Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Breakthrough That Could Help Silence The 'Voices' Of Schizophrenia

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "Researchers from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital announced yesterday that they have isolated and characterized a small segment of RNA known as “microRNA” that may hold promise in silencing the bothersome voices which haunt schizophrenic patients. By manipulating this small segment of RNA, the researchers hope to restore normal function to the brain circuit associated with the 'voices' and well as other types of hallucinations associated with schizophrenia. Ultimately, this finding is important because it may serve as a target for developing novel antipsychotic drugs, but without the bothersome side effects (sedation, blurred vision, drowsiness, dry mouth, weight gain) that currently reduce compliance and thus limit their effectiveness."It would help a lot if they can find something that reduces voices.  To do without medication would be great it is the medication that stops most people with this illness find work.  It is hard to work when your medication gets in the way.  Like sedation when you have to stay alert to do your job.
The article continues: "The research was published in the journal Nature Medicine. The researchers used mice to build this particular model that isolates the specific area of the genome associated with such auditory hallucinations. In fact, their work is an extension of previous St. Jude research that details the molecular mechanism that inhibits a neural circuit connecting two areas of the brain associated with processing auditory information. More importantly, the research also yields insight into why psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia are typically delayed until late adolescence or early adulthood." Again my did not come into my late twenties.  Although looking back when I was married I feel that some symptoms were showing.
The article ends: "'In 2014, we identified the specific circuit in the brain that is targeted by antipsychotic drugs. However, the existing antipsychotics also cause devastating side effects,' said corresponding author Stanislav Zakharenko, M.D., Ph.D., of the St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology. 'In this study, we identified the microRNA that is a key player in disruption of that circuit and showed that depletion of the microRNA was necessary and sufficient to inhibit normal functioning of the circuit in the mouse models. We also found evidence suggesting that the microRNA, named miR-338-3p, could be targeted for development of a new class of antipsychotic drugs with fewer side effects,' he added.'" Fewer side effects would be great I battle to keep the weight off.  I walk and eat less then a normal person.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Cognitive Dysfunction Often First Sign of Schizophrenia

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "'People with schizophrenia  suffer not only from symptoms of psychosis, such as hallucinations and delusions, but neurocognitive deficits as well such as poor memory and attention. Now a new study led by psychologists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) found that certain neurocognitive symptoms tend to manifest first and are typically evident in the early, high-risk stage of the disorder called the prodromal phase.
The findings suggest that these deficits may serve as early warning signs of schizophrenia, as well as potential targets for intervention that could help curb the onset of the psychotic disorder and significantly improve cognitive function. 'To our knowledge, this is the largest and most definitive study of cognition in the high-risk period before onset of for psychosis/schizophrenia,' said corresponding author Larry J. Seidman, Ph.D., a psychologist at BIDMC and professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School.'" That is the hardest losing attention span and memory.  It makes it hard to hold down a job and make some money.
The article goes on to say: "'This is part of a paradigm shift in the way we are focusing on the earlier, prodromal phase of the disorder in an effort to identify those most likely to develop psychosis.”\'
For the study, the researchers gathered neurocognitive functioning data from participants at eight university-based, outpatient programs in the United States and Canada over the course of four years. They compared 689 males and females deemed at clinical high risk (CHR) of developing psychosis to 264 male and female healthy controls (HC). The findings show that the high-risk group performed significantly worse than the control group on all measures, which involved tests of executive and visuospatial abilities, attention and working memory, verbal abilities, and declarative memory.
Among the high-risk participants only, those who would later go on to develop psychosis performed significantly worse than their high-risk peers who did not develop psychosis during the study.
'Currently, when mental health professionals assess people coming in for evaluation, we don’t know who will eventually develop schizophrenia,' said Seidman. 'Our group’s focus is on identifying early warning signs and then developing interventions to improve a person’s chances for not getting it, making it milder or delaying it.'" Even if they can make it milder that would help.  I remember not understanding what was going on with me when I first had a breakdown.
The article ends: "Impaired working memory (the ability to hold information like a phone number in mind for a short time while it’s in use) and declarative memory (the ability to recall things learned in the last few minutes) turned out to be the key neurocognitive functions that are impaired in the high-risk, prodromal phase prior to the onset of full-blown psychosis. These findings, said Seidman, confirm the experiences of many people with schizophrenia who report sudden difficulties reading, concentrating or remembering things in the earliest days of the disorder. These cognitive deficits are the most difficult symptoms to treat and are responsible for keeping roughly 80 percent of people with schizophrenia out of work or school. New focus on the prodromal period and the growing promise of early intervention is giving patients and their families more realistic hope that better outcomes are possible, added Seidman. 'People can hear voices and still function pretty well, but they basically cannot function at all when their cognition is impaired,' he said. 'We are also testing a number of cognitive remediation and enhancement treatments to determine their role in the evolution of the illness. There’s more evidence suggesting that early intervention reduces the number of people who transition to schizophrenia.' The study is published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.'" See I would like to know how and why my memory works so good.  Although before this illness I never had a phone book I remembered everyone's phone number I still am pretty good with numbers although I do not know about other things if there is something I want to remember I just repeat the phrase or number to myself and that works.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Scientists confirm genetics of schizophrenia

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "Creating an effective treatment for schizophrenia requires a better understanding of its biology, of the genes that cause it. Using technology to illuminate chromosomes, scientists confirmed the underlying genetics of this mental disorder. The identified genetic disruptions occur at a crucial time in brain development. The science team hopes its research, published Wednesday in the Journal Nature, leads to new medications to treat the disorder.More important, using a similar strategy could help researchers identify genes that lead to autism and other brain disorders, said Dr. Daniel Geschwind, principal investigator and a professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine.Building on previous research Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling mental disorder. Its symptoms may include delusions, thought disorder and hallucinations. Worldwide, schizophrenia affects 50 million people, many unable to function normally, as they are tormented with delusions and hallucinations. No cure exists, so doctors try to manage the symptoms with medications and therapy.
Even though the 2014 research revealed parts of the genome causing schizophrenia, the results were still puzzling, Won said. These genetic loci (locations) were not in coding regions of the genome, where a genetic message is translated into proteins, which actively perform the work necessary to maintain cellular life -- and our own human lives. Instead, the loci were in regulatory regions, where genes act more or less like managers by increasing or decreasing a target gene's activities. Another problem: No nearby targets could be found. Searching for an explanation, Geschwind and his colleagues theorized that possible target genes may appear only far away. When the ropes of DNA underwent complex twisting and looping in order to fit into a chromosome, the regulatory genes and their as-yet-unknown targets might actually be close together.Genetic connection points
To investigate, Geschwind and his team used a technology called chromosome conformation capture, which chemically marks and then maps the locations where loops of chromosomal DNA come into contact. And because schizophrenia is believed to result from abnormal development of the cerebral cortex, they looked at brain cells from this region. What did Geschwind and his colleagues discover when they created a map of contact points within the chromosome? Most of the schizophrenia-linked DNA, discovered in the 2014 study, came into contact with genes known to be crucial to brain development. This confirmed past studies indicating that genes that increase the risk for schizophrenia are 'most active during early fetal brain development,"'prior to 24 weeks gestation, explained Geschwind. '"So they are saying it happens in the womb.  Hopefully this study can find an answer that I have been looking for how did I get this disease.
The article ends. "'At this crucial moment in brain development, neurons are born and migrate to different areas of the brain. All told, Geschwind and his team found that the schizophrenia-associated loci make up a small proportion -- less than 10% -- of the total genome.
"Each locus actually has very small impact in really causing schizophrenia. So it doesn't really mean if you have one locus associated with schizophrenia, you have schizophrenia," Won said. Rather, each locus increases the possibility of developing the disorder. "We know that it is not caused by one gene. We call it heterogeneity: It is a disorder that can be caused by many regions, not only one region," he said. Join the conversation See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter. The new study results may someday contribute to new treatments.
'Schizophrenia is actually an adult-onset disorder, so people really didn't think that it may have any fetal components,' Won said. 'Maybe fetal brain developmental period is a very critical for the onset of this disorder, even though the onset -- really showing off the symptoms -- comes at a much later time.'" It also come in teenager years or young adult.  Even though I did not get this disease until my late twenties I feel like some symptoms showed in my teenage years.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Risks of developing mental health problems if brother or sister affected

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "What is the risk of developing a mental disorder if a brother or sister has the condition? Now a large survey using data from all patients hospitalized in psychiatric wards in Israel, and their siblings, has given some answers: having a sibling with schizophrenia increases your risk of developing the condition by a factor of x10, with increased risks of developing bipolar disorder and other mental disorders.  Similar increases are seen with siblings of patients with bipolar disorder. This is the first study to assess risk of developing any psychiatric diagnosis in siblings of all patients hospitalized for any type of mental disorder in an entire population, and is presented at the ECNP neuroscience congress in Vienna." All of this I do not understand for my case.  None of my brother or sisters have a mental disorder.  The only ones in my family that have mental illness is a cousin on my moms side and a second cousin on my dads side. I do not think I will ever know before I die why I have this mental illness.
The article goes on to say: "The lifetime chance of suffering a mental disorder is extremely high. It is estimated that each year 38.2% of the EU population suffers from a mental disorder, corresponding to 164.8 million persons affected. It is known that siblings of patients with major mental disorders have an increased risk of suffering from the same disorder, but until now the risks have not been quantified
Now an international team has examined the rates of mental disorders in the families of 6111 Israeli patients who had been hospitalised with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or depression. They compared them to over 74,000 controls, age-and gender matched controls, taken from the Israeli Population Registry, which records all births, deaths, marriages and divorces in the country. By comparing the relative rates of mental disorders, they were able to show just how much more siblings are at risk of the same, and also other mental health conditions."  I really would like to know why I have this disease and even though I high functioning it has caused me problems in my life.  I recieved my first breakdown when I was twenty seven.  Looking back on my life though I believe I had symptoms when I was nineteen and married it did affected my marriage and is one of the reasons I am not still married.
The article ends: "If a brother or sister has schizophrenia, a sibling has x10 greater chance of themselves suffering from schizophrenia. They also have x6 to x8 increased chance of suffering from schizoaffective disorder, and x7 to x20 greater risk of suffering from bipolar disorder than the general population. If a brother or sister suffers from bipolar disorder, then their siblings have x4 greater chance of suffering from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other psychiatric disorders. According to lead researcher, Prof. Mark Weiser MD: "This is a large study which allows us to put meaningful figures on the risks of developing mental disorders after they have arisen in a brother or sister. The figures are quite striking, with x10 risk of developing schizophrenia, and similar risks once a sibling has developed bipolar disorder. These results are important clinically, as they encourage mental health workers to be aware of the increased risk of psychiatric disorders in siblings of patients. These results can also be used by researchers studying the genetic underpinnings of mental disorders, as they indicate that the same genes might be associated with increased risk for various psychiatric disorders. There was no external funding for this work."  I have two sisters and two brothers and none of them have a mental illness.  I have a lot of cousins and none of them have this disease except for the cousin that had this disease and committed suicide.  I knew why he committed suicide the state hospital in Oregon said if he came back he was going to spend the rest of his life there and he was only twenty years old.  I know that when I was released from the state hospital and relapsed here on the streets I  did not want to go back because I thought I would never get out again I was wrong they only kept me for a weekend.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Researchers criticize: Psychotropic drugs are no solution

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "'The currently available drugs cannot permanently alleviate the symptoms of mental disorders. This is the conclusion drawn by psychologists Prof Dr Jürgen Margraf and Prof Dr Silvia Schneider from Ruhr-Universität Bochum in a commentary published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.
Effect of drugs are only short-lived
Margraf and Schneider have compiled ample evidence suggesting that anti-depressant, anti-anxiety and anti-ADHD drugs have only a short-term effect; if patients discontinue treatment, their symptoms return. The authors suspect that medication for the treatment of schizophrenia would yield similar results.
Long-term application of the drugs might even have a negative effect, for example increased risk of a chronic illness or higher relapse quota.
Psychotherapies are not available for many patients
According to the authors, psychotherapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy yield much better and more sustainable results in the long-term. 'The main problem with psychotherapy is not its effectiveness or costs,' says Silvia Schneider. 'Rather, it is its insufficient availability.' While psychotropic drugs can be applied straight away, patients often have to wait a long time for their first appointment with a therapist.
Biological concepts are insufficient
In their article, the psychologists from Bochum also discuss the question why better therapies are still non-existent, despite 60 years of dedicated research. According to their opinion, one reason might be the ill-advised notion that mental disorders can be explained by biological concepts alone.'"  The medication works for me although I have read from people who have a hard time when it does not work for them. I know the first time they put me on medication the psychiatrist was getting frustrated me cause he had to keep trying to get one that worked and it was and old medicine called Moban.
The article ends: "'Today, it has become standard to tell the patients and the public that mental disorders are caused by an imbalance in the neurotransmitter system,' elaborates Jürgen Margraf. However, it is not yet clear if that phenomenon is the cause or the effect of the diseases. Social factors should not be neglected. According to Schneider and Margraf, the rigid categories of 'ill' and 'healthy' are not helpful at all with regard to mental disorders, which manifest in many different forms.
Fewer psychotropic drugs, more psychotherapy
The authors postulate that it is necessary to link research into the biological, psychological and social factors and to broaden the narrow view of possible biological causes. Large pharmaceutical companies should reduce the marketing of psychotropic drugs. Moreover, patients should be given access to psychotherapeutic services more quickly.'"  I would not know if therapy on it's own would work when I was ill I was ill and I do not think any kind of talk therapy would have helped I could not concentrate on anything.

Friday, September 9, 2016

I'm 43 and schizophrenic. According to the statistics, I'll be dead in 17 years

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "'You’ve got a choice. You can either buy cigarettes, or get food to see you through the week. For most people it’s a no-brainer. Of course you’d buy food. But if you’re suffering from schizophrenia, living on the disability support pension and facing other psycho-social challenges, then the choice isn’t so clear. 'Some of my patients will choose cigarettes over food, my clinical specialist nurse told me. They also drink huge amounts of coffee. I’ve even seen people eating dried coffee from the tin.' So what’s going on here? I’m schizophrenic, and aside from dealing with the symptoms of the illness, there’s another statistic which I’m struggling to come to grips with. People with schizophrenia tend to live between 14 and 20 years less than the general community. 'With schizophrenia, my thoughts can be like pieces of a mismatched jigsaw puzzle'  Joshua Gliddon
I’m also 43. The average life expectancy for a non-Indigenous Australian male is around 80 years, a bit longer for women. I smoke, and weigh more than I should. According to the statistics, I’ve got about another 17 years left in me. That’s quite sobering." That is the truth when I smoked most of my social security check went on cigarettes and I was thin for that reason. Coffee I had to quit because I drank so much it affected the Moban I was taking and my symptoms would show up. For me coffee was harder to quit than cigarettes my body went through changes when I quit.  Now that I am on Geodon I can drink coffee again but I do not crave like before I only have two cups in the morning and that is enough for me now.
The article goes on to say: "Professor Amanda Baker, a senior researcher at the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) specialising in schizophrenia, told me there are a number of reasons why people with schizophrenia have reduced life expectancies. The big ones are poor lifestyle, unemployment and social isolation. She said that around 85% of people with schizophrenia smoke, compared with approximately 20% of the general population. One of the main reasons people smoke, she said, is that the medications used to treat the illness are often sedative and dulling, and so people use tobacco and caffeine heavily because they’re stimulants. The medications also have other side effects. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, the anti-psychotics used to treat schizophrenia have a negative effect on metabolism. When I was first put on Olanzapine, a potent anti-psychotic, I put on about 25 kilos in a matter of months. I’ve moved onto a different medication since then, but it’s also weight unfriendly, and despite doing moderate exercise, I’ve never been able to shake the weight I gained. According to Baker, until recently there wasn’t a lot of attention paid to the physical health aspects of serious mental illness. Clinicians didn’t discourage patients from smoking because there was a pervasive attitude that you 'don’t upset the schizophrenics.'" When I quit smoking I put on a lot of weight I lost a lot by walking although the most recently lost was because of the three surgeries for lung cancer. I am trying not to put it back on again.
The article ends: "Not so long ago it was also OK to smoke in psychiatric institutions. Public facilities have clamped down on that, but smoking is still common in private hospitals.
Is there anything that can be done?  'People with schizophrenia are generally more dependent, and have less coping skills than the general population, and that makes it very hard for them to give up or make lifestyle changes,' Baker said. Brain’s immune cells hyperactive in schizophrenia New research links the onset of psychosis to the brain’s inflammatory response.  So the initiative needs to come from both patients and their care team. While psychiatrists in the past were only focused on medication and the mind, these days, said Baker, they are being encouraged to have a wider view of their patient’s health, both physical and mental. What needs to happen is a greater focus by clinicians on the overall wellbeing of their patients. Baker said this is finally occurring. 'Psychiatrists are being encouraged to look after the physical, as well as mental health of their patients, and that means addressing smoking, as well as diet and exercise,' she said. That’s a good start, but for the meantime, people with serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia will continue to die young. And that is a major downside of being sick.'" I know if they pass this new tax on cigarettes it is the mental ill that some just will not quit and use all their money to buy the cigarettes.  I know I used to be the same way.  I had  a reason to quit because I wanted my granddaughter to always come over my house.  My daughter did not want her around smoking.  Which I see now was good.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Smoking greatly reduces life expectancy for those with serious mental illness

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "'Smokers with serious mental illness have their lives cut short by about 15 years, compared with people who have never smoked and who do not have serious mental illness, research from the University of Michigan shows. They also die 10 years earlier than those with serious mental illness who have never smoked. This means smoking may account for nearly two thirds of the overall difference in life expectancy between individuals with serious mental illness who smoke, and never smokers in the general population, says Jamie Tam, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Health Management and Policy at the U-M School of Public Health, who conducted the study. 'Smoking reduces life expectancy for everyone but we tend to underestimate the importance of smoking for people with comorbidities,' Tam said. 'We know from existing research that people with mental illness live shorter lives, but what wasn't known is how much of that is due to their mental illness and how much is due to the fact that many of them are smokers.' About 42 percent of people with serious psychological distress are smokers, compared with the general population at less than 20 percent.'"  If most smokers are people with mental illness then with these new taxes what are they going to do.  I know when I smoked eighteen years ago I would spend most of my social security check on cigarettes and hardly any food.  I know others will probably do the same.
The article goes on to say: "To find out the contribution of smoking to reduced life expectancy among people with serious psychological distress, Tam and School of Public Health faculty members Kenneth Warner and Rafael Meza analyzed data from 328,000 individuals 25 years and older from the National Health Interview Survey gathered from 1997-2009. They linked it with the 2011 National Death Index. Tam said a disproportionate number of those with serious mental illnesses—including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and major depression—live in poverty, as they are often unemployed and many face homelessness and social conditions that increase their likelihood of smoking and in turn their risk of other health conditions. Deaths by suicide and accidents also occur more frequently in this population. Among those with serious psychological distress, the researchers found that 47 percent of the deaths are due to the three leading health complications associated with smoking: heart disease, cancer and stroke."  I quit because my daughter told her mom that she would not let my granddaughter who was just born in a house that had smoke.  So I decided my granddaughter was more important than smoking.  I was smoking about one and half packs a day. I had to have at least three cigarettes every morning just to start my day.  I quit with wellabutrin. There were so many side effects that I did not have time to think about smoking and I wanted my granddaughter at my house that when a month had past my doctor gave me a refill although I did not use it because I just did not smoke and did not want the side effects that was eighteen years ago and I do not miss it.
The article ends: "'This highlights the need to prioritize preventive care, including smoking cessation programs, for people with mental illness,' said Meza, senior author of the study and assistant professor of epidemiology at the U-M School of Public Health. Many people with mental illness lack adequate health care—only 32 percent of those with serious psychological distress report seeing a mental health professional—and many don't get their physical health care needs met, Tam said.
'A large majority of people with mental illness don't access mental health care, and even when they do, other health concerns like smoking are not addressed,' she said. 'There have been calls to integrate smoking interventions into mental health care but these recommendations haven't been fully implemented.'"  They really need to have something that does  not have side effects for the people to quit.  I heard it is hard but with medicines you also need willpower or a good reason to quit. I had a reason and I just did not need the headache of the medicine that was supposed to help.