July 31, 2007

Schizophrenia Treatment Is Evolving

Because schizophrenia is considered the disorder toughest to tackle by the psychiatric community; with symptoms that range from troublesome to severe, venturing away from traditional drug only treatments seems to be goal. An article in the Norwich Bulletin, a Connecticut publication, discusses the care of schizophrenia, and includes input from many professionals. "It's one of the ones that psychiatry has made big advances in, but we're not that good at yet. We're darn good at depression, and pretty good at bipolar. We're an awful lot better at treating it than we were 50 years ago," said Dr. Brian Benton, medical Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 11:14 AM | Comments (5)

Researcher Simulates Symptoms of Schizophrenia In People Without The Disorder

University of Missouri-Columbia researchers haven attempted to simulate a symptom of schizophrenia in people who don't have the illness, in hopes of better understanding the disorder and its impact. They simulated - the inability to speak clearly or respond to questions in a precise manner - which is considered a common cognitive deficit in those with schizophrenia. "This study is about working with people who are not schizophrenic and observing whether, under experimental conditions, we could make them act like people with schizophrenia," said John Kerns, assistant professor of clinical psychology in the College of Arts and Science. "In the Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 11:07 AM | Comments (2)

Gene for Left-Handedness Identified, and Linked to Schizophrenia

Scientists have discovered the first gene which appears to increase the odds of being left-handed. The research team believe carrying the gene may also slightly raise the risk of developing psychotic mental illness such as schizophrenia. However the researchers said that left-handed people should not be worried by the links between handedness and schizophrenia as there are many factors that are more important in the development of schizophrenia (see below) and the vast majority of left-handed people will never develop a mental illness. Read the full BBC Story: Gene for left-handedness is found Related Reading: Schizophrenia and Left Handedness To Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)

"Voices" in Schizophrenia Linked to Voice Processing Area of Brain

For the first time, researchers using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have found both structural and functional abnormalities in specific brain regions of patients who have schizophrenia and who experience chronic auditory hallucinations, according to a study published in the August issue of Radiology. "The results showed abnormalities in specific areas of the brain associated with the capacity to process human voices," said lead author, Luis Martí-Bonmatí, M.D., Ph.D., chief of magnetic resonance in the Department of Radiology at Dr. Peset University Hospital in Valencia, Spain. "Developing a clear understanding of the pathological abnormalities associated with schizophrenia is one of the Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:11 AM | Comments (2)

July 30, 2007

Mice with Schizophrenia Created for Research

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland have recently breed mice they believe to have "schizophrenia". This may be the first time an animal model was genetically engineered to have a mental illness - though other researchers have made similar claims. The goal of creating these mice with schizophrenia is to allow scientist the opportunity to develop and test new treatments that can potentially be used in humans someday. This is a common approach for research into human diseases and has resulted in many new therapies for heart disease, obesity, and many more diseases and disorders. Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 11:58 AM | Comments (5)

50 Top Experts Confirm Mental Health Risk of Marijuana / Cannabis

A new study published in the medical journal The Lancet last week says that people who use marijuana are 40% more likely to develop some form of psychosis than are those who just say no, and the risk soars for the heaviest users, with a risk increase of between 50% and 200% for the most frequent users of marijuana / cannabis. The findings by the team at Bristol and Cardiff Universities in the UK, led by Dr Stanley Zammit, said that some 14 per cent of psychotic episodes among young people could be prevented if they avoided the drug. There Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:41 AM | Comments (22)

Anxiety, Depression and Stress During Pregnancy Results in Sensitive Children, Mental Health Problems

A new research study out of the University of Rochester Medical School indicates that a mother's mental stress during pregnancy (caused by depression and anxiety) results in a greater risk that infants and toddlers will not sleep well during the first few years of life, and also results in increased risk of behavioral and mental health problems in these children. The study results were published this month in the academic journal called Early Human Development. These results confirm earlier related research we've reported on that have linked stress during pregnancy with increased risk of mental health and behavioral problems, Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:59 AM | Comments (2)

July 27, 2007

Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Shock Therapy

National Public Radio (NPR) featured a talk show about Electro convulsive Therapy (ECT) or shock therapy that included an interview with some doctors, professionals, and patients who had undergone the procedure. Here, we highlight its relationship to schizophrenia and include the relevant quotes. Who: National Public Radio (NPR) with anchor: Lynn Neary When: July 25, 2007 Wednesday Show: Talk of the Nation 3:00 PM EST “Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Shock Therapy” NEARY: just give us a little sense the early days of electroconvulsive therapy, when it was known as electroshock therapy. Who came up with this idea? Mr. Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 04:57 PM | Comments (1)

July 26, 2007

New GABA-targeted Schizophrenia Medication in Phase II Clinical Trials - BioLineRX

BioLineRx Initiates Phase II Trial of a GABA-Enhanced Antipsychotic Medication Designed for the Treatment of Schizophrenia; Results of Phase IIa Trials Expected Q4 2007. The following news story is about a new medication that is being tested by an Israeli company. The new medication is entering what is called "Phase II" testing of the three-stage FDA new medication approval process. It is still early in the testing process so it is unknown at this time if this medication will pass all these tests and be proven to be both safe and effective. It is, however, important in that it demonstrates Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:23 AM | Comments (1)

July 24, 2007

Drug-Induced Psychosis Indistinguishable from Schizophrenia

A new study by scientists at University of California, MIND Institute covers interesting results related to epilepsy and psychosis based on the glutamate hypothesis. Although the dopamine hypothesis is possibly the most commonly known neurotransmitter theory for schizophrenia, there is also overwhelming evidence that Glutamate plays a part in the disorder. Glutamate's receptor, N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA), is believed to have reduced function, or be “inhibited” in schizophrenia. Much of the support for this theory comes from the reaction many individuals have to drugs that block glutamate at the NMDA receptor. Some of these "street" drugs are pencyclidine (PCP), and Ketamine (Special Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:41 AM | Comments (5)

July 23, 2007

You're Gonna Miss Me - Roky Erickson and Schizophrenia

A movie has recently come out on DVD on the life of Roky Erickson, a successful musician during the 1960s who developed schizophrenia. In a story that echos the life stories of Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett, as well as Fleetwood Mac's Peter Green and The Beach Boy's Brian Wilson - it is a story that is all too familiar in its theme. We have not reviewed the movie so we cannot comment on the accuracy of the story. Roky Erickson was poised to be a huge star, but as his fame grew, so did his notoriety, and his drug intake Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:31 AM | Comments (3)

July 18, 2007

Older and Cheaper Drugs Treat Diabetes Best

People suffering from schizophrenia are at an increased risk for diabetes. Much of this risk has been attributed to medications, lifestyle, weight gain, and lack of holistic treatment. Because of this increased risk, and the fact that diabetes already impacts a large percentage of people -- 18 million Americans or 7% of the population -- understanding the best treatment option is very important. A new review of over 200 studies on diabetes has revealed good news for those in need of medication. This is of particularly good news to people who have schizophrenia because some research suggests that some of Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)

New Understanding of How Flu Virus Exposure During Pregnancy May Increase Risk of Schizophrenia in Child

There is a significant amount of research showing an increase risk of schizophrenia for a fetus that is exposed to influenza (the flu virus). This has often been part of the theory for why certain times of the year for a baby's birth shows increased rates of schizophrenia, the critical developmental period coincides with the flu season. Recently, Paul Patterson a neuroscientist from the California Institute of Technology discusses how this flu virus may be causing schizophrenia and where treatment research should be headed. This is particularly important news because previous research on influenza exposure during pregnancy by Dr. Alan Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 01:17 PM | Comments (2)

July 17, 2007

Family-Focused Therapy with Schizophrenia

Many family therapy pioneers began their work with patient's suffering from schizophrenia. Murray Bowen, possibly one of the most well known frontiers of family therapy began his work with schizophrenic patients. During his time, he actually began hospitalizing entire families so that the "system" could be treated. This was highly innovative therapy, yet much too extreme. Those drastic measures of the Bowen days have paved the way for a newer approach to family therapy with severe mental illness, which some refer to as family-focused therapy. The Wall Street Journal included an interesting piece on how this approach is being used Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2007

Clinical Research Studies on Schizophrenia Recruiting Participants

There are two new research studies recruiting participants at the Clinical Research Unit at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Following is a description of each of the studies: GLAD - Prevention of Postpsychotic Depression with Lamotrigine Who Can Participate? Males or Females between the ages of 18-40 diagnosed with schizophrenia in the past 5 years What is involved? Patients will receive study medication in addition to their current antipsychotic medication. Patients start as inpatients and then move to outpatient visits. 21 study visits over 52 weeks, with each visit not lasting longer than 1.5 hours What will Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

Exercise Stimulates The Formation Of New Brain Cells

Exercise has often been a recommendation of psychotherapists as part of the treatment for depression and other mental illnesses. Exercise has been shown to be as effective as many drug treatments for depression. With exercise, not only is the person becoming active and engaged in something, but a new study explains they are also stimulating new brain cell growth. This new brain cell growth may be where the benefits are coming from. Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 09:32 AM | Comments (5)

July 12, 2007

Chronic Mild Stress During Pregnancy May Increase Risk of Brain Disorders in Child

Research into maternal stress during pregnancy has revealed links to increased risk for a long list of brain disorders and diseases for the child - from lower intelligence, to higher rates of autism and ADHD, as well as higher rates of schizophrenia. (see "The Importance of Low Stress in Brain Development"). Researchers have suggested independently that since stress during pregnancy doesn't directly impact the development of every child, there must be certain genes that predispose people to brain development problems when they are exposed to stress in the womb. Now, in a new study that further validates the importance of Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:14 AM | Comments (3)

July 10, 2007

Coping with Suicidal Behavior (NAMI Video)

Following is another excellent series of videos produced by Paul Komarek for NAMI Hamilton County. The presentation by Dr. Kuykendal covers a summary of all the major suicide risk factors, and a common-sense approach to suicide prevention. Again - we hope other support groups will follow their lead and videotape and make available on the Internet these important educational videos. Please notify us when you hear of these videos becoming available so that we can post them here. The videos below are ideal for parents and siblings of people who are mentally ill. Be sure to watch all four 20-minute Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:04 AM | Comments (1)

Screening for Mental Health an Important First Step to Getting Treatment

A new study out of Brandeis University reveals that health plans rarely require screening for substance abuse and mental health in primary care even though it can be key to improving detection and treatment. Of course, any person knowledgeable about the US health insurance business might also note that by providing early mental health care screening a health insurance company would also increase their short term costs and lower their profits. In contrast, the health insurance companies can maximize their profits if they just delay treatment then kick the person off their health insurance program due to a minor paper Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:05 AM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2007

Post-Pregnancy Psychosis Risk Genes Identified

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
The BBC reported today that researchers at Cardiff University have helped locate the genes which can make women more vulnerable to severe mental illness (called postpartum psychosis or schizophrenia) just after childbirth. The discovery could lead to new treatments for the condition. Women with bipolar disorder are often affected with one in three deliveries followed by an episode of the illness. The story highlights the fact that psychosis and schizophrenia are the result of a genetic or biological predisposition (or risk) that is further increased and ultimately triggered by environmental risk factors. Read the full story: Post-natal psychosis genes Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

Canada and Germany Attempt To Offer Generic Zyprexa

Canadian Federal Court and the German Patent Court, have applied to gain generic rights to the drug Zyprexa. but drug company Eli Lilly, which owns the rights to Zeprexa, have appealed this. Lilly claims that creating a generic substitution will violate copy right laws in these regions. The rulings have no bearing on Lilly's Zyprexa patents in other international markets, nor on the U.S. patent, which remains in effect until 2011 (after which generic versions of zyprexa can be sold). Zyprexa, which treats schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, was Lilly's top drug last year, with worldwide sales of $4.36 billion. Generic Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 08:01 AM | Comments (1)

Cognitive Therapy May Prevent High Risk Populations From Developing Psychosis

A 3-year follow up study on the ability of Cognitive Therapy (CT or CBT) to prevent psychosis in ultra high-risk populations was completed and the article featured in Schizophrenia Bulletin. The study utilized 58 participants considered ultra high risk of having an initial psychotic episode, and administered CT over a 6-month period. The participants were monitored monthly, and followed up over the 3 years. Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 07:27 AM | Comments (4)

State Psychiatric Hospital "A Disgrace"; New One Proposed

Eastern State, a state-run psychiatric hospital in Lexington, Kentucky (U.S.A.) has been called "a disgrace to our state" by executive director Kelly Gunning of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Lexington (NAMI). According to the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper, the problems go beyond the obvious ones that cause discomfort to patients and employees alike, such as the facilities being sweltering hot in the heat of the summer, and icy cold in the winter. A report by an inspector sent to state officials identifies a host of safety concerns including lead paint, asbestos, and sewage leaking into a crawl space. Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 07:10 AM | Comments (7)

July 07, 2007

Predisposition to Schizophrenia May Have Adaptive Benefit to Society

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
Some researchers have suggested that the genes that are linked to increased risk of schizophrenia (and the related bipolar disorder) may also be linked to increased creativity (see links below for more information on this topic). John Nash, Ph.D. is a shining example of the creativity that can come from families that suffer from schizophrenia, but Dr. Nash also has demonstrated a "recovery", which is an idea focusing on "a patient's attributes and aptitudes rather than on pathology". Although he has never been "cured" of schizophrenia, he is considered to be proof that living a fruitful and productive life is Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 11:05 AM | Comments (9)

July 04, 2007

Best Nicotine Solution For People who Have Schizophrenia and Smoke

Over a year ago we published the "Schizophrenia and Smoking Report" that addressed the issue of how people who have schizophrenia and smoked tobacco products could best lower their risk of cancer. One of the lowest cost, lowest risk approaches to nicotine use is the Swedish smokeless tobacco product called SNUS - which is available online from Swedish web sites. This week a new debate on this product has been initiated. On the one hand, it’s definitely less risky than smoking (approximately 90% less risky, say the experts). On the other hand, it would be better if smokers kicked the Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:36 PM | Comments (4)

New Movie - "The Peter Green Story", Rock Musician who Developed Schizophrenia

A new British film has come out on on the life of the UK rock musician Peter Green. Peter Green has been described as one of the world's great guitarists, and was famous as having replaced Eric "God" Clapton in the band called "Blues Breakers" before forming Fleetwood Mac, a band who in 1969 were outselling The Beatles and the Stones combined. The story is quite similar to that of Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd. In addition to Green's success, however, was frequent drug use which eventually it is believed triggered the development of schizophrenia, the treatment for which included Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)

Bifeprunox: New Schizophrenia Medication Phase III Study Results

In May of 2007, pharmaceutical companies Wyeth, Solvay and psychiatric research company Lundbeck reported more recent findings on bifeprunox, a possible new drug for treating schizophrenia that has been in the works for some time now. New research including 6-months of data looked at stabilized adults with schizophrenia using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III study. (basic drug study information). Of course, with all new medications - many side effects don't become well known until many years after launch, so its impossible to say for sure what additional side effects may be caused by a new medication. Bifepronox news has Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 12:09 AM | Comments (6)

July 03, 2007

Cannabis Use and Mental Health

Drug use has been seen as a factor contributing to later life mental health issues. Cannabis, or marijuana, is the most common recreational drug used worldwide. The Current Opinion in Psychiatry featured an analysis of the literature on cannabis and its effects on mental health and cognition. Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)

Violence in Schizophrenia Patients More Likely Among Those with Childhood Conduct Problems

Some people with schizophrenia who become violent may do so for reasons unrelated to their current illness, according to a new study analyzing data from the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials for Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE). CATIE was funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The study was published online on June 30, 2007, in the journal Law and Human Behavior. "Most people with schizophrenia are not violent," said NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D. "But this study indicates that the likelihood of violence is higher among people with schizophrenia who also have a history of other Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:40 PM | Comments (4)

Herbals and Alternative Therapies Used with Anitseizure Medications Should be Monitored by Doctors

Many people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder are prescribed antiseizure medications to alleviate mood symptoms, seizures, migraines, chronic pain, or other problems. Some herbal and simple food supplements can interfere with the working of some antiseizure medications, creating combinations that reduce the antiseizure medication's ability to work or creating unwanted side-effects. Current Psychiatry Online has an article warning that doctors need to know not only which prescription medications other doctors have prescribed, but also which non-prescription herbal and botanical complementary therapies other doctors have the patient on, or are being self-administered. The article claims that about 40% of Americans use Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 07:30 AM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2007

Verbal Abuse Seriously Harms Children's Emotional Development

Research featured in Harvard Mental Health Letter and published in The American Journal of Psychiatry looked at the damage that hostile words, and or yelling can have on a child. They found "words are weapons that can cause lasting wounds, especially when wielded by parents against children. The damage is sometimes more serious and lasting than injuries that result from beatings", say Harvard researchers reporting on a survey of young adults." Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 11:28 PM | Comments (5)

Treatment of the Non-Psychotic Dimensions of Schizophrenia is a Critical Part of Recovery

The Schizophrenia Research journal published a study earlier this year on the presence of non-psychotic symptoms, specifically depression, and the limitations they may create in treatment outcomes. The study focused on the link between depressive symptoms and long-term outcomes in those with schizophrenia. This large study spanned 3 years; while participants were evaluated using observational approaches at the start of the study, and at 12-month intervals till the completion of the study. Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 03:48 PM | Comments (0)

Might Some Cases of Schizophrenia Be 'Diabetes' of the Brain?

Recent and very preliminary research out of the UK suggests that some cases of schizophrenia may be helped by a medication that will enable brain cells to more effectively use glucose (sugar). Some very early studies being conducted at University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) have begun to explore that possibility. In diabetes, glucose cannot be adequately utilized by cells of the body. In some cases of neuropsychiatric brain disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, a new theory suggests that part of the problem may be that glucose cannot be adequately utilized by cells of the brain. Brain cells must Read More...
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 06:50 AM | Comments (9)

* indicates required