August 30, 2007

New Schizophrenia Study in Alberta, Canada - Opportunity to Participate

A new University of Alberta research study that could improve understanding of schizophrenia is seeking volunteers. David McAllindon, a masters student in biomedical engineering, is conducting a study using MRI technology to compare brain activity in schizophrenics to people without the disease. "It adds to our understanding of the disease and the effects of the disease, and hopefully our understanding ... can lead to better treatment in the long run," McAllindon said. Tests have started and will run until January or February, 2007. McAllindon is recruiting right-handed men aged 18 to 50 who will be asked to lie in an Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:17 AM | Comments (0)

Mental Disorders Account for More Than Half of Hospital Stays for Homeless in Canada

Mental disorders accounted for 52% of acute care hospitalizations among the homeless in 2005-2006 (outside Quebec), according to a new report released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). In addition, the report shows that 35% of visits to selected emergency departments (EDs)-mostly in Ontario-by homeless people were related to mental and behavioural disorders, a proportion that is higher than that for other patients (3%). The Improving the Health of Canadians: Mental Health and Homelessness report provides an overview of the latest research, surveys and policy initiatives related to mental health and homelessness and, for the first time, Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)

People Without Health Insurance - Increases by 2 Million

The U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday that the number of Americans who do not have any health insurance grew to an all time high of 47 million people last year. That increase of uninsured people is a rise of two million from 2005. The number of children without health coverage also rose by 600,000 last year. If a child can't get his or her mental health problems addressed - they are much more likely to develop to more serious mental illnesses later in life. All other developed countries have 100% coverage (see here). This issue is an important one for Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 07:04 AM | Comments (9)

August 29, 2007

Mothers' Baby Cradling Habits a Sign of High Stress

As we've covered in past news items - children's brains are extremely sensitive to stress - and ongoing or frequent stress during early childhood is now believed by researchers to be an important contributor to mental illness. Today a new study done at Durham University in the UK was announced that new mothers who cradle their baby to their right hand side are displaying signs of extreme stress. This seems like it might be one thing to watch for as a potential indicator of stress in new mothers - but of course this is only one study, and additional studies Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:16 AM | Comments (12)

August 26, 2007

New Neurobiology Knowledge May Lead To Schizophrenia Research and Treatments

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
Researchers at UC Irvine have discovered new facts about the brain's neurons -- facts that that may be useful in schizophrenia research and treatments. Neurons are the cells of the brain that communicate and process information. Neurons are made up of several parts (shown below). Originally we believed that the Axon was simply an information highway that passed signals from the dendrites, to the axon terminals and then to the neighboring neuron. But this new research has found there may be so much more - in basic terms the axons may not only transfer information, but may also alter/influence the Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 12:57 PM | Comments (5)

August 23, 2007

Growing Up with a Mentally Ill Mother - "Daughters of Madness", a New Book

Daughters of Madness is a new book on daughter's experiences of growing up with mentally ill mothers. The book is unique in that it includes an introduction on how children are affected by mentally ill parents and also covers the related research. The rest of the book is full of interviews, and personal stories of women who have experienced a mother suffering from mental illness. Although the book is about daughters and their mothers, anyone with a mentally ill parent or family member may find it beneficial. Susan Nathiel, the author, is an accomplished psychotherapist who is also a Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 06:54 PM | Comments (3)

Australian TV Ad Promotes Empathy for Mentally Ill

The following public service announcement was developed by the Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria (Australia) to encourage members of the community to band together in support of people with mental illness. We think ads like this are a good idea that could be duplicated in any community anywhere around the world. We encourage you to check it out. While it focuses on all mental illnesses, the same approach could be done just for schizophrenia, or any other mental illness. There are not enough positive messages like this in our world today. Related Story: Innovative Schizophrenia Research Study Advertisement from Australia Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 06:54 PM | Comments (2)

August 22, 2007

Risperdal Approved by FDA for Treatment of Schizophrenia In Children and Teens

A few months ago we featured a news story that Risperdal was in the process of being approved by the FDA for use in children and adolescents for treatment of Schizophrenia. Many psychiatrists already prescribe the drug to children and teens, but now the FDA has approved its safety and use based on further research. The research that lead to the approval may have strengthened the efficacy and safety of Risperdal's use in children and teens. Until now, physicians have not had a lot of guidance in prescribing the drug to these younger populations. "The pediatric studies of Risperdal provided Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2007

Child and Teen Brains Very Sensitive to Stress, Likely a Key Factor in Mental Illness

New research is showing that the brains of children and adolescent (teens) are much more sensitive to stress than the brains of adults. Chronic stress (or frequent periods of moderate stress) seems to be particularly damaging to these young brains. Researchers now believe that stress (as perceived by the individual) is likely to be an important risk factor in the development of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses and therefore stress is an important target to minimize or prevent mental illness. Ongoing or frequent stress is now known to damage the brain's hypothalamus as well as the pituitary and adrenal glands Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 01:00 PM | Comments (2)

August 20, 2007

Early Psychosis Treatment, Schizophrenia Prevention - Portland PIER Program Video

Portland, Maine's PIER program is (we've heard from many schizophrenia researchers) one of the best programs for early treatment in the entire USA. In this new online video developed by the PIER program, teens and families talk about the early signs of psychosis and schizophrenia - and how this new program is helping them. Dr. William McFarlane and other experts talk about how new treatment plans are helping teens avoid schizophrenia (in effect, preventing the development of schizophrenia). The video shows how the program is using family support meetings to help improve the chances of recovery. An overview is also Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:49 PM | Comments (0)

Two New Promising Medications For Treatment of Schizophrenia

Two new drugs being developed by Acadia Pharmaceuticals, will hopefully help many people suffering from psychosis, especially schizophrenia. One drug, pimavanserin is being created as a co-therapy drug to be used in co-ordination with other antipsychotics. While ACP-104 is being developed as an antipsychotic, it is also hoped to have cognitive enhancing features; therefore treating two of the main problems associated with schizophrenia. Although these drugs look promising, and are already into their phase II trails, its important to understand that many drugs are still in their FDA testing phase and may never become available for sale to the public Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 05:34 PM | Comments (4)

People With Type I Diabetes Have Lower Rates Of Schizophrenia features a short article on some interesting research results regarding schizophrenia and diabetes. Diabetes and schizophrenia are often considered disorders that show up together. Although research doesn't know exactly why so many people with schizophrenia are at risk for Type II diabetes, we do know that its a combination of medications, lifestyle, nutrition, and possibly other physiological factors. But until recently there have been no results on Type I diabetes and schizophrenia. Published in the August issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, is an article that shows - "The incidence of schizophrenia in patients with type 1 diabetes Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 03:34 PM | Comments (1)

August 16, 2007

Free Lecture on Cognitive Therapy for Schizophrenia, Sacramento, California, September 5th

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Schizophrenia: Practical Methods for Improving Treatment Outcomes The University of California at Davis Medical Center (near Sacramento) is hosting a free public lecture by Jesse Wright, M.D., Professor in psychiatry at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. The subject of Dr. Wright's lecture is: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Schizophrenia: Practical Methods for Improving Treatment Outcomes To learn more about CBT for schizophrenia see this link. The free public lecture will be on Wednesday, September 5th, 2007 at 5:30pm. The lecture takes place at the UC Davis MIND Institute Auditorium. 2825 50th Street, Sacramento, California. Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:03 AM | Comments (1)

Generic Zyprexa (Olanzapine) Moving Towards Approval in Europe

The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) has recently recommended approval of a generic version of Eli Lilly's schizophrenia treatment Zyprexa (olanzapine). Zyprexa is currently the worlds top selling schizophrenia medication, with global sales in excess of over $4.7 billion in 2006. The EMEA's Committee that the European Commission approve the pharmaceutical company named Krka to produce and sell a generic version of Zyprexa (olanzapine). It is said that Krka plans to market the product as 2.5-, 5-, 7.5-, 10-, 15- and 20-mg tablets, and 5-, 7.5-, 10-, 15- and 20-mg disintegrating tablets under the name Zalasta. It is not yet known Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:46 AM | Comments (5)

Family Tragedy Focuses Attention on Church of Scientology's controversial stance against psychiatric care

The publication "Australian Doctor" reported this month that a recent family tragedy has focused attention on the Church of Scientology's controversial stance against psychiatric care and treatments for mental illness. A medical report filed in court alleged the woman was mentally ill, but stopped taking prescription medication and receiving treatment, apparently because of her family's Scientology beliefs. The court also heard that she resumed taking the medication prior to the attacks. What ultimately led to the tragedy is for the courts to decide. But the case has renewed debate about Scientology's objection to psychiatric care. Professor Ian Hickie, executive director Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:39 AM | Comments (0)

Children's mental health, substance abuse association studied

Research is underway at Rutgers University that seeks to examine links between children's mental health problems and alcohol, nicotine, and illegal drug use over time. It is very common for people who have schizophrenia to also suffer from addictions - and this new research is targeted at better understanding this problem. The National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant is to Professor Marmorstein at Rutgers University to further her research on how children’s anxiety and depression may be associated with substance abuse throughout adulthood. “Children can show symptoms of depression and anxiety at very Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2007

New UK Study Confirms that stigma still surrounds mental illness

According to 'Crying Shame', a new report published by the Priory Group, mental illness and perceptions of sufferers are still shrouded in stigma, fear and ignorance. The full 30 page report is available for download here (pdf file). In The Scottsman newspaper, it was reported that: "Dr Alex Yellowlees, medical director at the Priory Hospital Glasgow, says: "We are most likely to stigmatise what we fear or don't understand. Mental illnesses are genuine medical conditions, which affect the whole person - mind, brain and body. "Our understanding of them is constantly increasing and more effective help and treatment are now Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:29 PM | Comments (14)

August 13, 2007

Personal Recovery Stories (video)

The following is another good video by NAMI Hamilton Country. In the video Angela Ostholthoff, Linda Zachary and Alice Clark of The Recovery Center of Hamilton County, Ohio share their personal stories of recovery and answer questions from NAMI members. The 40-minute video also includes a discussion of the effects of stigma on persons with mental illness, as well as information about programs at the Recovery Center. We encourage you to watch the video, or download to share with people you think might benefit from it. To see a larger view of the video, or to download it, go here. Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

Facial Expressions Test - Try it

People who have schizophrenia, and also their biological relatives, tend to have a difficult time interpreting and understanding facial expressions and emotions. Dr. Sophia Vinogradov and her team at the University of San Francisco have been testing means of improving people's "social cognition" via software developed by Dr. Paul Ekman. Early results indicate that this type off software does help improve symptoms in schizophrenia. Other researchers have suggested that this type of software might also be helpful in reducing the risk of schizophrenia in people who are predisposed. Following is a relatively simple demonstration of the software. It is based Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:01 AM | Comments (13)

New Medication for Improved Cognitive Function Moves to Phase II Testing

As we've reported in the past - there are a number of new medications that are currently in development or in testing for treating the problem of cognitive impairment that is common in schizophrenia. The hope is that if new mediations can be created that minimize this problem, then perhaps many more people who have schizophrenia can return to work, or work at a higher level of functioning (if they are already working). A list of our stories on new medications in development can be found here. Recently, Allon Therapeutics Inc. announced that in collaboration with TURNS (Treatment Units for Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)

Efforts to De-Criminalize Mental Illness

As we've covered many times here - the extremely poor treatment of the mentally ill in the US is unprecedented, with over 300,000 people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder currently locked up in US jails. With any other medical disorder people are given treatment by hospitals, but with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses, people are too frequently given jail sentences for minor legal infractions. Books have been written about this problem (see this entry: "Crazy"), and now Time magazine has a good article about this growing problem: Just ask Mike, 31, who knows firsthand. Mike suffers from schizophrenia, Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:53 AM | Comments (2)

August 10, 2007

Emotion Recognition is Impaired in "Healthy" Siblings of People With Schizophrenia

There is a new study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, on facial expression and emotion recognition difficulty in those with genetic vulnerability to schizophrenia. This area is important because it highlights the belief by many schizophrenia researchers that there are a significant percent of people in families that have a genetic predisposition for schizophrenia, yet never develop the disorder. Some researchers believe that one sign of this predisposition are problems in facial emotion recognition skills. Researchers believe that one factor that may help in reducing the risk of schizophrenia in these genetically predisposed people is better childhood training Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 10:17 AM | Comments (3)

Advancements In Understanding of One Schizophrenia Risk Gene

If you're interested in schizophrenia genetics and have a good science background - then this story is for you. A new study that is published in the August issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, aims at increasing our knowledge on the genetics of schizophrenia. Though the study didn't find anything of immediate use to those with schizophrenia, they have set the ground for future genetic studies focused on genetic mutations found in patients with schizophrenia. The study looked at how a genetic variation linked to schizophrenia from previous research, can cause a gene to be over expressed ("expressed" is Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 10:17 AM | Comments (2)

New Bifeprunox Medication Not Approved by FDA

Bifeprunox, a new medication that until recently was viewed as the next one to be sold for treating schizophrenia, was rejected by the US FDA this week. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded that effectiveness data for bifeprunox were not sufficient for approval when compared with other drugs, Wyeth, the main pharmaceutical company representing the drug, said. The companies that developed the medication said Friday that they had received a letter from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) saying the drug was not as effective as current drugs. In a conference call they said one person had died during Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 09:51 AM | Comments (6)

August 08, 2007

High Stress Jobs Increase Risk For Depression and Anxiety

A study published by the journal of Psychological Medicine found that high stress jobs could increase risk of developing depression and/or anxiety. High stress can be exceptionally harmful to those already suffering from schizophrenia and other mental disorders. This study shows that it may in fact bring out disorders in previously healthy individuals. The study found that of the 1000 employees, age 32, 45% of the depression and anxiety experienced was attributed to to stressful work that resulted in excessive workload and extreme time pressures. Dr Maria Melchior, lead author, says, "Our study shows that work stress appears to bring Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 05:44 PM | Comments (3)

Interviews with Elyn Saks, author of "The Center Cannot Hold,"

We've had many positive messages from people who were appreciative of this week's story of Elyn Saks who is a professor at the University of Southern California, and has recently published an autobiography on her recovery process from schizophrenia. In fact we're in contact with the publisher and we'll be interviewing Elyn ourselves in the next week or two - and we'd love to get questions from you that you'd like for us to ask her - just post them in the comments section of this page at the bottom and we'll try to get her response. Following is an Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:31 AM | Comments (19)

August 06, 2007

Social Factors in the Development of Schizophrenia: A Review of Recent Findings

In this entry we've summarized a recent journal article that reviewed the results of 84 different research studies done over the past 20 years on social and environmental causal factors that have been identified in schizophrenia. Our summary sheds light on possible approaches to prevention of schizophrenia, and also of treatment. Although a great deal of research effort goes into schizophrenia genetics and medications, this article describes research that suggests that modifying social and environmental factors are likely an equally important pathway to prevention. In fact today the area of neuroscience research related to schizophrenia genes, biology and social factors Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 10:24 AM | Comments (13)

August 03, 2007

Visionary Leader Needed For Mental Health Advocacy Position

The Treatment Advocacy Center is launching a nationwide search for a leader to foster their pursuit of treatment for those most overcome by severe mental illnesses. This is perhaps an ideal position for a parent who has been involved in a support organization such as NAMI and has experience managing or working in mental illness advocacy groups. Following is from the Treatment Advocacy Center: A published employment ad like the one below can only convey the barest flavor of the Treatment Advocacy Center's goals. You will find no reference to the 300,000 people with acute psychiatric disorders in America's jails Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 04:58 PM | Comments (0)

Reading Ability Can Protect Brain From Lead Exposure, Brain Disorders

Research studies have shown how children exposed to enriched learning environments when they are young, have lower risk of schizophrenia and other brain disorders later in life. This "cognitive reserve" has also been identified in brain neuroplasticity research that has demonstrated that well-exercised brains grow stronger, just as muscles do. It turns out that brain fitness is as important as physical fitness in long term health, and its best if you start young (and its good to start children reading young). The more you exercise your brain, the more resilient it seems to get to stresses and even toxins. Researchers Read More...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 08:10 AM | Comments (3)

California Law Professor Battles Schizophrenia, Publishes Her Story

A professor of Law at the University of Southern California has recently written a book about her battle with schizophrenia. The book is titled: The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness. Following is a description of her story. Elyn Saks knows all about working hard towards success - she was valedictorian at Vanderbilt University, graduated with honors from Yale Law School, was a Marshall scholar at Oxford and today is a respected legal scholar at University of Southern California Gould School of Law. And, since adolescence, Saks has battled schizophrenia and acute psychosis. After decades of hiding her illness, Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:06 AM | Comments (6)

August 02, 2007

Schizophrenia Symptoms Improved by Mental and Physical Exercise

New research coming out of Australia suggests that mental and physical exercise could have a significant positive impact for people who have schizophrenia. In the research by Dr Anthony Hannan, along with Dr Caitlin McOmish, Emma Burrows and colleagues, the researchers characterized a genetically altered mouse and discovered that it had schizophrenia-like behaviors, including learning and memory problems, the inability to process complex information, and abnormal responses to particular sensory stimuli. The scientists found the mouse's condition significantly improved by simply giving them enhanced mental and physical exercise – putting running wheels in their cages, plus interesting items to smell, Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:48 AM | Comments (4)

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