30 months of treatment," said Dr. Peter Buckley, chair of the Medical College of Georgia Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior. "Compliance with oral medication is such a problem, particularly in people with schizophrenia, that we think the injectable form of this new Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:16 PM | Comments (5)

New Weight Gain Prevention Study for Patients Taking Zyprexa

Obecure, Inc. -- an Isreal-based pharmaceutical company -- has conducted the first initiation visit for its Phase II clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of the company's OBE101 drug candidate for prevention of weight gain in patients treated with Zyprexa, (olanzapine) an antipsychotic medication. The study is a double-blinded, placebo-controlled multicenter trial in about 78 subjects over a period of four months. The study, approved by Health Canada and the central IRB, will be conducted at several psychiatric medical centers across Canada and will start at Penticton, BC. The trial is being conducted with the partial financial support of Eli Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:02 PM | Comments (9)

May 09, 2007

One Man's Experience with Schizophrenia (Video)

While surfing around YouTube this afternoon I came across this video created by a London TV station - where they interview a young man about his experience with schizophrenia - while showing visuals suggest his experiences. Its an interesting and educational short film for people who want to learn more about the experience of schizophrenia. Its probably a good introduction for students studying the topic, or family members trying to understand what their brother/sister or son/daughter may be going through. Click on the video to watch it: Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 05:22 PM | Comments (2)

Early Treatment with Antidepressants May Prevent Schizophrenia

New, but very preliminary, research suggests that we may be able to treat early schizophrenia symptoms (and prevent the development of full-blown schizophrenia) with antidepressant medications. This is exciting news - but of course its too early to tell how valid this study is until additional studies are done to validate the findings. More on this story in a moment - but first a bit of a background information: Schizophrenia typically begins during late teens and early 20s for males (slightly later in females)and is characterized by dramatic misperceptions of reality. Often, there is an early "prodromal" period in which Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 04:36 PM | Comments (4)

Innovative Schizophrenia Research Study Advertisement from Australia

A schizophrenia research group out of Australia is doing some very innovative recruitment and public education ads for a new schizophrenia research study - and its posting them on the Internet where everyone can see them. We hope other research and mental health advocacy groups around the world will follow their lead. In addition to these Ads it would be a great idea for these research organizations wanting to promote their studies to do educational video interviews with the researchers on the topic of their research. In these videos (which would be posted on YouTube) the researchers could cover frequently Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:50 PM | Comments (0)

Possible Schizophrenia Treatment Identified (SUMO)

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
British researchers have revealed in a new study that increasing the amount of small protein called "SUMO" in the brain may eventually be valuable for treating brain disorders such as schizophrenia and epilepsy (though any future drugs based on this new research would be a number of years away). Brain nerve cells called synapses pass information that manages brain function though types of proteins called receptors. This function is supposed to be the foundation for learning and memory. n a healthy brain, synapses can modify how efficiently they work, by increasing or decreasing the amount of information transmitted. Having too Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2007

Cannabis Chemical Studied as Schizophrenia Treatment

There has been a lot of press lately about the danger of Cannabis (Marijuana) causing psychosis and triggering schizophrenia. The main ingredient that is thought to be the trigger for psychosis and schizophrenia is "THC" (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the active ingredient of marijuana which causes the "high". Over the years in an effort to get a stronger and more powerful marijuana drug with a stronger "punch" to it, cannabis has been grown to have an increasingly greater amount of THC. This has been at the expense of a lesser known active ingredient of cannabis - a cannabinoid called Cannabidiol (CBD). Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 07:45 AM | Comments (4)

May 07, 2007

Polypharmacy in Psychiatric Medicine

What exactly is "polypharmacy"? Is it beneficial? Is it harmful? Why would doctors use it? Why not? These are questions frequently raised among patients and families of people with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders struggling to understand the cornucopia of medications often prescribed for complex psychiatric disorders. There is a frank discussion about polypharmacy by Doctors Steven J. Kingsbury and Megan Leahy Lotito on Psychiatric Times that is educational and enlightening. The writers define polypharmacy as "the use of 2 or more medications of the same chemical class or with the same or similar pharmacological actions to treat the same condition or separate Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 07:30 AM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2007

Schizophrenia Researchers Looking for Volunteers in Australia

In one of the most ambitious medical research projects undertaken in Australia for researching schizophrenia, Australian medical researchers at the Schizophrenia Research Institute of Australia are looking for 4,000 initial volunteers - 2,000 with schizophrenia and 2,000 without. They wish to study people using a range of tests, including MRI scans to study the brain's structure, blood sampling for genetic screening as well as detailed psychological testing. The researchers hope to eventually recruit up 10,000 people over the next decade. Professor Vaughan Carr, medical director of the Schizophrenia Research Institute said, "We would like to see scientists of the future Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2007

Different Damage to Same Gene (DISC1) Can Either Increase Risk for Schizophrenia or Depression

Scientists have pinpointed how different types of damage to the same gene can cause some people to suffer from schizophrenia while others develop major depression. The researchers have demonstrated for the first time that malfunction of a gene that had been associated with schizophrenia and depression does indeed cause symptoms of those disorders. They said their findings in mice offer a possible animal model for developing treatments for schizophrenia and depression. Steven Clapcote, David Porteous, John Roder, and colleagues, whose findings were reported in the May 3, 2007 issue of the journal Neuron, published by Cell Press, provide further evidence Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 07:00 AM | Comments (3)

May 02, 2007

New Compounds May Treat Cognitive Dysfunction in Schizophrenia

UC Irvine researchers have identified a new class of compounds that could be used to create drugs for treatment of cognitive disorders that accompany schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease and ADHD, according to an article published in the April 20th issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The compounds target receptors in the brain that are activated by nicotine. They impart the beneficial effects of nicotine – specifically enhanced cognition – without the numerous health threats associated with smoking. "We'd like to see this lead to a drug that would address specifically the cognitive deficits found in schizophrenia," said Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:09 AM | Comments (0)

An Integrative Medicinal Approach to Schizophrenia Studied

Integrative medicine combines a scientifically-based approach to treatment that uses proven conventional medical and pharmaceutical treatments alongside other therapeutic practices (such as nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, lifestyle changes, etc.) for maximum benefit. Sometimes referred to "complementary", these additional approaches are used to augment or "complement" the benefits derived from "mainstream" medicinal practices - rather than replacing the treatment (such as augmenting chemotherapy for a cancer patient by using nutritional supplements to shore up the patient's own immune system). A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry performing a systematic review of randomised trials has shown that combining Chinese herbal Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 06:50 AM | Comments (3)

May 01, 2007

Schizophrenia Society of Canada Emphasizes Quality Of Life

The Schizophrenia Society of Canada and the Provincial Schizophrenia Society chapters in Canada are working together to promoting improved quality of life for individuals and families affected by schizophrenia through education, support programs, public policy and research. For 24-year-old Tammy Lambert, the key to managing her mental illness is addressing all facets of her life rather than centring only on the illness. Diagnosed with depression with psychotic features at age 14, Ms. Lambert spent the next several years in and out of hospitals and treatment centers. Her diagnosis changed over time, first to bipolar and then finally to schizoaffective disorder. Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 07:45 AM | Comments (2)

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