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.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Schizophrenia: the most misunderstood mental illness?

That is the title of this article I am writing about.  “Schizophrenia affects over 220,000 people in England and is possibly the most stigmatized and misunderstood of all mental illnesses.  While mental health stigma is decreasing overall, thanks in large part to the Time to Change anti stigma campaign which we run with Mind, people with schizophrenia are still feared and demonized.  Over 60 per cent of people with mental health problems say the stigma and discrimination they face is so bad, that it’s worse than the symptoms of the illness itself.  Stigma ruins lives.  It means people end up suffering alone, afraid to tell friends, family and colleagues about what they’re going through.  This silence encourages feelings of shame and can ultimately deter people from getting help.” I would like to be judged for me, not my mental illness. Even though I am highly functioning I do not tell people I have a mental illness.  I figure life is hard enough if you tell them you have a mental illness they stop talking to you and judge how you act.
Let’s let someone else explain what happens: “Someone who knows firsthand how damaging this stigma can be is 33 year old Erica Camus, who was sacked from her job as a university lecturer, after her bosses found out about her schizophrenia diagnosis, which she’d kept hidden from them.  Erica was completely stunned.  ‘It was an awful feeling.  The dean said that if I’d been open about my illness at the start, I’d have still got the job.  But I don’t believe him.  To me, it was blatant discrimination.’  She says that since then, she’s become even more cautious about being open. ‘I’ve discussed it with lots of people who’re in a similar position, but I still don’t know what the best way is.  My strategy now is to avoid telling people unless it’s come up, although it can be very hard to keep under wraps.’”  To lose your job because you have a mental illness that you keep under control is wrong.  I believe we are just like anyone else except we have to take medication to keep us this way.
The article goes on to say: “I think part of the problem is that most people who have never experienced psychosis, find it hard to imagine what it’s like.  Most of us can relate to depression and anxiety, but a lot of us struggle to empathise with people affected by schizophrenia.  Another problem is that when schizophrenia is mentioned in the media or portrayed on screen, it’s almost always linked to violence.  We see press headlines about ‘schizo’ murders and fictional characters in film or on TV are often no better.  Too often, characters with mental illness are the sinister baddies waiting in the shadows, they’re the ones you’re supposed to be frightened of, not empathise with.  This is particularly worrying in light of research by Time to Change, which found that people develop their understanding of mental illness from films, more than any other type of media.  These skewed representations of mental illness have created a false association between schizophrenia and violence in the public imagination.  In reality, violence is not a symptom of the illness and those affected are much more likely to be the victim of a crime than the perpetrator.”  I believe there is more violence done under the influence of alcohol than schizophrenia.  I know firsthand because since I was diagnosed with schizophrenia I have not been arrested for nothing I have not even been stopped and this is a person who was always in jail for something stupid done under the influence. I would not even have gone to the state hospital if it wasn’t for alcohol. Most people do not act upon their delusions, although there are a few that do that is why all the bad media. Please read the entire story at the link it has more.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Adults with Mental Illness twice as likely to use tobacco

That is the title of this article that I am writing about.  Smoking is a hard thing to quit. “Adults with mental illness are twice as likely to use tobacco as adults without mental illness, according to a new American report.  The report found 37.8 percent of adults with mental illness smoke, compared to 17.3 percent of adults without mental illness.  Nearly one-half of adults in the study who experienced mental illness reported smoking in the last 30 days. Smoking rates are highest among those with serious mental illness, multiple disorders and substance use disorders.  Kansas adults with mental illness are twice as likely to use tobacco as adults without mental illness, according to a new report by RTI international and funded by the Kansas Health Foundation.” I never understood why it has a calming effect for people with mental illness.
When I was in my mental illness I do know that I smoked more I do not know why although I did.   In fact I train smoked cigarettes. “The smoking rate among adults with mental illness remains high despite progress made in tobacco control and the decrease of smoking among the general population.’ Said Betty Brown, research health analyst at RTI and lead author of the study.  ‘As a result, people with mental illness are at an increased risk of negative health, financial, and social outcomes associated with their tobacco use.” I quit sixteen years ago. I was a heavy smoker and probably heard this story.  My granddaughter was about to be born and my daughter who was living with her mother told her mother that she had to quit for the baby.  Instead I wanted to babysit my granddaughter and I quit instead.  I went to my doctor and he prescribed Wellbutrin.  It had so many side effects that in a month I gave up on the Wellbutrin and smoking.
I know others have a hard time quitting.  If it was not for the side effects that kept my mind off of smoking I probably would have COPD or something it was getting that bad at thirty five years old I was coughing and I was not sick. “Our findings emphasize the importance of collaboration between the mental health and tobacco control communities to provide cessation support to individuals with mental illness who use tobacco,’ Brown said. ‘To address the issue of tobacco use among those with mental illness and the challenges associated with making progress toward a solution, the Kansas Health Foundation has launched a new effort to address tobacco use among Kansans with serious mental illness through its Fellows leadership program.” I know it is hard quitting although it can be done.  I know if I would not have had so many side effects from the medication I probably could not have quit.  The money I save and also getting to have my grandkids over whenever I want is worth it.
The article ends with: “Through the years we’ve seem significant decreases in the percentage of Americans who smoke, but we’ve done very little to make strides in decreasing those rates among people with mental illness.’ said Dr. Jeff Willett, vice president for programs at the Kansas Health Foundation.  People with mental illness smoke at nearly double the rate of the general population, we see this collaborative effort being a call to action to both the mental health and tobacco control communities.”  As much as I loved to smoke I never thought I would quit. Although the time came and things had changed and I quit because something was more important and it was costing me plenty to smoke all my money not spent on groceries but cigarettes.  My parents that supported my tobacco use throughout all my years of being locked up could not understand why I did not quit before but the time was not

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Different use of brain areas may explain memory problems in schizophrenics

That is the title of this article I am writing about.  I hear about people with schizophrenia and other mental illness that have memory problems.  It would be nice if they can figure out why and know how to fix it. “The enduring memory problems that people with schizophrenia experience may be related to differences in how their brains process information, new research has found.  We found that schizophrenic patients use different areas of their brain than healthy individuals do for working memory, which is an active form of short-term memory,” Sohee Park said.  “Both groups used their frontal cortex while remembering and forgetting.  However, while healthy subjects groups used the right side of this brain areas when asked to remember spatial locations, the schizophrenic patients used a wider network in both hemispheres.”  Schizophrenics use a different part of the brain.  Nothing infuriates me more than when I cannot do something because of my mental illness.
This is very interesting. “This suggests that while healthy people recruit a specialized and focused network of brain areas for specific memory functions, schizophrenic patients seem to rely on a more diffuse and wider network to achieve the same goal. The researchers also found a fundamental difference in the way healthy people and schizophrenic patients made errors.  When healthy people forgot, they had no confidence in their response for that trial and the brain areas that were recruited during correct memory trials remained inactive.  A more complex picture emerged for schizophrenic patients.  When healthy people are correct, there is an increased activation of the right frontal cortex.  When they forget, there is no such increase.  Their brain activation pattern is tightly coupled with their memory performance.  Not so with schizophrenic patients,” Park said. My memory for numbers is great.  For other things I just keep reminding myself that I have to do something.  Or remember something. I do not know how I would do on a test like that.
The article says: “Schizophrenic patients may encode and remember incorrect information.  The brain activation pattern during such error trials indicates that indeed they were remembering something. Albeit incorrect,” she continued “Such coupling of storing incorrect information and feeling confident of one’s response may be one way to think about how delusions get initiated,” Park said.  “Researchers have known since the early 1990s that working memory problems are a consistent symptom of schizophrenia.  The researchers sought to better understand what is occurring in the brain that may be causing these problems.  The right hemisphere is usually recruited during spatial information processing but if it is malfunctioning, as it may be in schizophrenia, the left hemisphere may also be recruited,” Park said.” The brain is not processing right.  You believe something is true and then you have a delusion.
They did tests to figure this out. “Another possible explanation is that schizophrenic patients may have more difficulty with these tasks, and as a result recruit more brain areas to assist them. In the experiment, the subjects were shown a point on a computer screen and told to concentrate upon it.  Three identical black circles were then flashed on a gray background, each in a different location.  After a short delay, the subjects were shown a probe and told to press one key if the probe matched one of the circles show earlier and another if it did not.  They then were told to press another key ranking on a scale from one to five their confidence in their answer about the probe.   The researchers captured images of brain activity during these tasks using functional magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI.  They repeated the experiment to capture data using another tool, near infrared spectroscopy, or NIRS.  NIRS is a new and promising way to study schizophrenia, the researchers believe.”  I hope this works so they can find ways to help people with schizophrenia.  We all could use our memory. It is something that worries me about growing old what problems will I also develop? Or is schizophrenia my only problem in life?