Schizophrenia Daily News Blog: Schizophrenia Research Archives

May 30, 2005

Childhood schizophrenia and IQ

IQ stabilization in childhood-onset schizophrenia Gochman PA, Greenstein D, Sporn A, Gogtay N, Keller B, Shaw P, Rapoport JL. Childhood onset schizophrenia (COS) is rare, but occurs in children who show symptoms of schizophrenia prior to the age of 13. This illness is usually associated with severe and persistent psychotic symptoms and there is increased brain loss (in gray matter). In this study, the researchers wanted to see what happens to IQ in the long term for children with COS. Starting from 1990, they recruited children with COS to participate in this prospective, longitudinal study. They included 70 children with Read more...
Posted by Farzin at 04:48 PM | Comments (0)

Essay on bias in medical journals

Medical Journals Are an Extension of the Marketing Arm of Pharmaceutical Companies Smith, R PLoS Med 2(5): e138 An essay written by Richard Smith, an ex-editor of the British Medical Journal and current member of the board of the Public Library of Science discusses his views on how he thinks medical journals can be biased by the pharmaceutical industry. He writes about his perspective on how pharmaceutical advertisements in journals can be misleading, how clinical trials sponsored by pharmaceutical companies may be biased towards the companies that sponsor them, why pharmaceutical companies get the results they want, how journal editors Read more...
Posted by Farzin at 04:02 PM | Comments (1)

May 28, 2005

Highlights from Schizophrenia Research Conference

A summary of research findings presented at the International Conference on Schizophrenia Research (April 2-6 2005, in Savannah, GA) is available from Medscape ( The following are a few salient points from the report, many of which has also reported on in recent months, and which are available in our news archives. 1. Much research has been done to identify pre-natal risk factors for schizophrenia. According to a scientist from Perth, Australia (where one of the first studies of mothers with schizophrenia and their offspring has recently been completed), studies have identified obstetric events that can increase the risk Read more...
Posted by Julia at 10:49 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2005

Stem Cell Breakthrough

Scientists in South Korea recently achieved a significant breakthrough in the quickly developing field of stem cell research. Using somatic cell nuclear transfer techniques (transferring the complete DNA of an adult into the emptied-out donated egg of an unrelated woman, thus creating a "stem cell"), the scientists were able to successfully create stem cell lines using the DNA of chronically ill or injured patients. This is the first time that patient-specific stem cell lines have been engineered, and thus it represents a huge step forward towards the eventual use of stem cells for treating degenerative diseases. A stem cell line Read more...
Posted by Julia at 09:49 PM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2005

Benefits of group psychotherapy

What are the effects of group cognitive behaviour therapy for voices? A randomised control trial. Wykes T, Hayward P, Thomas N, Green N, Surguladze S, Fannon D, Landau S. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a type of talk psychotherapy that has been shown to help decrease positive symptoms of schizophrenia (eg. voices). But, it is still rarely provided to persons with schizophrenia in the United States, in contrast to Great Britain where it is widely available. This might be because of reasons such as a greater skepticism in the US about the benefits of psychotherapy for persons with severe mental Read more...
Posted by Farzin at 02:36 AM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2005

Caregiver Coping in Schizophrenia

Caregiver strategies in schizophrenia (and bipolar) This is a paper that is looking at what it is like for a caregiver of someone with a chronic mental illness. They cite many references about papers regarding the caregiver role in schizophrenia or dementia, but in this paper they focus more on bipolar affective disorder. Specifically, the authors wanted to compare and contrast the coping styles of people who took care of people with bipolar vs. people with schizophrenia. They also looked at demographic characteristics to see what factors impacted the styles of care given by the person responsible. The authors looked Read more...
Posted by Jacob at 11:03 PM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2005

Editorial letter on smoking risk

Tobacco Use and Cataracts in Patients With Schizophrenia Foulds J, Williams J. In a letter to the editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry, the authors raised concern that a recent paper on the physical health monitoring of patients with schizophrenia summarized earlier (click here to see that review) ignored the importance of tobacco smoking in their review process. They were surprised that no recommendations were made for monitoring and intervening on tobacco smoking despite the fact that most of the excess mortality or deaths in schizophrenia can be directly attributed to cigarette smoking. They also raise the issue of Read more...
Posted by Farzin at 03:22 AM | Comments (0)

Ways to encourage recovery

An empirical conceptualization of the recovery orientation. Resnick SG, Fontana A, Lehman AF, Rosenheck RA Northeast Program Evaluation Center, Yale University School of Medicine, VA Maryland Healthcare System and University of Maryland School of Medicine In the scientific literature, “recovery” is described as “process representing the belief that all individuals, even those with severe psychiatric disabilities, can develop hope for the future, participate in meaningful activities, exercise self-determination, and live in a society without stigma and discrimination”. Helping people with schizophrenia move towards this recovery orientation is an important part of grass-roots movements and mental healthy advocacy by groups including Read more...
Posted by Farzin at 02:51 AM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2005

Recent Cochrane Reviews

Recent Cochrane Reviews With Schizophrenia Content Cochrane reviews are considered by many to be the gold standard in systematic literature reviews. The reviews are done rigorously and include all sources on a particular subject with strict criteria for which studies can be considered “good” evidence versus “weak” evidence. Studies sponsored by pharmaceutical companies are considered in the context of their sponsorship for example. By applying rules to their inclusion of particular studies, they are able to group the remaining studies and come up with solid recommendations for evidence based medicine. 1. ECT and schizophrenia – ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) is typically Read more...
Posted by Jacob at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2005

Risk if mother has schizophrenia

Risk of psychiatric illness when parent has mental illness This paper looks at a large population in Finland in which the authors collected data on all children born to mothers with a psychiatric diagnosis. They were interested in the chance that those born to such mothers might develop a mental illness in their lifetime. They looked at all mothers who were born in Helsinki from 1916 to 1948 and had previously been treated in a psychiatric hospital in Finland and received a diagnosis of a schizophrenia spectrum disorder and gave birth from 1960-1964. 192 children were identified, and they were Read more...
Posted by Jacob at 12:06 AM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2005

Australia studies recruiting subjects

The following classified ad calling for participants in schizophrenia research appeared in the April 27 edition of the Australian publication "The Border Mail" Help mental health studies MELBOURNE Neuropsychiatry Centre at Sunshine hospital is looking for participants in mental illness and genetics research. There are two studies: 1. The Molecular Genetics of Schizophrenia Study people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder are invited to take part in an interview about their experiences and provide a blood sample so that the role of genes in mental illness can be investigated and, 2. The Australian Study of Twins and Psychosis Read more...
Posted by Julia at 03:13 PM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2005

Schizophrenia Conference Europe

International Schizophrenia Conference, September 2005, Copenhagen An International Schizophrenia Conference entitled 'Schizophrenia: Boundaries, psychopathology, and pathogenesis' will be held from September 8-9 2005 at the University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. The conference is organized jointly by the Department of Psychiatry, Hvidovre Hospital (HH); Danish National Research Foundation: Centre for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen (CFS); and The Graduate School of Neuroscience, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen. Conference leaders are Prof. Josef Parnas, Dr. Med and Dr. Peter Handest, MD, PhD. Registration is free but only 150 places are available (first come, first served). Registration closes on 15th June Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 06:26 AM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2005

Schizophrenia probability model

Does god play dice with schizophrenia? A probabilistic model for the understanding of causation in mental illness Marco Procopio, Medical Hypotheses (2005) 64, 872–877 It has been observed since the first descriptions of schizophrenia that there is a tendency for the illness to run in families. An observation like that gives credence to a genetic theory of inheritance. However, it has also been observed that even in people with identical genes (Identical twins) there is only a 50% concordance (meaning 50% of the time that one identical twin has schizophrenia the other twin does as well.) If schizophrenia were purely Read more...
Posted by Jacob at 07:38 PM | Comments (0)

Brain test assoc. with function

Mismatch negativity deficits are associated with poor functioning in schizophrenia patients. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005 Feb;62(2):127-36. Light GA, Braff DL. The objective of this paper was to determine if an objectively measured deficit in “mismatch negativity” could be associated with clinical deficits in schizophrenia. The defects in schizophrenia are widespread throughout the brain and do not necessarily always show up as obvious symptoms. However, these changes are often at the root of difficulties in working memory, executive function (complex planning), and lead to social/occupational deficits. Traditionally, neuropsychological tests are used to evaluate for these types of problems in the brain. Read more...
Posted by Jacob at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

Steps to Schizophrenia prevention

Prevention of Schizophrenia - Can it Be Achieved? Cheng Lee, Thomas H. McGlashan and Scott W. Woods CNS Drugs 2005; 19 (3): 193-206 This is a very well written recent review article that takes a look at the idea of preventative psychiatry. Is/Will it be possible to detect schizophrenia at an early enough stage to prevent the full illness? The article talks about the financial and social impacts of schizophrenia, understanding the role of risk factors, stages of the illness and finally what possible steps might be possible before and after detection of the onset of symptoms. Costs of schizophrenia: Read more...
Posted by Jacob at 05:04 PM | Comments (0)

MATRICS - Improving cognition

MATRICS (Measurement and treatment to improve cognition in schizophrenia) Recently, a special issue of the journal Schizophrenia Research (December, 2004) was devoted to discussing a new research initiative spearheaded by the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) and in collaboration with researchers around the country including Stephen Marder from UCLA (see recently posted interview here). The goal of this research initiative is to lead to collaborations with pharmaceutical companies, academics and governmental researchers to develop medications that will target the cognitive aspects of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia may be most well known for effects on perceptions (i.e. hallucinations, delusions, paranoia) but Read more...
Posted by Jacob at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2005

Future Prospects of SZ Genetics

Another excellent article in Psychiatric Times - reviews the current tools for identifying the genes linked to schizophrenia, introduces the limitations of these techniques, and discusses implications and prospects for future directions in genetic studies. View the full article: Current Limitations and Future Prospects in Genetics Read more...
Posted by Julia at 03:54 AM | Comments (0)

SZ articles in Psychiatric Times

Two good articles are available online in the March issue of Psychiatric Times. Short summaries and links are included below: ---------------------------------------------------------------- First-Episode Schizophrenia: Research Perspectives and Clinical Implications By Matcheri S. Keshavan, M.D. Psychiatric Times March 2005 Vol. XXII Issue 3 Despite over a century of research, we only have a limited understanding of the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders. Early studies largely relied on postmortem examination of the brains of mostly older patients with chronic schizophrenia or brain scans in patients with established schizophrenia, many of whom were treated with medications. It was difficult, therefore, to tease Read more...
Posted by Julia at 03:48 AM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2005

Antipsychotics and Prolactin

Elevated prolactin and antipsychotics Antipsychotic medications are known to have many side effects including movement disorders, stiffness, obesity and diabetes. One side effect that has received intermittent attention over the years is the risk of elevated prolactin. Prolactin is a hormone produced in the brain that regulates milk production and breast growth in women and can also be related to growth hormone and other hormone regulation throughout the body. When prolactin is elevated, it can cause galactorrhea (abnormal milk production seen in women or men), amenorrhea (absence of a menstrual period), gynecomastia (abnormal breast growth in men), and can cause Read more...
Posted by Jacob at 12:44 AM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2005

Aripiprazole and EPS?

Aripiprazole (Abilify) and Extra-pyramidal symptoms (EPS) Aripiprazole (Abilify) is the newest drug in the class of atypical antipsychotics. It has a different mechanism than the other medications and for that reason there has been hope that it would have fewer problems with side effects. Extra-pyramidal symptoms are the typical side effects of antipsychotic medication that manifest as tremors, stiffness, shuffling gait, slow movements and/or severe restlessness (akathisia). Aripiprazole is called a "partial dopamine agonist" that means that it theoretically increases the amount of dopamine in areas where it is too low (and perhaps causing movement disorders and stiffness) and decreases Read more...
Posted by Jacob at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2005

TMS for hallucinations: update

TMS for Auditory Hallucinations: An update I have previously posted ( about trancranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for schizophrenia. For a brief explanation on TMS, please see that post. Some recent research has been published that I want to present as an update. Article 1: The first article, Lee et al., is a double-blind, sham-controlled study in which the authors took 39 patients with treatment refractory auditory hallucinations (AH) and performed TMS for 20 minutes daily for ten straight days. These patients were considered “refractory” because they had failed adequate trials with 2 different medications and in 2 different classes (i.e. Read more...
Posted by Jacob at 10:58 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2005

Birth complications & Schizophrenia?

Women with Schizophrenia Have Increased Risk of Obstetric Complications This study looks at the frequency of complications in pregnancy, labor and delivery that are sustained by people with schizophrenia and mood disorders. They also sought to survey the general newborn characteristics of infants born to mothers with severe mental illness and looked over a large population cohort (group) and collected data over the large sample. The subjects were 3000 babies born to mothers with mood disorders or schizophrenia in Western Australia and they were compared with a similar number of babies born to mothers without mental illness in the same Read more...
Posted by Jacob at 01:04 AM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2005

Protein markers in schizophrenia

Discovery of biomarkers in human urine and cerebrospinal fluid by capillary electrophoresis coupled to mass spectrometry: Towards new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. Wittke S, Mischak H, Walden M, Kolch W, Radler T, Wiedemann K. Mass spectrometry (MS) has become an important tool to help researchers discover biomarkers in diseases. Biomarkers are molecules that can be used to diagnose and classify diseases. This technique, MS, helps in identifying proteins (which are in naturally found in cells in the body) with unprecedented speed and sensitivity using either tissues or body fluids such as urine, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The researchers here Read more...
Posted by Farzin at 04:54 PM | Comments (1)

March 14, 2005

Child abuse and schizophrenia?

Abuse as predictor for schizophrenia? The following series of reviews concern articles written about the relationship between child trauma, mainly sexual or violent abuse, and subsequent psychiatric illness. Certainly, child abuse is a rampant problem and one that has lasting consequences upon its victims. However, it is unclear precisely what risks are conferred upon those with violent childhoods. I did a brief review of the literature for articles that were about the risk of psychotic illness and schizophrenia in people with a history of child abuse. The best article was written by Spataro, et al. It is a cohort study Read more...
Posted by Jacob at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2005

Suicide in schizophrenia

The lifetime risk of suicide in schizophrenia: a reexamination. Palmer BA, Pankratz VS, Bostwick JM. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005 Mar;62(3):247-53. In 1977, Miles conducted a major meta-analysis (ie. which looks at results from many published studies) where he reviewed 34 studies looking at people with schizophrenia. This original study found an estimated 10% lifetime risk of suicide. The authors in the current study thought that this might be an overestimation of suicide risk and wanted to conduct another meta-analysis including more factors. They were interested in issues such as the difference between proportionate mortality (PM) which is the percentage the Read more...
Posted by Farzin at 03:34 AM | Comments (0)

Early Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Norman RM, Scholten DJ, Malla AK, Ballageer T. Early signs in schizophrenia spectrum disorders. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2005 Jan;193(1):17-23. This study focuses on early signs of schizophrenia. It is known that generally people who experience dramatic symptoms of schizophrenia, such as delusions and hallucinations, generally have a period of time before the illness in which they suffer from disturbances of their thinking and other problems. Most commonly they are seen to have decreased motivation, decreased concentration, sleep changes, behavioral changes, loss of functional ability in work/school, social withdrawal, problems with anger, anxiety, and lower energy. It can be difficult Read more...
Posted by Jacob at 01:51 AM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2005

Schizophrenia impact on Pregnancy

Women with Schizophrenia Have Increased Risk of Obstetric Complications A new journal article published in January's issue of "The American Journal of Psychiatry" suggests that women with schizophrenia or a major affective disorder have increased risks of pregnancy, birth and neonatal complications, according to a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry for January. "Research aiming at a better understanding of both the genetic and environmental reproductive risks could pave the way for the development of preventive programs ensuring optimal antenatal and postnatal care for these vulnerable groups," Dr. Assen V. Jablensky and colleagues at the University of Western Australia Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 09:49 PM | Comments (1)


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