Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Psychosis Seldom Leads to Violence

That is the title of this article I am writing about.  "The hallucinations and delusions associated with psychosis seldom foreshadow acts of violence, according to new research led by the University of California, Berkeley.  The findings, published in the online journal Clinical Psychological Science, challenge the media-fueled stereotype of psychosis-induced aggression.  For the study, researchers conducted a meticulous review of 305 violent incidents by mental health patients in the United States, and discovered that only 12 percent of these were preceded by psychosis.  Numerous studies have shown that violence and murder are more likely to be sparked by anger, access to firearms, and substance abuse. The new study is the first to analyze the regularity of psychosis-induced violence among the mentally ill.  'High-profile mass shootings capture public attention and increase vigilance of people with mental illness. But our findings clearly show that psychosis rarely leads directly to violence,' said study lead author Dr. Jennifer Skeem, a clinical psychologist and associate dean of research at University of California, Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare. " People with mental illness are usually the subjects of violence happening to them. My mental illness had some violence although I was drunk on tequila or it would have never happen at all.
The article goes on to say: "Skeem and fellow researchers at the University of Virginia and Columbia University focused on the most violent patients tracked in the MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment study, a major 1998 analysis of more than 1,100 offenders who had been discharged from psychiatric facilities. Specifically, the researchers focused on 100 high-risk patients, who had been involved in two or more violent incidents in the year after they were discharged from a psychiatric facility. The goal was to establish their mental states at the time they were engaging in acts of violence. 'We wanted to examine the small group of people with repeated violence and see how consistently these violent incidents were caused by hallucinations and delusions,' Skeem said. In addition to reviewing records, they interviewed former patients about what they were thinking and feeling just before they committed acts of violence, and also sought the perspectives of their friends and family members." I have not committed an act of violence in the twenty six years of having a mental illness since that day. There are more regular people who commit violence everyday than people with mental illness.
The article ends: "The findings revealed that psychosis preceded only 12 percent of the violent acts they committed following their release. Furthermore, if psychosis was the basis of one violent incident, it was rarely implicated in subsequent ones. Mental health professionals and advocates assert that high-profile cases perpetuate the stigma of mental illness, and keep people who are suffering from psychiatric disorders from talking about their condition and seeking help. In fact, they say, people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than the perpetrators. 'None of this detracts from the message that people with mental illness need access to psychiatric services,' Skeem said. 'But it’s important to remember that risk factors for violence, such as substance abuse, childhood maltreatment, neighborhood disadvantage, are mostly shared by people with and without mental illness, and that’s what we should be focused on if maximizing public safety is our goal.'" They tell the truth I would never commit a violent act again.  I would not have committed that one if I was not drunk.  I know that is not a good excuse although it happened and I will never let it happen again.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Healing plants inspire new compounds for psychiatric drugs

That is the title of this article I am writing about.  "Treatments used by traditional healers in Nigeria have inspired scientists at Northwestern University to synthesize four new chemical compounds that could one day lead to better therapies for people with psychiatric disorders.
In a paper published online in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition, the scientists detail how they created these natural compounds by completing the first total syntheses of two indole alkaloids -- alstonine and serpentine. These alkaloids, found in various plant species used by healers in Nigeria to treat people with conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, have antipsychotic properties that have potential to improve mental disorder treatments.  The current drugs used for schizophrenia effectively treat delusions and hallucinations but are only partially effective for cognitive impairment. Early experimental research of these new compounds in animal models shows promise in improving cognitive impairment, the Northwestern scientists said.  'After billions of years of evolution, nature has given us a great starting point for generating new types of molecules that could end up being used as innovative drugs," said Karl Scheidt, lead author of the paper. "We've learned how to make these natural products in the lab and can now evaluate what are the most effective parts of these natural products for potential therapies'" That sounds good if they can use what nature has provided great.  If it can help with negative symptoms to that would be a big help.
The article goes on to say: "Scheidt is a professor of chemistry at Northwestern University's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and professor of pharmacology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He collaborated on this study with Dr. Herbert Meltzer, professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, pharmacology and physiology at Feinberg. They are both members of Northwestern's Chemistry of Life Processes Institute (CLP), which helps foster collaboration between schools and lowers the barriers to scientific discovery.  Meltzer, who has spent much of his career researching drug therapies now in use for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, approached Scheidt about the possibility of creating these compounds. Meltzer's longtime research goal is to improve treatment outcomes and develop knowledge of brain mechanisms in mental disorders. Scheidt's expertise is in designing novel methods and strategies for the construction of complex natural products with important biological attributes.  'The synthesis of these alkaloids, which we have now just achieved, was exceedingly difficult," said Meltzer, second author of the paper and an attending physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "Karl Scheidt's expertise in the synthesis of natural products was crucial to the success of this project and is the first step in getting a new drug ready for clinical trials.'  Traditional healers boil these special plants and produce an extract that they administer to people with symptoms of mental illness. However, this extract isn't pure, and it contains other compounds and materials that may not be beneficial to people with mental disorders."  If they can use what works and get rid of the rest that would be very beneficial to people with mental illness.  They are both in research of drug therapies so hopefully between the two of them they create a drug that works and does not have as many side effects as present drugs do.
The article ends: "'Nature did not intend this plant to produce an antipsychotic drug on its own,' Meltzer said.  The collaborative work to create the compounds took place in the Center for Molecular Innovation and Drug Discovery (CMIDD) at Northwestern, using high-level purification resources and state-of-the-art research instrumentation and equipment. Scheidt is the director of CMIDD.
Through an efficient and stereo-selective synthesis, Scheidt and his team created four separate but related natural products. Now a template exists to continue making these compounds as needed for future studies and ultimately for use in clinical drug trials.  'We can make multi-gram quantities of any of the compounds we want,' Scheidt said. 'We built the assembly line and are now uniquely positioned to explore their potential.'  Meltzer is already using these compounds in animal studies in his lab to better understand how they affect brain biology and chemistry in the schizophrenia disease model. Early results from his lab show that the compounds may increase the ability of other antipsychotic drugs to improve cognitive impairment." It sounds really well in the early stages.  We can only hope that it works better than what is available today. We all know that they have to use what is available in a plant that works and not use everything. Hopefully it works with people.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Drop in disability rolls adds to signs of U.S. labor market recovery

That it the title of this article I am writing about. "(Reuters) - The number of Americans on disability has declined for six months in a row in a sharp turnaround after years of increases, more evidence of the labor market recovery the Federal Reserve wants to see before nudging interest rates higher.
Social Security disability rolls have climbed since the 1980s as the U.S. population has grown older and soared during and after the global financial crisis. That stoked fears that shrinking workforce will stunt the economy's future growth.  The surge also raised the prospect that the program could run out of money and triggered calls for tougher eligibility rules as part of a broader political stand-off over the scope and costs of Social Security.  The trend reversal may help dispel funding fears and take the edge off the political confrontation. Alongside other data such as the decline in the number of part-time workers, it is also another sign that the scars of the 2007-2009 crisis and recession are healing.
The number of new disability awards peaked in 2010 and held near or above a million a year between 2009 and 2012. It returned to pre-crisis levels last year, hitting 811,000, according to Social Security figures. Data for the first three months of the year suggest a further drop to around 750,000 in the whole of 2015. Last year was the first in a decade when the share of disabled workers in the 16-64 year-year-old population stabilized. Other measures of the prevalence of disability have also leveled off. The numbers serve as a gauge of labor market strength because people with less severe disabilities and sought-after skills are able to hold on to jobs when the economy improves, said Social Security Administration's chief actuary Stephen C. Goss. Disability applications have dropped by about 400,000 a year, to 2.5 million, since the crisis. " That is good news as I am always seeing people with mental illness that want to try and work again. Work gets you out of yourself and you think of other things besides your problems.
The article goes on to say: "CYCLICAL UPSWING
In addition, some in the middle of the extensive application process or already on the disability rolls might find jobs that pull them back to work, said Goss, who oversees the statistics used to manage the vast pension and disability programs.  'There is no question that there is a cyclical component.'
With benefits linked to a person's earnings and years of work, the federal program is available to people with physical or mental conditions that prevent them from 'gainful' activity - defined to mean they cannot earn more than $1,095 a month.  But the availability of jobs, and employers' willingness to hire those with health problems, changes with the economic cycle: More people with less-severe problems seek benefits during hard times and more will choose full-time work over benefits during upswings.  Since September, more people were leaving than joining the program, driving down the total number of benefit recipients to 8,935,000.  Kevin Holtsberry, spokesman for Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, a job placement agency, said the group has seen a jump in the past year both in the number of people requesting vocational rehabilitation plans so they can keep working or return to work, and a more than 16 percent increase in the number of people placed into jobs.
'We have seen an uptick in applications and we are seeing an increase in successful outcomes,' Holtsberry said." Even when you have a job and you are still on social security it is hard because I found that they always had a hard time figuring out what I made and what they take off social security.  Sometimes because of that a person will find out it is better to get completely off social security and try and make it on you own as was my case.  It was a headache.
The article ends: "Andrew Houtenville, an associate professor of economics at the University of New Hampshire and research director at the school’s Institute on Disability pointed out that labor force participation for people with disabilities has increased over the past six months compared to the rest of the population, a rare stretch of improvement. For Federal Reserve policymakers who meet on Tuesday and Wednesday and continue to weigh when to start lifting interest rates a key question is how much slack is left in the job market and how many people might still wait to rejoin the workforce.  The share of those working or looking for work peaked in 2000 at 67.3 percent and has been falling since, with the slide accelerating during the last recession. The rate has held relatively stable for a year now, but at just below 63 percent it is still far below the pre-recession levels.
Yet Richmond Federal Reserve bank president Jeffrey Lacker has indicated that this might be as good as it gets since the crisis discouraged many workers from looking for jobs altogether.
Speaking on April 10 in Sarasota, Florida, Lacker said that the potential for cyclical movement into and out of the labor force was 'gone now.'  "I think we're back to trend," he said. Lacker, who is a voting member of the Fed's policy committee this year, has advocated considering a rate rise in June.

(Reporting by Howard Schneider and Michael Flaherty; Editing by David Chance and Tomasz Janowski)." Well things get better for people with disabilities than they do something to make it worse. Even though I am glad to be working rather than sitting home and watching TV everyday and complaining about money problems.  I am still complaining about how high it is for rent.  I guess complaining will never change not matter how bright the economy is.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Researchers Find Way to Increase Neuroplasticity and Treat “Negative” Symptoms of Schizophrenia

That is the title of the article I am writing about. This is and old article I have never written yet. I think it would be interesting if there were more like it. "Recent research at McLean Hospital and Harvard University Medical School shows a very promising possibility for the future treatment of the “negative” symptoms of schizophrenia by improving neuroplasticity––the ability of the nerve cell networks in the brain to physically adapt to changing conditions. Negative symptoms in schizophrenia include decrease in motivation, lack of attention, emotional flatness, memory loss and social withdrawal."  We really need something to help with negative symptoms. I write about them a lot in my blogs because I work and I know how hard it would be to do nothing because of negative symptom's.
The article goes on to say: "The research team was led by Joseph T. Coyle, M.D., a NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grantee and Foundation Scientific Council Member. Dr. Coyle’s team at Harvard Medical School included Vadim Y. Bolshakov, Ph.D., a two-time NARSAD Grantee and Professor of Psychiatry. The researchers worked with mice to determine if they could find a cluster of abnormalities known to affect the brain’s hippocampus in people with schizophrenia. The mice were genetically engineered to have very low N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor activity in the brain, a condition suspected to be linked to impaired synaptic plasticity, memory formation and the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. The researchers investigated associated abnormalities including overall shrinkage of the hippocampus; decreased density of tiny nodules called dendritic spines, which serve as spots where synapses, or communications junctions, can form between neighboring neurons; and altered signaling pathways that help regulate neuroplasticity."  It would help people with mental illness that have negative symptoms. I know from the little I messed with neuroplasticity that it does help with memory.  The games anyway that is what I used.  It is seeing a picture and remembering where it was and hitting the right button. I performed better with time.
The article ends: "
In a paper published in the May 31st issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Drs. Coyle, Bolshakov and colleagues reported that the mice with low NMDA receptor activity “displayed impaired hippocampal plasticity, as well as the morphological [shape], neurochemical and cognitive abnormalities consistent with what is observed in schizophrenia.” This was an exciting finding, but then they went further. The mice used in the experiments had only about 10 percent of normal NMDA receptor activity because they had been engineered to lack D-serine, one of two molecules needed to activate the receptors. When the researchers treated the mice with D-serine, NMDA receptor function in the hippocampus was restored. Over time, all of the observed hippocampal symptoms proved reversible.
This new work lends important support to the theory that low activity (“hypoactivity”) in NMDA receptors in the brain can cause pathologies seen in people with schizophrenia and importantly, that the condition may be treatable and the symptoms reversed. While not the sole cause of schizophrenia, the ability to reverse this hypoactive condition in mice suggests it may be possible to develop D-serine-based treatments for use in people―what could prove to be a breakthrough in the treatment of schizophrenia."  So why has this treatment came available by now. I know it takes time although there has been nothing new to happen to help people with mental illness in a long time.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


That is the title of this blog that I am writing about. We all need hope. I know I do at different times in my life.  The biggest time in my life was when I was going to court and facing twenty four years. The time came in the trial that it looked not very well for me. The court was on a break for lunch and I knew things did not look well for me. I was so thinking of the trial when I went to buy lunch. There was a girl there that I had knew from earlier in my life but my mind was in a fog and I could not remember her until I went back to the car then I did.
Well I was acquitted of one charge and had a great chance on appeal for the second as the judge denied me the law. It would come out to be a misdemeanor. I kept hope alive and it worked out that time. I still have had bad luck at times in my life although I always keep hope alive that things will turn out for the best and they usually do.  Sometimes it takes time. When we are looking for a quick fix. Although for me hoping for a good turn out for what is bothering me always works out. Always hope for the best.
 I am still walking and do not know if I am losing weight. When I went to the pdoc and they weighed me I had lost a pound. I need to lose more than that. I really do not eat that much so I do not know why I weigh so much. I just have a sandwich for lunch and dinner. It has to be the meds. The only thing I do know is I have to keep up my walking or my weight will return. The grandkids are getting older and I wish I had started my education a lot earlier then I did.  The time I lost getting my education cost me eight years.
I wish I could have been working if I had received my degree in my twenties. I just want to make sure my grandkids do not make the mistakes I did in life.  Even though things are alright I made some bad choices in this life.  Some I would change others I would leave the same.  Throughout a persons life they have to keep hope that things will turn out for the best.  It usually does.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Well there has not been a lot in the news lately about mental health. My recovery started in 1989 when I was sent to the state hospital for a crime that I still do not like to talk about that involved mental illness and alcohol.  I never understood where I was because I was mentally ill.  Did not understand until they started giving me medication.  Stellazine was the first and when they told me I was sentenced one day to life that really freaked me out.  I was trying to understand what happened and what was going to happen.
I knew from the streets that I needed to learn typing as I took in on the streets but it was accelerated class and to fast to learn.  When the state hospital told me I had to go to school that was my chance to learn how to type from scratch and I did.  It of course took time but that is what I had.  Also in there we went to groups that taught about mental illness and how to take care of yourself.  They taught us a schedule for when to take our medication and to always take it about the same time as then a person gets use to that schedule.
I was talking to one of the counselors and she asked what I wanted to do with my life and I told her I wanted to learn computers.  She introduced me to a person that worked in vocational rehabilitation and he started teaching me word perfect.  Also well I was there I started getting all the papers necessary for me to go to college when I was released from there.  Learning word perfect helped a lot in my first computer class I took in college.  The state hospital was hard to do time there was so much that was like the streets.
I called my family to much I was missing be out and free.  More that when I was in prison the state hospital was a place I do not want to go back to. I listen to what they said and I did the work to learn how to stay out and maintain my mental illness. I did have one relapse when I was set free.  I had just started college and the first day I relapsed.  I had to go back to the state hospital for a weekend although when I went I did not think they would let me out for awhile but they increased my medication and I was back that Monday.  I had to change some classes because I had missed the amount of days that they allowed.
To me recovery is being free  and taking care that I take my medication and enjoy my family especially my grandkids. Also remain symptom free. I guess I am lucky in the fact that my mental illness is paranoid schizophrenia.  Because I do not have any negative symptoms I know from reading stories that means that I would not be able to do the things I do and enjoy doing. So a big part of recovery is being both positive and negative symptoms and bay. I of course went to AA and did urine screens.  For me drinking again means going back to prison a place I do not want to go. I could also end back at the state hospital. It is something I will not do in this lifetime again. I do not miss doing stupid things and ending up in jail.  Since I been out since 1994 I have not been stopped my the police.  They used to stop me and my friends that looked like me a lot so that I also do not miss.
 I'll leave with learn what works for you.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Exercise and Mental Health

That is the title of this blog I am writing about today. Well I was off on vacation last week and did was not able to do as much walking as I wanted to do. I have been walking more though, I know longer wait for the bus after work I walk down three blocks to catch it to get some exercise. I then get left off about a half mile from my apartment and walk home.  I cannot tell from my clothes if I am losing even a little although I am not going to give up as it took time to gain this weight and I know it will take time to lose it.
I am going to see my pdoc today and they will weigh me and I will know if I lost a little weight.  Also kind of exciting day seeing my pdoc today he told me last time if my arm does not shake as it did at my last visit then I will not have to see him so often.  I think the shaking was a fluke as it did happen for about a week and that was the longest it had ever happened.  I was nervous that day and week as a lot was happening to me. It is not shaking today and hope I do not get nervous before I go. I do not think so.
I would like to take this further step in my recovery.  Things are not always so well for me I have my ups and downs but for the most part I am happy.  When I read the news like I did last week about people in the state hospital for murder only having to do five years before some are released always remind be of the state hospital I was not there for murder.  It was the hardest time I ever did.  I remember when I would see people get out earlier then five years it made me think why not me to.  Even though they have a restaurant there and walk the grounds. The time was hard because it made be think about freedom more than if I was locked up in prison.
The hospital showed there success rate in the article. I know I am one I have been out of there for twenty one years and never want to go back not even for a check up.  That is one place more than prison that frightens me because I have been there and it is not the best of places to be. Life can be hard sometimes although you just have to keep hope that things will get better and they usually do.