Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Music helps you focus on your own thoughts, but only if you like it


That is the title of this article I am writing about. “When we listen to music we enjoy, it makes us feel different. Truly beloved songs inspire a different state of mind than the average pretty background noise.  A study published Thursday in Scientific Reports pinpoints the changes in neurological activity behind that experience. In a small study (with 21 young adults, total), participants with different genre preferences were exposed to entire songs while in an MRI. They were exposed to a like genre, a disliked genre, and their self-reported favorite song.  They were looking for changes in brain activity that related to preference for the music being listened to, as opposed to changes that might occur based on differences in the musicality or lyrics of the tune.”  That is great that they are looking at this.  Music I believe helps people in many ways.
It continues to say: “If your favorite artist is Beyonce, her dance anthems probably make you feel as focused as a classical music lover listening to Beethoven – and that’s pretty crazy.  The researchers wanted to understand how people could have the same feeling associated with their favorite music (greater self-reflection and inward thought) regardless of genre.  When listening to a preferred genre or a favorite song, the participants had greater connectivity between regions of the brain called the default mode network (DMN).”  I know when I am angry all I have to do is put on music that I like and even if I do not like it calms me down.  I listen to music on my headphones on the way to work and when I leave work.  It makes things a lot better for me.
The article goes on to say: “The DMN is associated with that switch we can flip between inner and outer thought.  When the DMN is active, you’re not focused on what’s happening in the physical world around you – you’re using internal stimuli, like memories and your imagination.  Of course, you probably already knew that your favorite music could make you zone out.  The study authors hope that these findings will encourage innovative music therapy in individuals who have conditions associated with poor DMN activity and connectivity, like autism and schizophrenia.”  I never did listen to music when I was in psychosis.  Although when I was in the State Hospital the first thing I asked for was a stereo.  I did listen to it when I was sick in the state hospital and the delusions were still there when I had my second breakdown in the hospital.  Although I still wanted to listen to my tapes, also when I have a problem I listen to music it helps a lot.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Difficulty assessing effort drives motivation deficits in schizophrenia, study finds


That is the title of this article I am writing about. “Individuals with schizophrenia often have trouble engaging in daily tasks or setting goals for themselves, and a new study from San Francisco State University suggests the reason might be their difficulty in assessing the amount of effort required to complete tasks.  The research, detailed in an article published this week in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, can assist health professionals in countering motivation deficits among patients with schizophrenia and help those patients function normally by breaking up larger, complex tasks into smaller, easier-to-grasp ones.”  The tasks they set themselves up for maybe too large and they need to make them smaller and easier to grasp.  That makes sense if you have to clean house just start small and clean a little of a room or just one room at a time.
I wonder if that is easier to do. “This is one of the first studies to carefully and systematically look at the daily activities of people with schizophrenia - - what those people are doing, what goals are they setting for themselves,’ said David Gard, an associate professor of psychology at SF State who has spent years researching motivation and emotion. ‘We knew that people schizophrenia were not engaging in a lot of goal-directed behavior.  We just didn’t know why.’ In 2011, Gard received a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to study the reasons behind this difficulty in goal setting.  An earlier article detailing other research from this study, published in May in the journal Schizophrenia Research, showed that when people with schizophrenia do set goals for themselves, they set them for the same reasons as persons without: to connect with others.  But motivation deficits are still common among these individuals, and his latest study set out to pinpoint the reason.” I haven’t set any goals for myself in a long time.  I have been thinking about it for some time.  I do feel a need to change some things in my life.  I have become to set in my ways again.
How did they figure out what might work? “Through a series of cognitive assessments and random phone calls, Gard and his colleagues at SF State and the University of California, San Francisco collected data from 47 people with and 41 people without schizophrenia.  Participants were called four times a day, randomly throughout the day, for a week and asked about their current mood, as well as what they were doing; how much enjoyment they were getting out of it; and what their goals for the rest of the day were.  The results were coded by variables such as how much pleasure they were getting out of their daily activities and how much effort was involved, then compared that with the results from the cognitive assessments.  Gard and his fellow researchers found that, while people with schizophrenia engage in low-impact, pleasurable goals - - such as watching TV or eating food for enjoyment - - as much as others, they have a greater difficulty with more complex undertakings or goals requiring more effort.”  That is what I have to do is stop watching so much TV and start reading again I haven’t read a real book in over five years.  Start my walks again get out of the house.
The article ends with: “There’s something breaking down in the process around assessing high-effort, high-rewards goals,’ Gard said.  When the reward is high and the effort is high, that’s when people with schizophrenia struggle to hold in mind and go after the thing they want for themselves.  The findings indicate that health-care providers who want to help individuals with schizophrenia set goals for themselves should break larger tasks into smaller, simpler ones with rewards.  For example, instead of guiding a patient specifically toward the larger goal of getting in physical shape, a provider could instead encourage them to gradually walk a little bit more every day. That’s something we would do for everyone else, but it might have been avoided in patients with schizophrenia because we thought they weren’t experiencing as much pleasure from their activities as they actually are,’ Gard added.  We can help them to identify things that are pleasurable and reward them toward larger goals.” I believe I will give it a try and just start smaller and walk around the lake to get my mail like I used to and build up my walking again and get out of the house.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Many With Schizophrenia Say They’re Happy: Study


That is the title of this article about people with schizophrenia saying they are happy.  The article sounds good since many with schizophrenia have negative symptoms. “Even though schizophrenia is one of the most severe forms of mental illness, nearly 40 percent of people with the disorder say they’re happy, new research contends.  Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, surveyed 72 schizophrenia patients, ranging in age from 23 to 70, living in the San Diego area, and found that 37 percent said they were happy all or most of the time.  Their happiness wasn’t related to the length or severity of their mental illness, to their mental or physical status, or to factors such as age and education.  Instead their happiness was associated with positive mental and social characteristics such as optimism, resilience and lower stress levels, the researchers said.” I would guess they are not the ones that have problems due to negative symptoms.  They are just ordinary folks that have a mental illness but do not let it define them.
The article goes on to say: “The findings are valuable because these positive traits can be taught to many people, said the authors of the study, which was published online Aug. 18 in the journal Schizophrenia Research. ‘People tend to think that happiness in schizophrenia is an oxymoron,’ senior author Dr. Dilip Jeste, a professor of psychiatry and neurosciences, said in a university new release. ‘Without discounting the suffering this disease inflicts on people, our study shows that happiness is an attainable goal for at least some schizophrenia patients.  This means we can help make these individuals’ lives happier,’ Jeste added.  By way of comparison, about 83 percent of people without schizophrenia said they were never or rarely happy, compared with about 15 percent of those with the mental disorder.” If they can help make people happier then I am all for it.  I am hardly down that much although I am not happy all the time there are things that come up that makes being happy all the time less likely to happen.
The article ends with: “People with schizophrenia are clearly less happy than those in the general population at large, but this is not surprising,’ study lead author Barton Palmer, a professor in the university’s department of psychiatry, said in the news release.  ‘What is impressive is that almost 40 percent of these patients are reporting happiness and that their happiness is associated with positive psychosocial attributes that can be potentially enhanced,’ Palmer added.  The study was funded, in part, by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) According to the NIMH, schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling brain disorder.  People with the disorder may hear voices other people don’t hear, they may believe other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts or plotting to harm them.  This can make them withdrawn or extremely agitated.”  That in itself can make a person not to happy all the time to be controlled by symptoms.  Problems come and go to always be happy is a very good thing. I am usually happy until a problem outside my control happens.  It is a good study and happy they did it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Aim for Next-Gen Schizophrenia Drugs is Dimming Symptoms Without Side Effects


That is the title of this article about a new class of drugs for schizophrenia. “
A recently published study suggests a new class of drug may act as a dimmer switch to control schizophrenia.  The approach is heralded as a method to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia without some of the side-effects associated with current anti-psychotic medicines.  Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder that affects one percent of the general population; however, it occurs in 10 percent of people who have a first degree relative with the disorder, such as a parent, brother of sister. The medical condition disturbs a person’s ability to think, feel, and act and is associated with distressing symptoms including hallucinations and delusions.”  I do remember the side effects when I was on Moban.  I could not drink coffee on Stelazine I would shake.  I know a lot of people with schizophrenia have these side effects and they cannot get relief from them.

The article goes on to say: “Researcher Dr. Rob Lane said all current anti-psychotic medicines block the action of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, at a brain protein called the dopamine D2 receptor, resulting in serious side effects. ‘These medications frequently result in serious side effects because this protein is also important for the control of movement.  The side effects can sometimes persist even after the patient has stopped taking the medication,’ said Lane. Co-lead researcher Arthur Christopoulos, Ph.D., said gaining a better understanding of the biology of schizophrenia will lead to more effective drugs.”  Let’s really hope so because the side-effects can make you stop using anti-psychotics.  A person does not always want to be twitching.  Even if you get off the medication it can still last. I hope they can find a dimmer switch.
The article goes on to say: “The idea behind our research is to develop a drug that doesn’t completely block dopamine at the D2 receptor, acts to subtly dial down dopamine’s effect, a  bit like a dimmer switch,’ Christipoulos said. ‘This means that if we can get just the right amount of dial-down, we could treat the symptoms of the disease and avoid some of these side-effects.  We’re a long way yet from developing a drug, but our dimmer switch approach to controlling schizophrenia means it’s conceivable we could have a whole new class of anti-psychotics in the future.’ As published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, the research team also found a unique twist with the molecule, its mechanism of action changed depending on the arrangement of the D2 receptor in the brain.  Lane believes this represents a new approach to develop anti-psychotics, as it gives researchers more information about the protein involved in the disease.  This extra information will help researchers develop new drugs that target the protein.”  Things always take time.  We get older although if it helps someone down the line I believe that is great. I know this takes time although once they figure out what helps than they can get on to figuring how to stop the negative symptoms that trouble so many schizophrenics.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

High IQ Runs in Families with Psychiatric Issues


That is the title of this article I am writing about.  “Schizophrenia is often found in families with high rates of psychological illness.  When one member of a family has schizophrenia, the chances of other members developing psychological problems, including schizophrenia and psychosis, increase.  Some of the factors that are considered when analyzing risk for illness are family history, life stressors, trauma, and IQ.  Each of these had a unique relationship with risk and schizophrenia.” I am hoping that is not true as all I have is my grandchildren and I sure do not want them to develop it.  It does not run in my family as the only one that had is a cousin on my dad’s side.  As far as IQ my mom had some college and my dad is just smart.  I have two brothers and two sisters and none of them developed any sign of mental illness.  I think it is the hard drugs I took such as PCP.
Although the article says: “In a recent study, Kim W. Verwij of the Department of Psychiatry at the University Medical Centre Utrecht in the Netherlands sought to explore the influence and evidence of IQ in families with schizophrenia. Using a sample 696 individuals with schizophrenia and their siblings (766), Verwij compared IQ scores to those of 517 individuals with no history of schizophrenia or psychiatric issues.  Researchers collected data from all participants without schizophrenia and scored them separately.  Those with schizophrenia also completed IQ tests and their results were analyzed independently” I guess my schizophrenia must be a fluke and that is what I am hoping for because I never want one family member to go through what I have.
It goes on to say: “The results show that siblings of those with schizophrenia only had elevated IQs if they themselves had any history of mental health issues, or if other family did.  Those siblings who did not have family history, excluding the member with schizophrenia, who also had a family member with mental health issues, had higher IQ scores that the individuals with schizophrenia and no family history. Verwij believes that this suggests a high familial influence on psychiatric impairment in the participants with family illness, while those without may be more influenced by external and variable factors, such as trauma, premature birth, or other stressors. Not only do these factors create a ripe environment for psychological impairment, but they also increase vulnerability for intellectual and cognitive disability.  This study provides much needed insight into the unique association between IQ and genetic predisposition for schizophrenia.  Verweij added, ‘Since the association between IQ scores and family history of psychiatric disorder in siblings is not extensively investigated, more research is needed to further address this question’” This always lead myself to the question how I received my mental illness I know that I have it.  I went through it. I still think something else happened and I really hope that is true.   Other words I have my questions although I do not think they will ever be answered.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sun Sensitivity


That is the title of this article after I wrote last week’s article about vitamin deficiency.  I read a lot of other schizophrenics, and I know about myself.  I touched a little on this last week one thing they did not mention is that people with schizophrenia cannot be out in the sun.  Why because they have sun sensitivity.  I have it even though I am on Geodon.  When I get out in the sun I burn and sweat just going a couple of blocks out in the sun.  That is one reason this last Sunday I took the bus I did not want to go to the store and be all burned up.
I think researchers have to ask people about these things before they just put in they do not get enough sun there is a reason behind it.  Another being talked about is that a person has to learn to love their selves. You always have to be with yourself and I learned that when I was in prison where I was locked up.  A person that is locked up can have hard time not liking themselves.  You are locked in a cell and if you do not get to know yourself and love yourself who else is.  Your family is not going to always be with you.  Sometimes you are the only person around.  We all make mistakes and we all learn sometimes not to make the same mistake twice.
To me I think no matter what I have not matter whom I have in my life I think life is always going to be hard. I do get down once in a while and wonder what I am doing how I lived so long when a lot of my friends have died young. I pushed the envelope a lot and do not understand how mostly besides doing time I came out ok.  I have schizophrenia although I do not have negative symptoms.  You would not know unless I told you. I went to college late in life. I think that was the hardest thing I ever did in life because I could not learn as everyone else I had to have a tutor. I had to say I had a disability because that was the most important thing at the time to finish college no matter what.
I did it took eight years to get a masters.  I would do my best and still it wasn’t until my masters that I learned how to get great grades my declaring that I had a disability and getting help.  No matter how hard life is you can get through it.  I believe it is harder for this generation because everything cost so much.  We did not have cell phones when I was growing up or computers and they all cost without a good job you cannot always have everything a person would want.  Work is the only way to succeed.  Hope that things always turn out for the best.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Vitamin D Deficiency Common in Schizophrenia

That is the title of this article  I am writing about. "A new study finds that vitamin D-deficient individuals are twice as likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia as people who have sufficient levels of the vitamin. Vitamin D, produced by the skin after exposure to sunlight, helps the body absorb calcium and is needed for bone and muscle health. More than one billion people worldwide are estimated to have deficient levels of vitamin D due to limited sunshine exposure. Vitamin D is often linked to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that occurs the same time every year and maybe attributable to a lack of sunshine. Schizophrenia is a mental illness with symptoms that include delusions and hallucinations." I believe we do not get enough of sun because the type of medication we are on. I know when I was on Moban I could not be out in the sun because it effected my body because of the medication.
Although they do not discuss that here: ‘"Since schizophrenia is more prevalent high latitudes and cold climates, researchers have theorized vitamin D may be connected to the disorder. This is first comprehensive meta-analysis to study the relationship between the two conditions,’ said one of the study’s authors Ahmed Esmaillzadeh, Ph.D. ‘When we examined the finding of several observational studies on vitamin D and schizophrenia, we found people with schizophrenia have lower vitamin D levels than healthy people. Vitamin D deficiency is quite common among people with schizophrenia.’ The researchers reviewed the findings of 19 observational studies that assessed the link between vitamin D and schizophrenia. The meta-analysis found that people with schizophrenia had significantly lower levels of vitamin D in the blood compared to control groups." Does that mean there is not that much schizophrenia in Florida because it is warmer? I think it is all over the world.
The article goes on to say: ‘"The average difference in vitamin D levels between schizophrenic patients and control participants was -5.91 ng/ml. People with vitamin D deficiency were 2.16 times more likely to have schizophrenia than those with sufficient vitamin D in their bloodstreams. In addition, 65 percent of the participants who had schizophrenia also were vitamin D deficient. There is a growing trend in the nutrition science field to consider vitamin D and its relationship to conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and depression,’ Esmaillzadeh said. ‘Our finding support the theory that vitamin D may have a significant impact on psychiatric health. More research is needed to determine how the growing problem of vitamin D deficiency may be affecting our overall health." It can cause problems in ordinary people so it can also affect those with schizophrenia. A person just wonders how much it does.