Thursday, January 19, 2017

Schizophrenia may cause type 2 diabetes, new study finds

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "People with schizophrenia tend to die up to 30 years earlier than the general population. Many of these untimely deaths are due to physical disorders, including heart attacks and stroke, for which diabetes is a major risk factor. Antipsychotic drugs are known to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, but there are other things that make schizophrenics particularly susceptible to the disorder, including poor diet and a lack of exercise. However, our latest study found that the risk of developing diabetes in people with schizophrenia remains high even when we take these factors into account. People with long-term schizophrenia are three times more likely than the general population to have diabetes. The link between schizophrenia and diabetes was first made back in the 19th century. This was long before the use of antipsychotics, and in an era when diets were less likely to cause diabetes. This could suggest that there is a causative link between schizophrenia and diabetes. Our study examined whether diabetes risk is already raised in people at the onset of schizophrenia – before they’ve started taking antipsychotic drugs or when they’ve only just started taking them."I do not know if I was susceptible to diabetes before I received this mental illness. My grandma and two aunts had it.  Although my parents do not have it or my brothers and sisters. I am susceptible to it and have had it although I tell my doctors it is diet controlled for the last three years.
The article goes on to say: "We pooled data from multiple studies that examined evidence of diabetic risk in blood samples from people with early schizophrenia prescribed little or no antipsychotic medication. Diabetes is characterised by elevated blood glucose. The higher the level of glucose in the blood, the higher the risk of diabetes. We demonstrated that compared with healthy individuals, people with schizophrenia had higher levels of glucose in the blood. We also looked at levels of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that triggers the movement of glucose from blood into tissue. Raised insulin levels are seen in type 2 diabetes. We demonstrated higher levels of insulin, and increased levels of insulin resistance in individuals with early schizophrenia. Hints of a direct role of schizophrenia in diabetes. These results remained statistically significant even when we restricted our analysis to studies where people with schizophrenia were matched to healthy controls with regards their diet, the amount of exercise they engaged in and their ethnic background. This suggests that our results were not wholly driven by differences in lifestyle factors or ethnicity between the two groups, and may therefore point towards a direct role for schizophrenia in increasing risk of diabetes."  I walk at least three miles three days out of the week.  I also take 1000 mg of cinnamon every morning with breakfast. What the cinnamon does it knock down your diabetes number.  Mine before I took cinnamon was 5.6 and after I take cinnamon everyday at breakfast and my number drops to 5.4 which is even better. 5.7 is pre-diabetes.  Some places they only sell the cinnamon in 500 mg then you take two.  Here I only found it at Rite Aid.
The article ends with: "There are several factors that could increase the likelihood of developing both conditions. These include a shared genetic risk, as well as shared developmental risk factors. For example, premature birth and low birth weight are recognised as risk factors for the development of both schizophrenia and diabetes later in life. Raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol is also a risk factor for diabetes. It is possible that the stress associated with developing schizophrenia, which sees levels of cortisol rise, may also contribute to higher diabetic risk. These findings are a wake-up call that we need to rethink the link between diabetes and schizophrenia and start prevention right from the onset of schizophrenia. It is a case of treating the mind and the body right from the start." That is what they need to do is start checking right away and start people exercising and  watching all they eat.  I did splurge during the holidays and was worried when I took my labs this December.  This disease I do not know why I have it.  It was blow to find out I had a mental illness.  Then when I stopped smoking and my weight increased and my doctor checked I had diabetes. I do not know if it was the weight gain.  Since then I have lost around thirty pounds my walking and taking care of what I eat.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Nerve-signaling protein regulates gene associated with Schizophrenia

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, have identified a protein that regulates a gene associated with schizophrenia. The study, published in the Journal of Neurophysiology, was chosen as an APSselect article for January.
Schizophrenia -- a chronic mental illness that affects a person's thoughts, feelings and behavior -- is determined in part by genetic makeup. The DISC1 gene is associated with developing schizophrenia. DISC1 is involved in the growth of nerve cells, proper nerve signaling and the ability of the brain to grow and adjust (neuroplasticity) throughout a person's lifetime. Loss of DISC1 function can interrupt the normal signaling pattern, which may lead to schizophrenia-like symptoms, such as movement disorders, memory problems and reduced expression of emotions."I do not have to bad of memory problems I can still remember numbers great.  I also watch how my memory is on other things and I think it is normal. Although I do know people with mental illness that have memory problems. As for reduced expression of emotions I think I fall into that category although I have nothing to base it on.
The article continues: "Caveolin (Cav-1) is a cell membrane protein that promotes nerve signaling and neuroplasticity in the nervous system. In this study, the research team looked at the interaction between Cav-1 and DISC1 in the nerve cells of mice. The team is the first to find that Cav-1 regulates the function of DISC1. Mice that did not express the Cav-1 protein had less DISC1 expression in the brain and showed symptoms on the molecular level similar to that seen in brains afflicted with schizophrenia. When the researchers reintroduced Cav-1 specifically in nerve cells of these mice, DISC1 protein, in addition to proteins critical for synaptic plasticity (the ability of neurons to grow and form new connections), returned to normal levels."  Now that sounds promising because if they can find medication that returns synaptic plasticity that would be great for all that have schizophrenia. Even though it would not help me I think it would be great for all other's that suffer this disease.
The article ends: "'The study's findings have significant implications for schizophrenia treatment. 'While pharmacological treatments such as antipsychotics are available for schizophrenia, these classes of drugs show poor efficacy for most patients, especially in reversing cognitive abnormalities,' wrote the researchers. 'Further understanding of how Cav-1 modulates DISC1 to maintain and organize neuronal growth signaling and proper function is of upmost importance to better understand and identify potential molecular targets for treating schizophrenia.'"What they have for medicine now is not all that great.  I do OK now but I have to always remember that after I take my medication I could fall asleep in the next two hours a side effect.  New medication that help a person grow is of the uppermost urgency.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

New Findings Show Dopamine’s Complex Role in Schizophrenia

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "'Recent advances in understanding the role of dopamine signaling in schizophrenia are highlighted in a special edition of the journal Biological Psychiatry. Seven reviews show the complexity of the neurotransmitter’s action, and several articles describe how new insights may eventually improve treatment for the disorder. Dopamine alterations are some of the most well-established research findings in schizophrenia, said Anissa Abi-Dargham, M.D., of Stony Brook University, New York, and a deputy editor of Biological Psychiatry.'Unlike any other neurobiological hypothesis of the disease, the dopamine hypothesis has confirmatory evidence from in vivo studies in patients and from pharmacological therapies, she said.'"Now they are going back to what they said in the first place caused mental illness dopamine. I understand that they have to understand it to find better medicine and therapy.
The article goes on to say: "'Despite this, researchers have yet to fully understand when and how dopamine alterations arise in the brain, or their relationship with the diversity of symptoms in the disease. 'This issue highlights the complexity of the findings in patients with the disorder, and raises the possibility that dopamine alterations can lead to a vast array of consequences on the circuitry, on learning and behavior that can explain the vast array of symptom clusters,' Abi-Dargham said.
The body of work collated in the issue ranges from human studies to animal models. New technology in the form of neuroimaging, genetic, and molecular imaging studies have helped clarify the regional differences of dopamine dysfunction throughout the brain. Importantly, the studies have detailed the timing of dopamine alterations in relation to development, symptom onset, and other neurobiological alterations in the disease. Moreover, animal models have allowed researchers to further refine and test the hypothesis, and explore mechanisms behind the dysregulation.'"I know the consequences they have to find out what caused this problem and how to fix it.  What causes dopamine to act up and give a person a mental illness?
The article ends with: "'Clarifying the role of dopamine signaling in schizophrenia also shows promise for improving treatment for the disorder. 'We include here some examples of exciting new targeted therapeutic approaches that are currently under development,' Abi-Dargham said.
Although the dopamine system has long been pegged as the culprit for psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia, a review in this issue using a computational approach provides an explanation for how dopamine dysfunction could lead to the range of symptoms present in the disorder. The therapeutic approaches proposed in the issue aim to find new strategies for targeting dopamine signaling to improve the limitations of current antipyschotic drugs. The new strategies are necessary as the current methods only treat psychotic symptoms and come with a host of major side effects. Researchers say the new focus will be to target new pathways and tap into dopamine’s role in other regions of the brain." I understand that this could cause new drugs to come out without the side effects.  I know that even I that function pretty good my medication I have to take with food.  I also have take it when I know I want to sleep because after two hours it puts me to sleep.  The big thing I still want to know is why I have this disease.  I sure would like to know before I die.  I know I am lucky in that it did not come for me until my late twenties. So I had some life before this illness and need to understand the why now.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Study identifies key indicators linking violence and mental illness

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "'New research from North Carolina State University, RTI International, Arizona State University and Duke University Medical Center finds a host of factors that are associated with subsequent risk of adults with mental illness becoming victims or perpetrators of violence. The work highlights the importance of interventions to treat mental-health problems in order to reduce community violence and instances of mental-health crises. 'This work builds on an earlier study that found almost one-third of adults with mental illness are likely to be victims of violence within a six-month period,' says Richard Van Dorn, a researcher at RTI and lead author of a paper describing the work. 'In this study, we addressed two fundamental questions: If someone is victimized, is he or she more likely to become violent? And if someone is violent, is he or she more likely to be victimized? The answer is yes, to both questions.' The researchers analyzed data from a database of 3,473 adults with mental illnesses who had answered questions about both committing violence and being victims of violence. The database drew from four earlier studies that focused on issues ranging from antipsychotic medications to treatment approaches. Those studies had different research goals, but all asked identical questions related to violence and victimization. For this study, the researchers used a baseline assessment of each study participant's mental health and violence history as a starting point, and then tracked the data on each participant for up to 36 months.'"They are forgetting substance abuse.  I am not violent although when I had an episode for the second time and I drank I was violent and went to the state hospital because of a crime that happened when I was psychotic and drunk.
The article goes on to say: "'Specifically, the researchers assessed each individual's homelessness, inpatient mental-health treatment, psychological symptoms of mental illness, substance use and as victims or perpetrators of violence. The researchers evaluated all of these items as both indicators and outcomes -- i.e., as both causes and effects. 'We found that all of these indicators mattered, but often in different ways,' says Sarah Desmarais, an associate professor of psychology at NC State and co-author of the paper. 'For example, drug use was a leading indicator of committing violence, while alcohol use was a leading indicator of being a victim of violence.' However, the researchers also found that one particular category of psychological symptoms was also closely associated with violence: affective symptoms. 'By affect, we mean symptoms including anxiety, depressive symptoms and poor impulse control,' Desmarais says. 'The more pronounced affective symptoms were, the more likely someone was to both commit violence and be a victim of violence. 'This is particularly important because good practices already exist for how to help people, such as therapeutic interventions or medication,' she adds. 'And by treating people who are exhibiting these symptoms, we could reduce violence. Just treating drug or alcohol use -- which is what happens in many cases -- isn't enough. We need to treat the underlying mental illness that is associated with these affective symptoms.'" That is what worked for me to stop drinking and it has been 27 years since I last took a drink.  Since then I have not been stopped for a crime or been charged with anything alcohol is bad for me and I know it.
The article ends: "'The research also highlighted how one violent event could cascade over time.
For example, on average, the researchers found that one event in which a person was a victim of violence triggered seven other effects, such as psychological symptoms, homelessness and becoming perpetrators of violence. Those seven effects, on average, triggered an additional 39 additional effects. 'It's a complex series of interactions that spirals over time, exacerbating substance use, mental-health problems and violent behavior,' Van Dorn says. 'These results tell us that we need to evaluate how we treat adults with severe mental illness,' he adds. 'Investing in community-based mental health treatment programs would significantly reduce violent events in this population,' says Desmarais. 'That would be more effective and efficient than waiting for people to either show up at emergency rooms in the midst of a mental-health crisis or become involved in the legal system as either victims or perpetrators of violence. 'We have treatments for all of these problems, we just need to make them available to the people that need them,' Desmarais says.'"You have to recognize the problem and then deal with it.  I did not need AA even though I had to go my crime was so bad in my mind that I did not want to drink again. I have not went to AA for the last twelve years because I will never drink again I hit the bottom and do not need alcohol to put me back in jail.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

MRI Scans Detect ‘Brain Rust’ in Patients with Schizophrenia

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "'New research has discovered that a damaging chemical imbalance in the brain may contribute to schizophrenia. Using a new kind of MRI measurement, neuroscientists reported higher levels of oxidative stress in patients with schizophrenia, when compared both to healthy individuals and those with bipolar disorder. 'Intensive energy demands on brain cells leads to accumulation of highly reactive oxygen species, such as free radicals and hydrogen peroxide,' said the study’s lead investigator, Dr. Fei Du, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.'" I believe this article because they have always said it was chemical imbalance.  It still have to find out what they can do about it.
The article goes on to say: "In schizophrenia, excessive oxidation, which involves the same type of chemical reaction that causes metal to corrode into rust, is widely thought to cause inflammation and cellular damage. However, measuring this process in the living human brain has been a challenge.
Du and his colleagues at McLean Hospital measured oxidative stress using a novel magnetic resonance spectroscopy technique. This technique uses MRI scanners to non-invasively measure brain concentrations of two molecules, NAD+ and NADH, that give a readout of how well the brain is able to buffer out excessive oxidants." It does not disappear in people with mental illness.  It must wear on the brain and that would be what causes a mental illness?
The article ends: "'Among 21 patients with chronic schizophrenia, Du observed a 53 percent elevation in NADH compared to healthy individuals of similar age. A similar degree of NADH elevation was seen in newly diagnosed schizophrenia, suggesting that oxidation imbalance is present even in the early stages of illness, according to the researchers. More modest NADH increases were also seen in bipolar disorder, which shares some genetic and clinical overlap with schizophrenia. In addition to offering new insights into the biology of schizophrenia, this finding also provides a potential way to test the effectiveness of new interventions, according to Du. 'We hope this work will lead to new strategies to protect the brain from oxidative stress and improve brain function in schizophrenia,' he said. The research was presented at the 2016 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Annual Meeting in Hollywood, Florida.'"This is such a small article and a lot more needs to be said about how this can help.  Also do people still have this oxidation when the are on anti-psychotic medication?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Those with Schizophrenia Share Tips on Living Productive Lives

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "'In a new study, researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles and colleagues at the University of Southern California describe some of the strategies people with schizophrenia have used to overcome the disorder and function successfully in their careers. Their findings appear in the journal Psychiatric Services. Investigators conducted up to three interviews each with 10 men and 10 women with schizophrenia from the Los Angeles area. All of them continued to have some psychotic symptoms even as they were employed in professional, technical, or managerial occupations.
'To the best of our knowledge, no previous studies have addressed how individuals with schizophrenia who also met some definition of recovery manage the symptoms of their disease,'said Dr. Amy Cohen, an associate research psychologist and the study’s first author. The researchers found that the people they interviewed had adopted numerous coping strategies to prevent and deal with symptoms. These strategies included avoiding stressful situations, staying away from alcohol and drugs and taking their prescribed medications. '" I do not avoid stressful situations I function perfectly except I have to take my medicine with food and know I can fall asleep two hours after I take it so I cannot always go places or out to eat knowing I have to take my medicine soon.
The article goes on to say: "'The interviewees also said they try to interact with people who are supportive and non-judgmental and that they use various cognitive strategies to help them reason through problematic thoughts and whether or not those thoughts are based in reality. The subjects also mentioned religion and spirituality, and exercise and diet, as ways they prevent or deal with psychiatric instability, Cohen said. Some individuals reported that calm, soothing places help them cope, while others said they preferred to seek out more activity. And some said jobs and educational activities could be distracting, but others said that school or career help by providing a sense of belonging. 'One big surprise — and disappointment — was the disparity between the education of these individuals and the salaries they were earning,' Cohen said. 'Most of the patients studied had college or advanced degrees but still made less than $50,000 annually despite working in a large, urban city.'  Researchers discovered that even with the various coping strategies, about half of those surveyed reported having difficulty managing their daily lives, not having felt close to another person within the prior week and experiencing recent hallucinations or delusions. Sadly, these symptoms are characteristic of the disorder. Overall, social stigma continues to be a serious problem for those affected by schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.'" I have a masters degree but do not use it it is in Public Administration.  I did not go in that field the reason I received my masters is because I had took alcohol and drug counselor but after my internship did not really like it because of the hours and the place I interned at. I went back as quick as I could and signed up for the first masters I could get.
The article ends: "'There is a widespread misunderstanding that individuals with schizophrenia are violent and dangerous, often homeless, and beyond help,’' Cohen said. Prior studies have shown that half to two-thirds of people with schizophrenia will significantly improve or fully recover, enabling them to live fulfilling and productive lives. Cohen said she hopes the findings provide encouragement for people battling the stigma of mental illness and that the study helps inform treatment for schizophrenia. 'The bulk of treatments for schizophrenia were developed from observations of individuals who are quite ill or hospitalized, rather than patients who have achieved a level of recovery,' Cohen said. “And the prevailing medical model continues to presuppose the expertise of the clinician over the individual with the disorder. This study allows for new insights by leveraging firsthand experiences of those with schizophrenia.” Whenever I am angry or just sad or something I play music that always helps me with situations it calms me down.  Makes life more bearable.

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.