November 30, 2007

3D Simulated Experience of Schizophrenia

I've found a video on ABC's website, which I think does a decent job of giving people who don't suffer from schizophrenia a look into what those of us that do suffer from it experience. The video is a 3D simulation that mainly focuses on the hallucination symptoms of the disorder and the whole experience provides visual (seeing), auditory (hearing) and olfactory (smelling) examples. You'll have to bear through a few seconds of advertisements to watch this video, but it is pretty interesting. Apparently, the drug company Janssen has developed this 3D simulation experience for police and mental health care Read More...
Posted by Kristin at 06:12 PM | Comments (5)

Influenza Drugs Tamiflu & Relenza Linked to Psychosis & Death in Children & Adults

A little over a year ago, we covered a story about Tamiflu, a drug which is used to treat the flu. At the time we found out that it was causing psychotic symptoms in children prescribed it in Japan. Now a new story discusses that these side effects are not just limited to children and that another influenza treatment, Relenza, is also causing psychotic side effects. This news is particularly serious because these drugs, Tamiflu taken as a pill, and Relenza with an inhaler, are the most commonly used medication treatments for the flu. Further, the side effects have progressed, Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)

Perspectives of Mental Illness Vary With Cultural Backgrounds?

We have covered several past stories that discuss the way in which varied cultural perspectives of mental illness influence treatment. Now a new research study published in next month's issue of the journal Psychiatric Services, further supports this idea. Recently, treatment of mental illness has shifted toward a collaborative effort between patient and practitioner. As a result, the understanding of a patient's perspective on his or her illness is essential to treatment. The study attempts to understand the different cultural backgrounds of patients and how they influence their unique perspectives of their illnesses. The goal is to aid the treatment Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 11:46 AM | Comments (1)

November 28, 2007

Omega-3 Fish Oils Tested as Preventative Approach to Schizophrenia, with Positive Results

While there has been research on the benefits of fish oil, specifically omega-3 fatty acids, on both preventing schizophrenia and minimizing some of the symptoms of the illness, most of the research has been inconclusive (sometimes it seems to help, other times it doesn't show any effect). However, a new study conducted by Dr. Patrick McGorry in Australia, examined the effects of fish oil in protecting against schizophrenia and it had a significantly positive impact in this study. The study examined 81 at-risk youths (youths who have a family history of schizophrenia) between the ages of 13 and 24. All Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 02:16 PM | Comments (10)

Kristin's New Video Blog - A Personal View on Schizophrenia

We're happy to announce today that Kristin Bell who we discovered on YouTube earlier this month has joined our team as a video reporter and video blogger. We enjoyed her positive and clear communication in her video blogs that she's done in the past, and so we thought it would be great if she could apply those skills to helping us. Kristin is doing well at controlling her schizophrenia and taking medications, getting therapy and getting a lot of family support - all of which is helping her in coping with the disorder. These are the approaches that all the Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 09:54 AM | Comments (13)

November 27, 2007

How Flu During Pregnancy Increases Risk of Child Getting Schizophrenia

Several weeks ago we covered research which demonstrates that if a mother gets the flu during pregnancy it significantly increases the chances of the child later developing schizophrenia. Now a new story featured today in The Washington Post discusses this research in further detail. The story begins by discussing what several past studies have found, that people born in winter and spring are at an increased risk for developing schizophrenia. As we've covered in the past, scientists believe that contracting infections in the first two trimesters of pregnancy (which is more likely to happen during certain seasons like fall, coinciding Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

High Stress Early in Life Changes Stress Response for Many Years Afterward

Stress has been identified as a potentially key factor in many cases of mental illness. A new research study suggests how early traumas and exposure to stress may result in a greater predisposition towards mental illness later in life. Researchers we have talked to have suggested that stress takes a toll on the mind and body, and its cumulative in nature - the more stress you experience or perceive, the more likely you are to have mental and physical health problems later in life. Researchers have also said that a single stressful incident is probably less harmful than long-term or Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 08:50 AM | Comments (2)

November 26, 2007

Schizophrenia, Startled Response & Fabp7: Future Dietary Changes for At-Risk Mothers?

A recent study out of Japan has found a connection between startled response and schizophrenia. In the study published in the journal PLoS Biology, the authors report the identification of a gene linked to schizophrenia. Specifically, the authors found that a certain gene called Fabp7 was linked to a disfunctional "gating" mechanism in the brain, a problem thought to be present in the brains of people with schizophrenia. The "gating" mechanism is responsible for organizing information that comes from the sense organs, and when it malfunctions, it is believed to be responsible for some of the characteristic symptoms of schizophrenia, Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 04:32 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2007

Reducing Nitric Oxide in the Brain Improves Memory & Social Function in Patients With Schizophrenia?

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology
A new story out of Sweden discusses the results of a dissertation completed at Sahlgrenska Academy. The dissertation examined the effects reduced amounts of nitric oxide have on the symptoms of schizophrenia. Specifically, it examined the idea that problems with memory and social function in patients with schizophrenia may result from an imbalance in the brain's nitric oxide system. Research performed for the dissertation found that rats with characteristics of schizophrenia regain normal brain function if they receive drugs that reduce the production of nitric oxide in the brain. If further research corroborates this finding, new treatments which specifically target Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 11:38 AM | Comments (7)

November 19, 2007

Professor Kessler on NPR: Mental Illness Still on the Rise for Hurricane Katrina Survivors

Last year we reported on a study conducted by the Harvard Medical School, which found "that (among Hurricane Katrina survivors) the proportion of people with mental illnesses -- from increased anxiety to severe conditions like schizophrenia -- nearly doubled after the storm..." [Read the Story Here.] Today, National Public Radio or NPR brought this issue of declining mental health among Katrina survivors to light again. The Bryant Park Project on NPR featured Professor Ronald C. Kessler, the study’s main investigator. Here’s a summary of some of the points he made on The Bryant Park Project today: [Listen to the Entire Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 07:15 PM | Comments (0)

New Video Therapy Helps Schizophrenia Patients Improve Social Skills

Several weeks ago, we discussed a video therapy that helps people with schizophrenia improve their social skills. [Read Past Story Here.] Following is more information on this new therapy in more detail: A news story recently published on ABC's web site discusses an innovative new therapy designed to help people with schizophrenia better understand their social interactions with other people. The therapy, called Social Interaction and Cognition Training or SCIT, is the original idea of David Roberts, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Having spent several years working with schizophrenia inpatients, Roberts "began to Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2007

Kristin Bell: A Chronicle of Living With Schizophrenia

Kristin Bell, a 34-year-old woman who suffers from schizophrenia, can be seen on the Internet chronicling her experiences with the illness. Ms. Bell's videos, which appear on YouTube, describe not only her personal experiences with the symptoms of schizophrenia, but also her efforts to educate the public about the illness in general. We've been impressed by how well she communicates in her videos (very clear and professional) and we think you will be too. Ms. Bell, a self-described "professional student," has been in college for the past several years because of the difficulties she has as a result of schizophrenia. Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 12:17 PM | Comments (14)

November 15, 2007

New Documentaries on PBS: Childhood & Adolescent-Onset Schizophrenia

As part of their four time Emmy-winning series, Keeping Kids Healthy (currently in its eighth season), PBS will be airing two documentaries focused on schizophrenia. The first one, titled, Child-Onset Schizophrenia: A Life Interrupted, will be airing at the end of December. It will be followed by, Adolescent-Onset Schizophrenia: 1 in Every 100 Young People. Both documentaries focus on recognizing the early signs of schizophrenia and aim to educate parents about these illnesses. More Information on These Documentaries Please Check the PBS Station for Your Local Show Times You can get information about how to purchase a DVD of the Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 03:51 PM | Comments (2)

November 14, 2007

Schizophrenia and an Increased Risk for a Ruptured Appendix

Recently, we've discussed how people who suffer from mental health problems are at a higher risk for developing certain physical health problems like cardiovascular and heart disease. The reasons behind this increased risk are various and include a neglect of good lifestyle choices such as a healthy diet and exercise. In addition, many mental health patients and physicians overlook physical health ailments because so much of their focus is on suffering from and treating mental health issues, respectively. [Read More About This Here.] Now a recent story out of Taiwan says that people with schizophrenia are also more likely, than Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 07:53 PM | Comments (0)

San Francisco and Davis Schizophrenia Study Participation Opportunity

Researchers at the Universities of California, San Francisco and Davis are looking for potential research participants for a new study that aims to answer the following question: Does computer training help the symptoms of early schizophrenia? The Stanley Medical Research Institute is funding the study, which will examine whether young people with schizophrenia benefit from specialized computer training. The idea behind this study is that these people may experience a lessening of their symptoms and an improvement in cognitive abilities as a result of receiving specialized computer training. Eligibility You are eligible to participate if 1) You have a clinical Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 07:14 PM | Comments (0)

Homeless Man with Schizophrenia: The New Face of a Fashion Label?

John Wesley Jermyn, a homeless man in West Los Angeles, is known for his roller-skating and dancing in the area. People passing by have nicknamed him "The Crazy Robertson" and "The Robertson Dancer" because he's often spotted on L.A.'s Robertson Blvd. What many people don't know is that Mr. Jermyn suffers from schizophrenia and according to his sister, refuses to take the medication needed to treat his illness. Though Mr. Jermyn has been dancing around L.A. for the past twenty years, he's only recently come into the media spotlight because a new clothing line has been named after one of Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 12:53 PM | Comments (5)

November 12, 2007

New Initiative to Help With Early Diagnosis of Schizophrenia

A news story out of Australia discusses an initiative recently created in order to aid the early diagnosis of schizophrenia and also to improve current treatments by making them more personalized. Research has shown that for best outcomes with schizophrenia, early treatment is very important. This is a topic that we've covered a lot in the past few years because it can take many years for people to get proper diagnosis and treatment. [Read Related Stories Here.] Both the Australian Government and Macquarie Bank Foundation are funding the initiative of $3.8 million. The organizations involved are the Schizophrenia Research Insitute Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 01:09 PM | Comments (0)

Los Angeles: Free Symposium on Psychiatric Disorders, Dec. 2, 2007

A new event co-sponsored by NARSAD and The Semel Institute at UCLA will be taking place on Sunday, December 2, 2007 from 1 to 5 p.m. at UCLA. The symposium which is titled, New Directions and Future Trends in Psychiatric Disorders Research, will consist of the following five speakers and topics: Topics and Keynote Speaker Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., (Author of An Unquiet Mind) Johns Hopkins University Early Symptoms and Prevention of Psychosis Carrie Bearden, Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles How Thinking and Behavior Become Disorganized in Schizophrenia Cameron Carter, M.D. University of California, Davis Why Do Alcoholism and Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 12:01 PM | Comments (1)

November 09, 2007

Blood Pressure Drug May be a "Vaccine" for Mental Illness and Minimize Brain Damage

A new study suggests that an existing drug used to treat high blood pressure and enlargement of the prostate may protect the brain from damage that is related to schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders linked to high levels of stress hormones in the brain. This is a potentially important study that could have significant applications in early treatment programs for psychosis and schizophrenia. If, as some researchers are suggesting, mental illness is in part a result of damage to the brain from high levels of stress hormones, a drug that blocks these stress hormones might act as a "vaccine-like" medication, Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 02:27 PM | Comments (5)

Austin Mardon on Schizophrenia

Recently we covered the award (the Order of Canada) Austin Mardon, a schizophrenia advocate and sufferer, received for, among other things, his work on improving the treatment of people who have schizophrenia. [Read About Him Receiving the Honor Here.] But what we haven't yet covered is the personal perspective Austin Mardon has on his illness and what it is that motivated him to follow the path of advocacy. Below we quote Mardon and summarize his remarkable, bold perspective on living with schizophrenia: Mardon is an academic, author, researcher and a man who suffers from the debilitating psychiatric disorder known as Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 02:25 PM | Comments (4)

November 08, 2007

Short Summaries of News Relating to Schizophrenia

Following is a quick list of interesting news relating to schizophrenia and mental health in general: One of the Top 10 Neuroscience Trends of 2007 is that the field of study called Neuroimmunology is leading to new treatment targets - and this suggests that the future is looking better for people who have schizophrenia. The discovery that immune molecules play a crucial role in shaping neuronal connections opens up new treatment targets for Alzheimer’s, autism, ALS, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, and nerve injury. We've covered in our report on smoking and schizophrenia - that there is research that suggests that there are Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)

Stress of War resulting in Rapid Rise in Mentally Ill & Homeless Veterans

As anyone can imagine, war and the constant threat of injury and death is an extremely stressful experience. In fact ongoing or persistent stress has been identified as a leading contributor to brain damage and mental illness. As one paper noted; War is "everything from Hell on earth to the world's most powerful aphrodisiac. It is the subjectively experienced extremism of warfare that so readily contributes to the onset of mental or emotional illness..." Supporting this point is past coverage we've had on the damaging effects stress has on the brain. Research on long-term stress has shown that it is Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 03:49 PM | Comments (5)

Lack of Mental Health Care in Pakistan

A new story out of Pakistan discusses how millions there lack proper mental health care despite the rising numbers of suicides, depression and mental illness in general. The article goes on to say that the exact number of people afflicted with mental illness isn't known and this is largely because of the stigma associated with having a mental disorder. Still, some officials believe that the rates of mental illness are on the rise in Pakistan and higher there than in other developing countries. Part of the problem is the stigma associated with mental illness, possibly caused by a lack of Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 01:06 PM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2007

New Research on the Effects of Psychotherapy on Psychiatric Disorders

A new, small study attempting to gauge the effectiveness of psychotherapy on borderline personality disorder involved giving participants brain scans (called functional MRIs, or fMRIs) before and after 12 weeks of inpatient therapy. Though this study, which appears in the November issue of the Journal of Psychiatric Research, looked specifically at people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, it brings up the importance of therapy for people suffering from most mental disorders. The study consisted of a very small number of female participants (6 people). Because of the small sample size, the results cannot be accurately generalized to the rest of Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 12:18 PM | Comments (5)

FDA approves Bristol Meyer's "Abilify" for Adolescent Patients with Schizophrenia

US FDA approves Abilify for adolescent patients with schizophrenia Otsuka-sponsored study supported efficacy, safety and tolerability of Abilify in pediatric patients ages 13-17 with schizophrenia Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the supplemental New Drug Application for the atypical antipsychotic Abilify (aripiprazole) for the treatment of schizophrenia in adolescents aged 13-17 years. In adolescents, Abilify treats positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. The FDA first approved Abilify for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults on November 15, 2002. This approval is based on results from a six-week, Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2007

Psychiatric Hospitalization and an Increased Risk for SIDS

A new study out of the UK has found that infants with parents who have been hospitalized for psychiatric or drug abuse disorders are more likely to die from SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome than are other infants. SIDS is a particularly frightening syndrome where infants who seem healthy suddenly die. This usually occurs when infants are quite young (between 2 and 4 months) and is brought on by a cessation in breathing for unknown reasons. Researchers at the University of Manchester, England conducted the study focused around SIDS by collecting data on "single infant births, infant mortality, and Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

Another Link Between a Virus and Schizophrenia

A new story discusses the connection between schizophrenia and tick-borne encephalitis or TBE. Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm responsible for the discovery of this connection believe that it--the link between TBE and schizophrenia--is a substance known as kynurenic acid. TBE Tick-borne encephalitis, as its name implies, is a virus spread by ticks and is known to cause inflammation of the brain. In areas like Sweden, where ticks are quite prevalent, TBE is more common than in other parts of the world. Kynurenic Acid In the past, scientists believed kynurenic acid to be of little importance to the brain, Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 01:18 PM | Comments (2)

November 05, 2007

Mentally Ill in China Pushed into Brain Surgery as "Treatment"

A story recently published in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) discusses brain surgeries that are being done on the mentally ill in China. According to the story many people living in China who suffer from mental health issues ranging from depression to schizophrenia are being treated with brain surgeries - an approach that has little or no support from scientific studies, and which is causing people even greater pain, suffering and financial loss. The WSJ story begins with the example of a 25-year-old Chinese man named Mi Zhantao who recently underwent brain surgery at the recommendation of his doctors for Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 12:24 PM | Comments (4)

November 02, 2007

Emotional Intelligence, Drug Use and Schizophrenia

There has been a lot of research that suggests that children who have poorer social and emotional skills (called Emotional Intelligence, or EI for short) are at greater risk for mental health problems, including schizophrenia. People who have mental health problems are also known to be much higher consumers of tobacco products, and more likely to have abused street drugs like cannabis / marijuana when they were younger (and also to use it more frequently after they've developed schizophrenia). Now a new research study links emotional intelligence directly to increased tobacco products and cannabis use. While the link is not Read More...
Posted by szadmin at 11:05 AM | Comments (1)

November 01, 2007

Schizophrenia and Logic Versus Commonsense Reasoning

A new study, which appears in the Nov. 2007 issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, examined reasoning capabilities in people with schizophrenia. The study compared healthy individuals to people with schizophrenia "under conditions where common sense and logic conflict(ed)." The results suggested that people with schizophrenia reasoned more logically than healthy individuals, but lacked commonsense reasoning skills. "The researchers were testing a hypothesis that in schizophrenia there is an enhancement of theoretical over practical reasoning. They looked at whether tasks that are correct from a theoretical (or formal logical) point of view, but depart from practical knowledge (common sense), Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 04:35 PM | Comments (4)

Progress Toward Better Animal Models of Psychiatric Disorders

A recent news story in Nature magazine delves into the biological aspects of schizophrenia. It discusses how animals, specifically mice, are being used to "model" different diseases so that we can more clearly understand them in humans. In the past decade biologists have developed ways to genetically modify mice to make them develop specific disorders and diseases. This allows scientists to more easily identify the function of specific genes involved with genetically influenced disorders, and then find out what treatments work best against these disorders. Genetically modified mice with modified or non-mice genes are called transgenic mice. The story discusses Read More...
Posted by szwriter at 02:42 PM | Comments (3)

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