September 24, 2007

Canadian Conference on schizophrenia: "Lighting the Path: Hope in Action"

There is a new conference focused on schizophrenia that will take place in Toronto, Canada on September 27th though September 30th. The conference is titled "Lighting the Path: Hope in Action" and it is open to families, consumers and mental health care professionals. Following is a short summary of the conference: This conference will bring together families, consumers, mental health practitioners and community leaders to share ideas, research and stories. Lighting the Path: Hope in Action is an extensive 3-day program focused on our shared dedication to deliver a brighter future for those living with schizophrenia; promoting research and better Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:05 PM | Comments (2)

September 20, 2007

US Senate Passes Mental Health Parity Bill

As we've covered in the past - mental health insurance coverage is extremely poor in the US; with many people left uncovered at all or very low maximums (in terms of dollar amounts spent on mental health) that results in family bankruptcies and great financial insecurity. With this in mind, the news that the US Senate has passed a new bill mandating mental health parity provides some hope that things will get better for the mentally ill, and the families of the mentally ill in the future. The Washington Post notes: The bill, which passed by unanimous consent, moves advocates Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:56 AM | Comments (3)

September 19, 2007

Schizophrenia: Insight Improves Patient Outcome?

How many times have we rolled our eyes when being told that knowing that you have a problem is half the way to solving the problem itself? Well Psychiatrists, when interviewing their patients for the first time, typically search for this element of awareness or as they would term it, "insight". The rationale would be that those patients who had insight into their illness would do better in the future compared to those who had no insight. There have been a lot of hypotheses tossed around to explain this phenomenon over the years. Earlier this year, the British Journal of Read More...
Posted by Riaz Khan at 03:57 PM | Comments (3)

Battling stigma: A Caregiver's Perspective

Taking care of the mentally ill, as a family member, is no small task. It is exhausting both physically and emotionally. Some believe that the perception of stigma contributes to depressive symptoms developing in the caregivers themselves. In an article published by the British Journal of Psychiatry earlier this year, a group of researchers from Yale propose a possible link between the perceived stigma and the depressive symptoms that arise in caregivers of patients with Bipolar Disorder (we expect a similar result would be for caregivers of people with schizophrenia). Method: 500 patients associated with a treatment program for Bipolar Read More...
Posted by Riaz Khan at 03:49 PM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2007

How Families Can Nurture Resilient Children

There is a good article on the Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health web site on how families can nurture resilience in children. The article is written for mental healthcare workers - but it has valuable points for all families. Following is a brief excerpt. We encourage you to read the entire article (see link at end of page). “All families with appropriate supports have the potential to encourage the healthy development and resilience of their children,” But what exactly is resilience, and how can professionals working with families help them nurture that quality in their children? Resilience is Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:31 AM | Comments (3)

Maternal Depression and Controlling Behavior Cause High Stress for Infants

As we've covered in the past - research is showing that children's brains are very sensitive to stress, and frequent or ongoing stress is very harmful to developing brains - greatly increasing the risk of mental illness for the child later in life. Research is now identifying the exact stresses that children seem most sensitive to. Last week we saw some new research that came out that suggests that one way to identify stress in a young mother may be in how she holds her baby. Today, new research identifies how a depressed mother (depression is very stressful) changes her Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2007

The Sanity of Hiring the Mentally ill - A Job Program in San Francisco

There is an excellent story today in the San Francisco Chronicle about a job program for the mentally ill in San Francisco. We hope that people tell their support groups about this program and that similar programs will be implemented in all cities. "The mission of Hire-Ability is simple: Help transition poverty-level people with mental illness into employment. Offering everything from job training and placement to coaching on issues such as communication, productivity and punctuality, the program has been a model for mental health programs around the world. While the employees themselves aren't therapists -- there's ongoing collaboration with social Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:20 PM | Comments (9)

Recommended First Aid for Schizophrenia and Psychosis

A group that is a leader in the identification, treatment and prevention of schizophrenia (ORYGEN Research Centre, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Australia) has recently come out with a list of "First Aid" actions to be taken by parents and family members, counselors, police officers, etc. for people who are beginning to experience psychosis (loss of touch with reality) and schizophrenia. Research strongly indicates that early treatment at the first signs of psychosis or schizophrenia is very important for the best long term outcome. As soon as possible a person suffering from psychosis should get treatment by professional psychologists Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

African Americans Have 200% Higher Risk of Schizophrenia than Caucasian Americans

A recent study suggests that African Americans have a 3 times higher (or 200% greater) likelihood of developing schizophrenia during their lives. The International Journal of Epidemiology states in the study published in a recent issue, that: "The data indicate substantially elevated rates of schizophrenia among African Americans in comparison with whites in this birth cohort". This variance has also been noted in the UK (see related story). The cause of this large variance has, in the research we've seen, been most commonly attributed to a greater frequency of exposure of African Americans to what are believed to be the Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2007

Report on UC Davis' 2nd Annual Conference on Psychotic Disorders

Following is a report on the UC Davis 2nd Annual Conference on Psychotic Disorders (pdf). The conference took place last Thursday at UC Davis, September 6, 2007. Special thanks to Linda May, PhD, MFT, Case Manager, at UCSF - Langley Porter for her reporting on this conference. This full day conference held in Sacramento, California provided several informative updates. To summarize just a few of them: Pharmacotherapy of Schizophrenia in the Post-C.A.T.I.E. and Post-C.U.T.L.A.S.S. Eras by Stephen R. Marder, MD, Director of Section on Psychosis, School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Marder’s presentation sought to present information from the NIMH Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

New York: Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia Research Participation Opportunity

The New York State Psychiatric Institute is doing research on a new treatment for treatment resistant psychosis and are looking for participation from people who meet the following criteria. The three-month program is free, and is onsite at the institute. Following is the email we received from them: We are looking for volunteers for a NARSAD funded study of IV Ceftriaxone (Rocephin) for refractory (treatment resistant) psychosis. We are looking for people aged 18-45, diagnosed with Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective disorder, who have been treated with at least 3 different antipsychotic medications and are still experiencing significant symptoms. This study compares Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 12:41 PM | Comments (1)

September 12, 2007

"A Day in the Life" of a Person who has Schizophrenia - Contest

One of the goals of our web site is to educate people about what living with schizophrenia is like. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals wants to help you tell that story... and a lucky winner will even win $1000 for their submission! "A Day in the Life..." is a competition aimed at raising awareness of what it is like to live with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Submissions are being accepted until September 28, 2007 and can include essays, drawings or paintings, music, video or audio. Following is a brief description: A Day in the Life… Contest Guidelines 2007 WHAT: As part of the Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:34 AM | Comments (4)

September 10, 2007

New Schizophrenia Medications in Early Testing - Update

The following are three brief summaries related to new medications currently in development for the treatment of schizophrenia. These are still in early phases of development and it will take as many as 3 or 4 years of testing before it is known if any of these medications will achieve FDA approval and be made available for the public. It will take even longer to understand what the side effects are of these medications. It is, however, positive news that many companies recognize the important unmet need for better treatments for schizophrenia - and are focused on trying to bring Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)

Elyn Saks - A Secret Life of Madness

At we're currently reading Elyn Saks' new book - and we'll have a full review and interview with Elyn at some point in the future. But today there is another good article from the LA Times on her and her book - and her recent presentation at the APA meeting in San Francisco. If you're interested in a success story of someone who has battled schizophrenia - this is a good place to start. "A respected scholar and USC law professor reveals her journey through the horrors and demons of mental illness. She has schizophrenia. Dressed in a blue Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

Advanced Directives for Treatment - News Story

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping
There is an excellent article on the use of Advanced Directives in treatment for people who have mental illness - in this week's Washington Post. We recommend you check it out. Following is a brief quote: My friends and family know the symptoms of my condition, but they don't always know about recovery," said Smith, 55, a District resident. "I got to a point where I wanted the things that work best for me to be written down, so that if I was ever in the hospital again, there would be clear instructions." Smith's wishes are embedded in a legal Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

New Research on DISC 1 Gene in Schizophrenia

As we've reported in the past, the gene called DISC 1 (Disrupted in Schizophrenia) has been linked to increased risk for schizophrenia. (see past stories here and here). If you have some significant biology knowledge and want to learn more about schizophrenia genetics - this might be interesting reading to you. How the gene that has been pegged as a risk factor for schizophrenia and other mood disorders that affect millions of Americans contributes to these diseases remains unclear. However, the results of a new study by Hopkins researchers and their colleagues, appearing in the journal "Cell", provide a big Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:36 AM | Comments (1)

September 05, 2007

What We Know ... and Don't Know About Schizophrenia

The Schizophrenia Research Forum has a good article this week on "what we know and don't know about schizophrenia". It summarizes some of the general areas of knowledge in schizophrenia research. While it has some quite technical language in the summary - it provides a good short overview on the state of the knowledge in the general field of schizophrenia. It also covers some of the larger questions that researchers are looking to better answer. Check it out: What We Know ... What We Don't Know About Schizophrenia Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 05:58 PM | Comments (0)

Schizophrenia Genes due to Human Evolution, Research Suggests

As we've reported in the past, research suggests that genetic schizophrenia risk may be the result of selection during evolution for some traits -- possibly in the area of creativity or other cognitive abilities -- which provide benefits for many people, but which can be negative (i.e. increase risk of schizophrenia) in certain genetic combinations, or when a person with these genes are exposed to certain environmental factors. A new study done at the University of Bath in England provides evidence that supports this theory that schizophrenia risk is, in part, a maladaptive by-product, or side effect, of adaptive changes Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:17 AM | Comments (9)

September 03, 2007

New Schizophrenia Medication Shows Early Positive Test Results

A new study published in the scientific journal Nature Medicine has demonstrated that a new medication in early testing helps reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia, potentially without the side effects that are common in existing schizophrenia medications. The study was sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company. The new drug that is in testing is at least three to four years from completing regulatory (FDA) review, after which, if it passes, it would be made available to for sale and use. The New York Times reported today that "Lilly will begin a larger clinical trial for the drug this month. If Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:51 AM | Comments (9)

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