Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Fish oil could help prevent mental health problems in those most at risk

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "The results of a small study appear to show that a three month course of daily fish oil capsules could reduce the rate of psychotic disorders in young people. Eating more fish or taking regular fish oil supplements may help prevent psychosis in those most at risk, researchers claim.  A three month course of daily fish oil capsules appeared to significantly reduce the rate of psychotic disorders in young people, an improvement that seemed to persist when doctors assessed their mental health seven years later.  But while the findings are intriguing, they come from a very small study of teenagers and young adults. The benefits must now be shown in a much larger group before doctors can make any recommendations about the use of fish oils to prevent mental health problems.  Paul Amminger at the University of Melbourne reported in 2010 that a three month course of daily fish oil capsules appeared to stave off psychotic illnesses in teenagers and young adults aged 13 to 24 deemed at high risk of developing the disorders. Seven years on, his group has now revisited 71 of the original 81 participants and shown that the protective effects seem to persist.  Writing in the journalNature Communications. the scientists report that 4 out of 41 of those who took fish oil for three months had developed psychosis in the seven years since, compared with 16 out of 40 who received a placebo capsule during the trial."If they can stave off mental illness in young people I am all for it. I take it for my eyes because I have dry eyes.  Other than that I feel no difference.
The article goes on to say: "Those on the placebo wing of the trial appeared to develop psychosis more quickly than those taking fish oils, and had an overall greater likelihood of having other psychiatric disorders, the study found. Schizophrenia is one of the most common serious mental health conditions. One in 100 people in Britain experience symptoms, such as delusions, visual or auditory hallucinations, in their lifetimes, and many continue to lead normal lives. It is most often diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 35. It is called a psychotic illness, and those affected sometimes cannot distinguish between their thoughts and reality.  'Schizophrenia is a major cause of disability, but early treatment has been linked to better outcomes. Our study gives hope that there may be alternatives to antipsychotic medication,' Amminger told the Guardian. He believes that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) could be a stigma-free and long-term way to prevent psychosis in young people who are most at risk, with minimal side effects. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for healthy brain development and function, and a lack of them in the diet has been linked to various mental health conditions. 'Eating more fish is not only likely to be good for your physical health but also for your mental health,' Amminger said. In 2006, scientists working for the Cochrane collaboration reviewed the published research on the potential for fish oils to prevent schizophrenia and declared the results inconclusive. They went on to call for larger studies with more patients. Amminger agreed that his latest findings need to be replicated in larger groups of people before any firm guidance can be given." If they can find something without all the side effects it would be great. I also take two five hundred cinnamon capsules with breakfast that help keep my diabetes number down so I do not have to take medication.  My AC1 numbers before taking it were 5.5 now and I did not take it the whole three months are 5.4
The article ends with: "Clive Adams, co-ordinating editor of the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group at Nottingham University said the study needed to be considered alongside other published trials on the effects of omega-3 oils, but added that it was a springboard for new trials on the treatments. “The road of treatment of people with schizophrenia is paved with many good intentions and false dawns. This study is important, undertaken by leaders in the field, but it does not provide strong enough proof to really change practice,” he said." It sounds good but can they use it to make other psychotic medication?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Brain game 'improves lives of schizophrenia patients'

That is the title of this short blog I am reviewing today. "A computer-based brain-training game could improve the daily lives of people with schizophrenia, say University of Cambridge researchers.
Tests on a small number of patients who played the game over four weeks found improvements in memory and learning. This could help people to get back to work or studying after a diagnosis.
Schizophrenia is a mental health condition that causes a range of psychological symptoms, from behaviour changes to hallucinations. Many patients also experience cognition problems, which affect their memory and ability to function independently. Designed and developed by researchers at Cambridge with the help of patients, the brain-training game has a wizard theme with various levels of difficulty. It asks players to enter rooms, find items in boxes and remember where they put them, testing their so-called episodic memory." I know the one I tried years ago did improve my memory.  Although when my boss left the company and we switched computers I lost that training.
The article ends with: "Better-equipped
Prof Barbara Sahakian, from the department of psychiatry at the University of Cambridge and who researched the impact of the game, said patients who played it made significantly fewer errors in tests afterwards on their memory and brain functioning. She said this was an indication that they were better prepared to function in the real world. Prof Sahakian said treating the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia was important, but slow progress was being made towards developing a drug treatment. She added that the memory game could help where drugs had so far failed - with no side-effects. 'Because the game is interesting, even those patients with a general lack of motivation are spurred on to continue the training.' The game is available as an app that anyone can play.
Although the results are promising, the research team said more research was needed on larger groups of patients to confirm the findings. The researchers added that any memory training games had to be used in conjunction with medication and psychological therapies." That would be the important part wanting to continue to use the game.  A co-worker who also did it with me said it is just remembering and did not like doing it every morning. To me it was a challenge to see how far I could go on the game and how high my score was.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


That is the topic of today's blog. It is something that we all have to have especially in times of trouble. I have been going through a health crisis for me.  I know that it is hard to keep hope alive when everything seems bad. I have not been able to take my walks or do the things I normally like to do.  That is hard on me as you know if you read my blogs. The trouble I have had is because of my lungs first they diagnosed me with bronchitis and then walking pneumonia.  Then they had to take a lot of tests and whatever was in my lungs was causing me not to breathe as good as normal.
It really took a lot out of me. Yesterday I had a biopsy and they have not found the results yet but they have took enough that I feel better. Finally the doctor sounded Optimistic.  That is great news for me.  You have to keep hope alive.  I just kept picturing all the hard times I had been through before and how I had overcome them.  One of those things was at one time in my life I was facing twenty four years in prison.  I was very upset on ones of those court days that  a friend that I had knew was serving me lunch and I did not recognize her because my head was not in the present. If I would have knew the outcome of the case I would not have been so worried and would have talked to her because she was a good friend. On that case I was acquitted of one charge and lost on the second because the Judge would not give me the law. I later appealed and of course won because everyone is entitled to the law whether if the Judge likes them or not.  Sometimes a person does not always get the answer they want right away.  You have to keep hope that you will sooner or later get the answer or whatever you need. Just keep your head high and stop feeling like there is no hope because there is.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Major New Study Rewrites the Nature v. Nurture Debate About Schizophrenia

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. " The Lieber Institute for Brain Development (LIBD) released today the results of a study that shed new insights on the nature versus nurture interplay in schizophrenia. Findings from one of the largest studies of postmortem human brain tissue suggest that environmental influences during the prenatal period cause brain changes associated with schizophrenia, but that environmental influences in early adulthood, when symptoms of the illness typically emerge, may not be as important as originally thought. The study and its relevant findings were published today in Nature Neuroscience. The published paper, titled “Mapping DNA methylation across development, genotype and schizophrenia in the human frontal cortex,” can be found online here. Findings outlined in the paper shed new light on the potential role of environmental influences on an individual’s risk of developing schizophrenia. The role of the environment in causing schizophrenia is a hotly debated topic, with many theories focusing on the stressful environment around the early adult period that typically heralds the onset of clinical symptoms of schizophrenia. In the study, results suggest that the prenatal period, not early adulthood, is when environmental influences cause brain changes involving DNA methylation that are associated with a greater risk of schizophrenia."This is very interesting and changes a lot of the thinking that environment is what causes this when you are reaching adulthood. A lot of changes could have happened when a person mother was pregnant.
The article goes on to say: "The environment can affect human biology, e.g. how your brain responds to experience, or how your body responds to exercise, by influencing the mechanisms that turn genes on and off. One of these mechanisms is called “epigenetics,” which involves changes in the chemical structure of DNA without changes in the inherited genetic code itself. DNA methylation is an epigenetic change that signals an environmental effect. Study investigators analyzed the brain tissue of 526 subjects, including 191 individuals with schizophrenia and 335 normal subjects, to determine how DNA methylation changes in the transition from prenatal to postnatal life and how it changes during early adult life. These time periods both involve profound environmental changes, both biological and experiential. These periods also involve major changes in DNA methylation.
Unexpectedly, investigators found that changes in DNA methylation that are associated with schizophrenia and observable in the brain tissue of patients with the illness had no observable relationship to the environmental effects that might have played on the brain at the time when individuals first require treatment in early adult life – for example, when they first seem to manifest the illness. Instead, the changes were strongly linked to the early development period. “This is the first time we have been able to take a molecular snapshot of when the environment affects the brains of patients with schizophrenia,” said Andrew Jaffe, Ph.D., the study’s lead investigator." If your mother was sick with the flu or any changes could have happened.  That a person does not remember.
The article ends: "The results suggest that the epigenetic changes that leave a lasting mark in the brains of patients with schizophrenia harken back to early brain development – long before the first symptoms of the illness are recognized. In other words, the building of the brain early in life is key to understanding schizophrenia, and the events around the apparent onset of the illness “may be a red herring,” said Dr. Jaffe. 'This conclusion, while perhaps not the final verdict on the subject, is hard to resist given this remarkable evidence,' said Daniel R. Weinberger, M.D., director and CEO of the Lieber Institute for Brain Development and co-leader of the research team with Joel Kleinman, M.D., Ph.D., the Lieber Institute’s associate director of clinical sciences. 'These results have potentially far-reaching implications for how we understand schizophrenia, how we develop experimental models of this illness in scientific laboratories, how we search for new ways to prevent the disorder from happening, and how we treat it once it does.'
About the Lieber Institute for Brain Development
The mission of the Lieber Institute for Brain Development and the Maltz Research Laboratories is to translate the understanding of basic genetic and molecular mechanisms of schizophrenia and related developmental brain disorders into clinical advances that change the lives of affected individuals. LIBD is an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization and a Maryland tax-exempt medical research institute affiliated with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine." They do say this might not be the final word on this. It does make sense though would be glad when the final word about this comes out.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Culturally Guided Family Therapy for Schizophrenia Helps Individual and Caregivers

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "Schizophrenia is a difficult mental illness that affects about one percent of the population in the United States. The condition is chronic, severe, and disabling often preventing an individual from living independently.  Approximately 60 percent of those suffering from this condition live with a relative. Despite the fact that family interventions have shown to significantly improve outcomes for individuals with schizophrenia, only about seven percent of patients with this illness receive any family therapy.  To address this void, a new culturally-informed treatment strategy focused on caregivers of people with schizophrenia as well as the individual. The protocol utilizes the cultural believes, values, and behaviors of caregivers to help them cope with the stress of caring for a loved one with schizophrenia.  'We wanted to develop a treatment intervention that taps into cultural beliefs and values that we hypothesized would make the treatment more engaging and relatable to many ethnic minorities that do not necessarily embrace the current mental health care system, said Amy Weisman de Mamani, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at the University of Miami.  'We hoped to develop a treatment that was not only aimed at benefiting patients, but explicitly focused on reducing caregiver distress as well.'"It is a good turnabout from years ago and needed.  When I first was incarcerated at the state hospital they did not like that all I did when I had the chance was talk to my family on the phone.  The doctor their asked my mom to let me go sink or swim on my own.  The did not promote family.
The article goes on to say: "Since the degree of perceived burden and emotions that we experience are tied to one’s cultural view of the world, the project examined the effect of adding culturally based segments to an already established family focused treatment for schizophrenia. For the study, participants undertook a 15-week family-focused, culturally-informed treatment for schizophrenia (CIT-S). The researchers incorporated modules on spirituality, or religion and family collectivism to already established psychoeducational and communication modules.  Sixty percent of the participants were Hispanic, 28 percent Caucasian, eight percent African American, and nearly four percent identified as “Other.” The researchers believe that the treatment is not specific to particular group, but rather may be helpful to all ethnic, racial, and cultural groups.  Study results show that the new treatment markedly reduces caregiver burden, shame, and guilt, implying an improvement in the quality of life for caregivers and patients alike.  The research appears in the journal Psychotherapy of the American Psychological Association." When you have problems sometimes only family can help you solve it. I know it was important very much when I first came back to Denver from Pueblo. If it was not for my brother I would not have found housing I was looking wrong.
The article ends: "'Caring for a patient with severe mental illness can have adverse consequences for the caregiver and ultimately for the patient,' said co-author of the study Giulia Suro, Ph.D.
'These include reduced opportunities to earn an income, socialize, and take care of one’s own personal needs.' The results show that CIT-S and the psychoeducation-only family intervention were equally and highly effective in reducing shame, although CIT-S markedly outperformed family psychoeducation in reducing caregivers’ burden and guilt. In the spirituality module, the study aimed at helping families’ access beliefs and practices that could help cope with the illness, such as prayer, meditation, volunteerism, and attending religious services. Family members that did not subscribe to any particular religious practice or belief participated in parallel exercises that didn’t specifically reference “God” or “religion.” In the family collectivism module, the study assessed and encouraged the ability of family members to develop the perspective that they are part of a unified team working towards common goals. The study is a follow-up of a study in which the authors shared the first findings about the effect of the CIT-S on patient’s psychiatric symptoms, showing that CIT-S is better at reducing patients’ psychiatric symptoms, than the psychoeducation-only intervention." Well it seems so long ago that I was out and meditation was important.  Also talking to my mom about college since she had went years ago. It helped even though I had different problems happening it helped me see I could finish and be successful.