Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lactose Intolerance May Shed Light On How Schizophrenia Develops

That is the title of the article I  am reviewing. "Researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Canada have been studying the genetic underpinnings of lactose intolerance in order to gain a better understanding of the origins of certain severe mental disorders, such as schizophrenia. Although lactose intolerance and schizophrenia appear to have very little in common, the researchers explain two major similarities: First, both conditions are passed down genetically. And secondly, their symptoms never emerge during the first year of life, and in most cases, don’t appear until decades later. This slow development can be explained by a combination of genetics and epigenetics –factors that turn genes on or off, say the researchers. By studying the basic principles behind lactose intolerance, they can then be applied to the study of more complex mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or Alzheimer’s disease. All of these conditions feature DNA risk factors but take decades before clinical symptoms develop, said senior author Dr. Arturas Petronis, head of the Krembil Family Epigenetics Laboratory in the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute at CAMH." The genes can be turned on or off.  That would explain why I received this disease when I was twenty seven.  It still was a shock for me and my friends everything was going great then all of sudden boom schizophrenia.
The article goes on to say: "More than 65 percent of adults worldwide are lactose intolerant, meaning they cannot process the milk sugar lactose. Lactose intolerance is influenced by a single gene, which determines whether an individual will lose the ability to process lactose over time. People with variants of this gene will gradually produce less lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, as they age. 'The question we asked is why does this change happen over time? All newborns are able to digest lactose, independently from their genetic variation,' said Petronis. 'Now, we know that epigenetic factors accumulate at a very different pace in each person, depending on the genetic variants of the lactase gene.' Over time, these epigenetic changes build up and inactivate the lactase gene in some, but not all, individuals. At this point, people with the inactivated lactase gene would start noticing new symptoms of lactose intolerance.'" It is something like schizophrenia different people get it at different times in their life. Except they produce less lactase and in schizophrenia the gene is turned on to give you schizophrenia.
The article ends with: " Mental illnesses are far more complex than lactose intolerance and are linked to many more genes with their epigenetic surroundings. Even so, the same molecular mechanisms may account for the delayed age of onset of illnesses, such as schizophrenia, in early adulthood, Petronis said. The combination of genes and epigenetic factors that build up over time with age, provide a likely avenue to investigate in illnesses such as schizophrenia. 'We came up with interesting hypotheses, and possibly insights, into risk factors for brain disease by studying aging intestines,' says Petronis. Exploring the epigenetic control of the lactase gene involved a collaborative effort of CAMH, University of Toronto, the Hospital for Sick Children, Vilnius University, and the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences.'" What does aging intestines have to do with they should say is that just for lactose intolerance?  I sure would like an answer to that question. Maybe even more study is needed.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Marker for Poor Memory in Schizophrenia Patients Identified

That is the title of this article I am reviewing. "Possible key to understanding and treating cognitive symptoms of the disease.
A new study has identified a pattern of brain activity that may be a sign of memory problems in people with schizophrenia. The biomarker, which the researchers believe may be the first of its kind, is an important step toward understanding and treating one of the most devastating symptoms of schizophrenia. The study, led by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI), was published today in the journal Biological Psychiatry. While schizophrenia typically causes hallucinations and delusions, many people with the disorder also have cognitive deficits, including problems with short- and long-term memory.
'Of all the symptoms linked to schizophrenia, memory issues may have the greatest impact on quality of life, as they can make it difficult to hold down a job and maintain social relationships,' said first author Jared X. Van Snellenberg, PhD, assistant professor of clinical psychology (in psychiatry) at CUMC and research scientist in the division of translational imaging at NYSPI. 'Unfortunately, we know very little about the cause of these memory problems and have no way to treat them.'" I know memory is a problem for a lot of people with schizophrenia.  I have a good memory for numbers I can remember them.  Before this disease I did not have  a phone book all the numbers were in my head.  I did not lose that.  Although when I was in college studying math with my tutor he would he gets it but as soon as he walks out the door he does not remember a thing.
The article goes on to say: "Researchers have long hypothesized that memory problems in schizophrenia stem from disruptions in the brain’s dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). This area of the brain plays a key role in working memory–the system for temporarily storing and managing information required to carry out complex cognitive tasks. However, previous studies, which used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare DLPFC activation in healthy individuals and those with schizophrenia while taking memory tests, have not shown clear differences.
Dr. Van Snellenberg hypothesized that the studies failed to detect a difference because the memory tests did not have enough levels of difficulty. In 2014 he and his colleagues designed a computerized test that includes eight levels of increasingly difficulty in a single working memory task." When my old boss had me doing brain training games I would get better each day.  It is repetition that worked. I have to keep repeating things if I want to make sure I remember them.
The article ends: "In the current study, 45 healthy controls and 51 schizophrenia patients, including 21 who were not taking antipsychotic medications, were given the eight-level memory test while undergoing fMRI imaging. As expected, the healthy controls demonstrated a gradual increase in DLPFC activation, followed by a gradual decrease in activation as the task gets harder. But in both medicated and unmedicated schizophrenia patients, the overall response was significantly weaker, with the weakest response occurring in those who had the most difficulty with the memory task.
The researchers believe this may be the first time a brain signal in DLPFC has been directly linked to working memory performance in patients with schizophrenia. 'Our findings provide evidence that the DLPFC is compromised in patients with schizophrenia,' said Dr. Van Snellenberg. 'What they don’t tell us is why, which is something we ultimately hope to figure out. In the meantime, we now have a specific target for treatment, and a new way to measure whether a treatment is working.'" Hopefully they can figure it out so that people with schizophrenia can work and do college.  That was my only problem in college I had to read things at least twice if not more to do tests and such.  I made it through even though it took a while to complete college.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

New Schizophrenia Study Focuses on Protein-Protein Interactions

That is the title of this article I am reviewing. "Similar to people, a lot can be learned about a gene by looking at the company it keeps and watching how it behaves. In an effort to uncover more clues about the development of schizophrenia, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine explored how the proteins produced by schizophrenia-related genes interacted with one another. 'We can infer what the protein might do by checking out the company it keeps,' said senior investigator Madhavi Ganapathiraju, Ph.D., assistant professor of biomedical informatics, Pitt School of Medicine. 'For example, if I know you have many friends who play hockey, it could mean that you are involved in hockey, too. Similarly, if we see that an unknown protein interacts with multiple proteins involved in neural signaling, for example, there is a high likelihood that the unknown entity also is involved in the same.'"  I wonder what they will find if they stick together as friends. There is so much going on in the brain they have new studies all the time for different things.
The article goes on to say: "In recent history, scientists have conducted many genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that have successfully identified gene variants tied to an increased risk for schizophrenia. However, relatively little is known about the proteins that these genes make, what they do and how they interact, say the researchers. 'GWAS studies and other research efforts have shown us what genes might be relevant in schizophrenia,' said Ganapathiraju. 'What we have done is the next step. We are trying to understand how these genes relate to each other, which could show us the biological pathways that are important in the disease.' In a nutshell, each gene makes proteins, and these proteins typically interact with each other in a biological process. Studying how these proteins behave with one another can shed light on the role of a gene that has not yet been studied, revealing pathways and biological processes associated with schizophrenia as well as its relation to other complex diseases.'" They are not only studying schizophrenia but other diseases as well. This is something new they are studying that might help a lot of diseases.
The article ends: "After developing and using a new computational model, called High-Precision Protein Interaction Prediction (HiPPIP), the researchers discovered more than 500 new protein-protein interactions (PPIs) associated with genes linked to schizophrenia. The researchers add that while schizophrenia-linked genes identified historically and through GWAS had little overlap, the model showed they shared more than 100 common interactors. The findings could lead to greater understanding of the biological underpinnings of this mental illness, as well as point the way to treatments." All these studies and we are no closer to new medications that do not have side effects.  They write about these studies but we here no more after that.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Powerful Gene Regulator Under-Expressed in Schizophrenia Patients

That is the title of this article I am reviewing. "Researchers have discovered that microRNAs — tiny molecules aiding in gene expression — are under-expressed in the brains of patients with schizophrenia. One of these molecules, known as miR-9, was found to be a key player in the risk for the disease. This particular molecule controls the activity of hundreds of genes. The researchers discovered that miR-9 was significantly under-expressed in cells of four schizophrenic patients, compared to six control participants. The findings were also replicated in a larger sample of ten childhood-onset schizophrenic patients and ten controls. “Schizophrenia is a very complex disorder that is believed to be strongly genetically influenced — there are probably more than 1,000 genes contributing to its development, some or many of which will affect individual patients,” said lead co-author Kristen Brennand, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai." That is a lot of genes that lead to this disorder.  Does how many you are affected by mean the severity of the disease you will get?
The article goes on to say: "'The better we are able to fill in the pieces to this very difficult puzzle, the more we can think about treatment, and, better yet, prevention.' The genes controlled by miR-9 appear to play a role in the fetal development of neurons as well as deciding where these neurons will eventually settle in the brain. If these genes are not as active as they should be, the brain will likely be miswired, suggest the researchers. Recent research also suggests that many genes found to be linked to schizophrenia tend to be genes that are expressed during fetal development — even though schizophrenia usually becomes symptomatic in adulthood. 'The idea that children are born with schizophrenia should take the pressure off of parents,' said Brennand. 'This is a heritable disease that runs in families, and it’s no one’s fault that someone was born with this genetic risk.' The slow progress in decoding schizophrenia comes from the lack of live brain tissue to study. In this study, the research team pioneered a new approach that combined expertise in stem cell biology, neurobiology, genomics, and systems biology. They took skin samples from patients, reprogrammed them into induced pluripotent stem cells, and then differentiated these cells into precise subtypes of human neurons. 'This has allowed us to begin to ask how and why neurons derived from schizophrenia patients differ from those derived from people who are unaffected by the disorder,' said Brennand.'"Well nobody's at fault for this disease.  It is not like I blamed anybody for this. I just wish I could have led a better life without this disease.
The article ends: "'The goal of our research is to not just understand the genetic mechanisms contributing to schizophrenia, but ultimately to develop a screening platform that we can use to identify new therapeutics for the treatment of this debilitating disorder.' The researchers ran into some unique challenges at the beginning of the project in that 'miR-9 was not the only miRNA that is differentially expressed in cells from schizophrenia patients compared to control participants,' said lead co-author Gang Fang PhD, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences. 'In fact, tens of miRNAs reached statistical significance and we wanted to identify a smaller number of key players. We took a systems biology approach, where we integrated miRNA expression, gene expression, global gene regulatory networks, and proteomic data.' 'This approach found evidence suggesting miR-9 has the most significant change of regulatory activity in addition to the expression change of itself,' said Fang. 'We hope this general approach will also help the discovery of additional genetic regulators of schizophrenia and other diseases.' The researchers highlight that their new findings confirm the results of an earlier study published March 9 in JAMA Psychiatry, in which a genetic screen, taken from the blood of 35,000 schizophrenia patients, found either low expression or mutations in the hundreds of genes that miR-9 controls."  I would sure hope they find out more because I would like to know why and how I received this disease.  Also hopefully they can find out a answer that helps people in the future who get this disease.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Schizophrenia DNA study will leads medical breakthrough

That is the title of this article I am reviewing. "For a long time scientists have to fight around the reason for the development of schizophrenia, a complex psychiatric disorder, and the way to understand the treatment. People with schizophrenia – more than 21 million worldwide
Scientists at Harvard University and the Broad Institute examined the genomes of 64,785 people around the world and found that those who were with the debilitating psychiatric disorders more likely to have mutations in a common gene, according to published this Wednesday findings.
People with schizophrenia – more than 21 million worldwide – generally have less gray matter and fewer connections in their brains than healthy peers. But scientists are not sure why. The research, which for the first time, suggests that changes in a gene called complement component 4 or C4, in short, could be important. The gene was previously known to help the immune system to target infections. The study shows the possible reasons is that the symptoms of schizophrenia of not less than 3.5 million Americans trigger of 1% of the population. Schizophrenia symptoms such as hallucinations, cognitive difficulties, hallucinations and abnormal social behavior changed. However, psychiatrists have been mystified about its origins and biological bases. 'The basic scientific dilemma in schizophrenia and in all mental illness is that we do not even the most basic things about how these diseases start known,' said Dr. Steve McCarroll, a geneticist at Harvard University and one of the authors of the study." Yea I wonder why and how I received this disease.  I just had one bad thing happen after another since I received this disease.
The article goes on to say: "What is the reason of schizophrenia so difficult?
We knew about the area for a long time on the basis of genetic-association studies. But there are a lot of genes are, and no one had identified gene as a risk before explaining. When [co-author] Steve [McCarroll] came to me with preliminary data to support the genetic link with C4, I was very excited because my lab was to investigate the role of other immune proteins of the development brain, especially synaptic pruning. We had some progress in understanding which proteins are in normal development. And since schizophrenia is thought to be a disease of the nervous system, which is really exciting. By demonstrating that there are some synaptic loss led to the hypothesis that maybe this genetic link could be related to crop. We were also fortunate in a third laboratory, Michael Carroll, the immunologist who has been studying C4 bring. So in order to progress as to make this really a question, it needs this kind of an interdisciplinary approach. healthy synapse pruning and?
We know that it is necessary for circumcision developing mouse brain. But we do not know [about his role in the people], as we know, for the mouse. With the participation of the immune system in this synapse pruning schizophrenia can be classified as an autoimmune disease?" I do know my immune system is not working right.  The reason I was diagnosed with lung cancer my body just does not fight this stuff anymore.  That is the reason I also get so many sinus infections.
The article ends: "No, this is not an autoimmune. What this shows us that a gene to be that happens, an immune system gene is involved. The last decade has shown that there are a lot of immune genes, which are expressed in the normal, healthy brain. They are repurposed in the brain to do important things in the development especially. We have evidence that this play a gene and a path that is expressed in the brain, and is a normal role in the brain. or the purpose of the study researchers came together from all over the United States and studied the role of genetics and their influence on the individual chance of developing the disease. In the process, they isolated a particular gene that prompts the symptoms. According to their research, the people who have a gene that accelerated the normal development process “synaptic pruning” in their brains are at high risk of developing schizophrenia. When people suffer from schizophrenia, is their process of synaptic pruning in an overdrive condition, which means that they. Fewer connections with the prefrontal cortex, especially during adolescence and young adulthood, which led to the development in disorder
In particular, they say, this happens during adolescence and early symptoms of schizophrenia that are less well known, manifest, for example, memory loss and problems with attention, marked withdrawal from personal relationships and a severe lack of motivation. This is consistent with previous research that had identified this “pruning” as possible perpetrators.
For those who do research in schizophrenia have followed for a while now, this may have been expected. Previous research has suggested that late adolescence appears to be a window, may result in the early symptoms of schizophrenia. Taking certain medications during adolescence has also been linked to schizophrenia-like symptoms in later life associated. Although controversial, it may be that the mechanism in the game there is the same: The trimming function in the brain can go too far and create a breakdown in how the brain perceives and processes the data of our senses are giving it.
So why is this important? Due to the fact that schizophrenia often present with very different and far-reaching symptoms, looking for treatments that can fight all of them without significant side effects is difficult. Significantly improved However, this research suggests that there may be a way, if not avoided, schizophrenia, then eliminates targeted treatment for the cause, the patient’s outlook and contribute in particular to control psychosis effective." Looking back on my life and I have been doing a lot of that lately.  Even thought I did not have full blown schizophrenia during my teenage years I was different and had a lot of problems that could have been the schizophrenia starting back then.  It ruined a lot of my life that could have turned out different.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

For young people with schizophrenia, physical and mental exercises offer hope

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. " Workouts appear to trigger 'Miracle-Gro for the brain' that restores connections between neurons, researchers find.In as little as a few months, antipsychotic medications can tame the delusions and hallucinations that characterize schizophrenia. But the medications do little to reverse the less familiar brain-based problems that accompany the illness. Affecting memory, the speed at which the brain processes information, attention, problem-solving skills and emotional intelligence, these subtle but profound deficits can prove more crippling than schizophrenia's more dramatic and better-known symptoms. 'They tend to be the things that lead people with schizophrenia to go on disability and to become unable to work and to be socially isolated,' said Keith Nuechterlein, a professor at UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. 'Families go through a stage almost like mourning because their loved one changes so dramatically.' Schizophrenia affects 1 percent of the population, and research has shown that computer-based brain games sometimes can reverse one-quarter to one-third of the deficits in the areas of memory, thinking skills and social cognition. But Nuechterlein and a team of researchers at a free schizophrenia clinic at UCLA are finding that those benefits increase dramatically if they are turbocharged with aerobic exercise. It's looking like exercising the body along with the mind has the potential to alter the course of schizophrenia, especially if the treatment is applied early in the disorder,' said Joe Ventura, a senior research psychologist at the Semel Institute.'"It has to be early in the disorder.  If they can reverse it with exercise and computer training games I am all for it. Even though I do not do so bad with this disease I remember when I first was delusional with this disease and it was bad and I do not want anyone else to go through what I went through.
The article goes on to say: "In the current issue of Schizophrenia Bulletin, Nuechterlein reports findings from a recent pilot study conducted at UCLA's Aftercare Research Program, which assesses and treats people who have schizophrenia and conducts research on the disease. Preliminary findings from a second, ongoing study were presented April 2 to 6 at the biennial meeting of the Schizophrenia International Research Society by Nuechterlein, Ventura and Sarah McEwen, an assistant research psychologist who serves as the program's director of exercise. The National Institute of Mental Health funded both studies. In the initial study, which lasted 10 weeks, Nuechterlein and his colleagues treated 16 young adults who had recently experienced their first schizophrenic episode. Nine participated in a computerized course of four hours a week of neurocognitive training for perception and memory skills for five weeks and then four hours a week of social cognitive training for emotional intelligence for five weeks. The other seven took the same computer training and added four sessions a week of aerobic exercise for a weekly total of 150 minutes. Study participants wore monitors to ensure that they exercised in their target aerobic zone.
Over the course of the study, the cognitive performance of study participants who only completed brain training did not budge. But those who participated in physical exercise improved significantly.
One test measured how quickly the individual could finish a complicated dot-to-dot drawing, and the average completion time for those who exercised improved from 37 to 25 seconds. (People of the same age without schizophrenia complete the assignment in an average 22 seconds.) On another test, which measures people's challenges in managing their emotions in social situations, the participants who exercised cut the level of such problems in half. In the second study, which lasted six months, 32 people who had just experienced their first episode of schizophrenia trained for four hours a week with the same computer-based brain games as in the pilot study. Half vigorously exercised in addition to participating in the mental training. The researchers expected to see improvements among the exercise participants, but they were surprised by the magnitude of the results. Among those who exercised, performance on a whole battery of cognitive tests improved three times more than among those who did not do so." Exercise helps a lot it seems. Is aerobic exercise the only one that works with this. If it can help these people not feel the full effects of schizophrenia I hope it finally is something that works.
The article ends: "The researchers say the improvements are due to a brain protein called brain-derived neurotrophic growth factor, which is released during aerobic exercise. A kind of Miracle-Gro for the brain, BDNF stimulates the hippocampus -- the brain's center of learning and long-term memory -- to sprout new neurons, and it increases connections between neurons. Those connections are where learning occurs and memories form. 'In adolescence, all humans lose a certain number of connections between neurons, as the brain prunes redundant or less useful synapses,' Nuechterlein explained.'In schizophrenia, the process goes awry, pruning needed as well as unnecessary connections, so important connections are deleted.' McEwen said that in the second study, the amount of BDNF increased 35 percent in the group that had participated in both cognitive training and exercise -- and half of that increase occurred within the first two weeks of the study. In contrast, BDNF levels did not change among those who only received cognitive training. Researchers believe that helping people with schizophrenia as soon as possible after their first psychotic breakdown is most effective because those in the early stages of disease are more able to make long-lasting improvements.  Our hope is to prevent the chronic disability that is so common in schizophrenia from ever occurring, and to return individuals with schizophrenia to regular employment, regular schooling and normal friendship patterns, and to have them resume as much of a full life as possible,' Nuechterlein said. 'This kind of computer training and exercise -- in combination with antipsychotic medication -- might go a long way toward doing that.'" Ir works with those that had a episode one time.  That is good for them because if they keep it up they can work and have a pretty good life right away and not years down the road after they suffered from this disease.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Marker for Poor Memory in Schizophrenia Patients Identified

That is the title of today's blog. "Possible key to understanding and treating cognitive symptoms of the disease.
A new study has identified a pattern of brain activity that may be a sign of memory problems in people with schizophrenia. The biomarker, which the researchers believe may be the first of its kind, is an important step toward understanding and treating one of the most devastating symptoms of schizophrenia. The study, led by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI), was published today in the journal Biological Psychiatry. While schizophrenia typically causes hallucinations and delusions, many people with the disorder also have cognitive deficits, including problems with short- and long-term memory." I am able to work OK although I have a hard time remembering things I have to do.  My long-term memory they tell me you bought this seven years ago I do not remember buying it.
The article goes on to say: "'Of all the symptoms linked to schizophrenia, memory issues may have the greatest impact on quality of life, as they can make it difficult to hold down a job and maintain social relationships,' said first author Jared X. Van Snellenberg, PhD, assistant professor of clinical psychology (in psychiatry) at CUMC and research scientist in the division of translational imaging at NYSPI. 'Unfortunately, we know very little about the cause of these memory problems and have no way to treat them.' Researchers have long hypothesized that memory problems in schizophrenia stem from disruptions in the brain’s dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). This area of the brain plays a key role in working memory–the system for temporarily storing and managing information required to carry out complex cognitive tasks. However, previous studies, which used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare DLPFC activation in healthy individuals and those with schizophrenia while taking memory tests, have not shown clear differences. Dr. Van Snellenberg hypothesized that the studies failed to detect a difference because the memory tests did not have enough levels of difficulty. In 2014 he and his colleagues designed a computerized test that includes eight levels of increasingly difficulty in a single working memory task." It would be great if they can find something to help with memory problems. This tranlational imaging sounds like it might work on this.
The article ends: "Researchers have long hypothesized that memory problems in schizophrenia stem from disruptions in the brain’s dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). This area of the brain plays a key role in working memory–the system for temporarily storing and managing information required to carry out complex cognitive tasks. Image is for illustrative purposes only. In the current study, 45 healthy controls and 51 schizophrenia patients, including 21 who were not taking antipsychotic medications, were given the eight-level memory test while undergoing fMRI imaging. As expected, the healthy controls demonstrated a gradual increase in DLPFC activation, followed by a gradual decrease in activation as the task gets harder. But in both medicated and unmedicated schizophrenia patients, the overall response was significantly weaker, with the weakest response occurring in those who had the most difficulty with the memory task. The researchers believe this may be the first time a brain signal in DLPFC has been directly linked to working memory performance in patients with schizophrenia. 'Our findings provide evidence that the DLPFC is compromised in patients with schizophrenia,' said Dr. Van Snellenberg. 'What they don’t tell us is why, which is something we ultimately hope to figure out. In the meantime, we now have a specific target for treatment, and a new way to measure whether a treatment is working.'"The why is an important step in getting help with this problem.  I hope they can find the why I sure would like to remember things.