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Posts Tagged ‘Schizophrenia’

WebMD (2/1, DeNoon http://tinyurl.com/fishy-psychosis) reported that twelve weeks of fish oil pills made teens at high risk of psychosis much less likely to become psychotic for at least one year.   A year after entering the study, 11 of the 40 teens treated only with placebo pills developed a psychotic disorder.  This happened to only two of 41 teens who began the year with 12 weeks of fish oil capsules rich in omega-3 fatty acids.    “The finding that treatment with a natural substance may prevent or at least delay the onset of psychotic disorder gives hope that there may be alternatives to antipsychotics for the prodromal phase”, Amminger and colleagues suggest.    People with schizophrenia tend to have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, suggesting that the mental illness could be linked to a defect in the ability to process fatty acids.  There’s also evidence that fatty acids interact with chemical signaling in the brain and that omega-3 fatty acids protect brain cells from oxidative stress.  The study appears in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (January 8, 2010) – Mental illness remains one of Western society’s greatest taboos.  Those who suffer from various mental health disorders often suffer in silence, with very little support from society.  Family members and other loved ones of those afflicted also suffer and are often forced to understand and cope alone.  The loneliness, fear and frustration that this can cause is difficult for most people to understand.  And this isolation can be far worse when you’re a child of a bipolar, schizophrenic or otherwise mentally ill parent.  Von Allan, a Canadian graphic novelist, has attempted to shed some light on this subject with the publication of his first full-length graphic novel, titled “the road to god knows…”.  It can be purchased online at http://tinyurl.com/amazon-von-allan.  “My mom was diagnosed schizophrenic when I was quite young, maybe 11 or so,” said Allan.  “She suffered a number of nervous breakdowns as I was growing up, as she battled, often very much alone, a disease that was slowly taking bits of her away. ”   “I wrote and drew this book to shed some light on a very hush-hush topic and hopefully help others, especially kids but really people of all ages, realize that they aren’t alone and that they haven’t done anything wrong.  And neither has the person who is suffering from mental illness.”  “The road to god knows…” is the story of Marie, a teenage girl coming to grips with her Mom’s schizophrenia.  You can learn more about Von Allan at http://tinyurl.com/vonallan.

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FanaptThe Washington Post (11/2, Musgrove http://tinyurl.com/new-antipsychotic-Fanapt) reports that , “Early next year, if all goes according to plan, doctors will be able to prescribe a new antipsychotic drug for patients with schizophrenia.  Fanapt, like other antipsychotic drugs, controls the way information is carried from one nerve cell to another and reduces the activities of some brain activity associated with schizophrenia. The compound blocks a different combination of neurotransmitters than earlier-generation antipsychotic drugs.  Fanapt targets a more relevant set of neurotransmitter receptors, so that patients are likely to suffer fewer side effects than with other medications.

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dnaMutations in the dystrobrevin binding protein 1 gene (DTNBP1), which has been known to be associated with schizophrenia, may also be associated with bipolar disorder (http://tinyurl.com/DTNBP1).   There has always been a suspicion that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may have a common genetic cause.   The DTNBP1 gene is a potential genetic link between the two disorders.  The gene codes for dystrobrevin binding protein 1. 

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dnaMedwire (10/23, Davenport) reports, “Disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) gene variants play a role in the development of psychiatric illness yet there is significant heterogeneity in clinically relevant variants between populations,” according to a study  (http://tinyurl.com/DISC1-gene) in Molecular Psychiatry. “Although schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder (BD), major depression, autism, and Asperger syndrome have all been linked to DISC1, no actual causal variants have been identified.” But, after genotyping study participants “for the presence of 75 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the translin-associated protein X and DISC1 genes,” investigators discovered that “rs1538979 SNP was significantly associated with BD I males” and “the rs821577 SNP was significantly linked with BD females…at odds ratios of 2.73 and 1.64, respectively.”

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MedWire (4/20, Cowen) reported that, according to a study published in the journal European Psychiatry, “cannabis use is significantly associated with earlier age at schizophrenia development, with a higher frequency of use linked to a younger age at onset.” For the study, researchers from Spain’s Hospital Clínic i Universitari examined “data on 116 patients, aged less than 35 years, who were treated for a first episode of psychosis in Barcelona between 2002 and 2006, and who were subsequently diagnosed with schizophrenia.” The team obtained “information on the patients’ use of cannabis and other drugs, as well as on the development of psychosis symptoms…from the patients’ medical records and their doctors.” The group found that, “overall, cannabis users developed psychosis an average 1.93 years earlier than those who did not use the drug.” Moreover, “average age at first treatment decreased as the degree and frequency of cannabis use increased.”

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Researchers say patients with schizophrenia may be nearly four times more likely to have a history of middle-ear disease.

http://www.medwire-news.md/47/77422/Psychiatry/Middle-ear_disease_may_be_a_factor_in_schizophrenia_development.html

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It has long been known that the brain and skin come from the same embryonic orgin. Here is an article shedding some more light on the connection.

http://www.medwire-news.md/47/76818/Psychiatry/Dermatoglyphic_defects_represent_vulnerability_markers_in_schizophrenia_.html

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