Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Analysis of genetic repeats suggests role for DNA instability in schizophrenia

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today.  "An international research team has revealed extensive genetic variation in patients with schizophrenia. Significantly more copy number variations (CNVs) of genomic DNA were detected in patients than in controls. Patients also showed different disease severity, which appears associated with the CNVs' number and variable expressivity. These findings enabled the researchers to propose a genetic model of schizophrenia in which genomic instability underlies disease development. Variations in the number of DNA sequence repeats are known to exist between individuals. Some of these copy number variations (CNVs) are associated with disease, as with schizophrenia, wherein rare CNVs on chromosomes, including 1, 15, 16, and 22, are more common among patients than among controls. However, previous studies have not fully investigated the effect of particular CNVs, especially those on the X chromosome, on patient characteristics. Nor have they examined the genes responsible for CNVs in schizophrenia, which would aid understanding of disease development." I hope this study does not take to long I sure would like to know before I die what caused this disease with me.  I am always watching my grand kids hoping I did not pass this disease on.
The article goes on to say: "An international research team centered at Nagoya University has now used a technique based on DNA fragments labeled with different fluorescent markers to reveal high levels of genetic heterogeneity (whereby several different genetic defects can cause the same symptoms) in schizophrenia. They also observed that the CNVs associated with schizophrenia affected gene categories controlling repair of DNA damage, which may underlie disease mechanisms. The study was reported in the Springer Nature journal Molecular Psychiatry. The technique the researchers used was more sensitive and of a higher resolution than previous methods. This allowed detection of more CNVs, especially small ones, which accounted for 70% of all CNVs. Significantly more clinically important CNVs were seen in the DNA of 1,699 patients with schizophrenia than in the 824 control individuals, while abnormal numbers of X chromosomes were also associated with disease. High genetic heterogeneity was revealed by the detection of these CNVs at 67 different regions in 9% of patients. Further variation was observed in the effect of the CNVs on patient characteristics in that some CNVs were carried by controls without causing any symptoms." Without causing symptoms.  There has only been one other person in my family that had a mental illness and he is a second cousin. I do not have it bad. I went to college and have a good job. Although it always lingers why.  Why did I have to spend five years in the state hospital.  Why I had finally had my life in order except for the drinking.
The article ends: "'Patients with clinically important CNVs showed a range of characteristics, such as developmental problems and refusal to accept treatment,' first author Itaru Kushima says. 'And, the presence of two CNVs resulted in a more severe phenotype.' The researchers looked closely at the genetic regions containing CNVs to identify several gene categories associated with schizophrenia that may be affected by genetic disturbance. These include oxidative stress response, which leads to DNA damage when imbalanced, and genomic integrity, involving DNA repair and replication.
'We propose that CNVs affecting oxidative stress response and genomic integrity lead to genomic instability that may cause further CNVs," corresponding author Norio Ozaki says. "This model helps explain the new CNVs seen in previous studies on schizophrenia, as well as the differences in affected patients' phenotypes.'" I do not know although this is the first study I am excited about with DNA I think they can figure this out,  I just hope so!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Even when help is just a click away, stigma is still a roadblock

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "Stigma is a major barrier preventing people with mental health issues from getting the help they need. Even in a private and anonymous setting online, someone with greater self-stigma is less likely to take that first step to get information about mental health concerns and counseling, according to a new Iowa State University study. Daniel Lannin, lead author, psychology graduate student and clinical intern at ISU's Student Counseling Service, says self-stigma is a powerful obstacle to overcome. The study was designed specifically to measure how participants responded when given the opportunity to learn more online about mental health concerns and university counseling services. Of the 370 college students who participated in the study, only 8.7 percent clicked the link for mental health information and 9 percent sought counseling information. However, those numbers dropped to 2.2 percent and 3.5 percent respectively, among people with high self-stigma. 'It's not just the fear of seeing a counselor or therapist,' Lannin said. 'It's actually when people are sitting at home or on their phone. That stigma prevents them from even learning more information about depression or about counseling.'"Wow this has not been in the news for awhile now.  I've done a lot of posts about stigma.  It happened to me when I was first diagnosed and told people I had a mental illness.  It just does not come up for me because I have not had to tell anyone that I have a mental illness.
The article goes on to say:  "The results, published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, illustrate the need for better stigma interventions, he said. Lannin is developing and testing different online interventions, but it's difficult because such efforts are often rejected. 'A lot of people with higher levels of stigma won't even entertain the possibility of a stigma intervention because they see the intervention as going to therapy to be more open to therapy,' Lannin said. 'It's like telling someone who doesn't like vegetables to eat some broccoli to get over it.' Lannin knows that interventions work. In a previous study, he found participants were more open to receiving help-seeking information after writing a brief essay about a personal value. He says the challenge is designing the intervention so it's not threatening to a person with greater stigma.
College is a time when mental illness is often diagnosed
One in five people struggle with mental illness, and many don't get help, Lannin said. Those who do wait an average of 11 years, before finally seeking treatment. Lannin says distressed students in the study were more likely to click the link for information (8.5 percent probability for those with high self-stigma, compared to 17.1 percent for those with low self-stigma). Distress is like the gas pedal and stigma the brake, he said. Unfortunately, by the time someone reaches a high level of distress, he or she is often struggling to function.'" The reason I do not tell anyone because it can exclude me from housing as it has it the past when I told the landlord I had  a mental illness. It happens with this blog if I were to make it public as I have done in the past they will not click on it.
The article ends: "'Identifying distressed students can be difficult because distress affects people in different ways. The main thing we notice is impairment in functioning across multiple spheres. They struggle with school work or with family relationships and friendships. If it gets bad enough, they might struggle with hygiene or start strongly contemplating suicide,' Lannin said. 'It's not just that they feel bad; it's that functionally they're impaired.' According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, three-quarters of all chronic mental illness begins by age 24. Lannin says for many young adults this is a time of transition -- going to college, working full-time and moving away from home -- adding to the reasons they may not seek help. This is another consideration when designing interventions and educational information, Lannin said. In the paper, Lannin and his colleagues suggested adding brief self-affirmation activities to websites frequented by at-risk populations, as well as links to additional mental health and treatment information. Self-affirmation interventions could also be incorporated into outreach events organized by university counseling centers.'" Suicide and mental illness a person does not understand what is happening to them and they feel suicide is the only way to stop what is happening.  I wrote about suicide in an earlier post.  I think the guilt of when a person commits suicide is the hardest thing because you realize if I had only said this or done this maybe that would have helped. Life is hard enough if without the guilt.  The latest suicide was my ex-wife on my moms birthday May sixteenth of last year.  It is hard to understand.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Unusual combo reduces health risk from atypical antipsychotic

That is the title of this article I  am reviewing today. "Atypical antipsychotics, though effective for treating disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression, gives patients a heightened risk of developing new-onset diabetes. A new data mining study, however, has found a way to relieve this side effect. The study, published in Scientific Reports, shows that taking vitamin D ameliorates the risk of developing new-onset diabetes from atypical antipsychotics like quetiapine. The consequences of developing diabetes from taking antipsychotics are dire, as they occasionally cause life-threatening conditions and sometimes even death."Diabetes is no laughing matter.  I am diabetic only my is diet controlled and I walk for exercise.  Although I have not taken any medicine for it in five years it can always come back if I am not vigilant in what I eat.
The article goes on to say: "Members of Shuji Kaneko's lab at Kyoto University looked for potential antidotes on the US FDA's Adverse Event Reporting (FAERS) system, which is the largest database of self-reported adverse side effects. 'We found that patients who had coincidentally been prescribed vitamin D with quetiapine were less likely to have hyperglycaemia,' says Kaneko. 'It's unusual for vitamin D to be prescribed with quetiapine because it is typically prescribed to treat osteoporosis; in fact, there were only 1232 cases in the world where vitamin D was prescribed with quetiapine. Data mining proved helpful in locating these cases.' The team confirmed this finding with further tests on mice; the group of mice that was fed vitamin D along with quetiapine had significantly lower levels of blood sugar than those that took only quetiapine.'"  What also works to bring down blood sugar is cinnamon two five hundred pills in the morning with breakfast.  I have not tried it for a full three months yet because I was in the hospital and could not take it for awhile.  Yet when I did an A1C test my blood sugar was a 5.4 which is good because before It was 5.6 to close for me.
The article ends with: "'Interestingly, vitamin D on its own doesn't lower diabetes risk, but it certainly defends against the insulin-lowering effects of quetiapine,' elaborates lead author Takuya Nagashima. 'We clarified the molecular mechanisms of how quetiapine causes hyperglycaemia using datasets in a genomics data repository. Through this we found that quetiapine reduces the amount of a key enzyme called PI3K that gets produced. Vitamin D stops quetiapine from lowering PI3K production.'
Databases like FAERS aren't just for making drug regulations; they have so much potential for side-effect relief using pre-existing drugs,' says Kaneko. 'There's a lot we can hope for from reverse translational research like this'" Yes what ever works to help people because no one wants diabetes.  There are to many other things to worry about than diabetes.  To check your blood sugar everyday that was what was a total drag for me so I worked to not have to check and take medicine everyday beside what I always have to take which mostly a lot of supplements to make my life easier.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Brains of Healthy Sibs May Reveal New Clues to Schizophrenia

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today."Comparing the brains of schzophrenia patients to healthy siblings may reveal significant clues to the debilitating disease, according to a new study at Michigan State University. The research is the first to look at the neurotransmitters glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acidergic (GABA) with a noninvasive imaging test called magnetic resonance spectroscopy in both schizophrenia patients and the healthy siblings of schizophrenia patients.
Glutamate promotes the firing of brain cells, and GABA inhibits this neural firing. They work hand in hand to regulate brain function. At this time, most schizophrenia drugs regulate dopamine, another neurotransmitter in the brain; however, these medications do not work for everyone. Many researchers believe there are multiple risk factors for the illness, including imbalances in both dopamine and glutamate/GABA, and this has been confirmed by several studies. However, the exact relationship has remained unclear. Currently there is no medication for schizophrenia that targets the glutamate/GABA system. In fact, medication for schizophrenia has changed very little in the past 50 years and remains somewhat limited in its effectiveness."Maybe they will come out with new medications that work for everyone who has this disease.  There are so many studies maybe one will help one of theses days.
The article goes on to say: "The study involved 21 patients with chronic schizophrenia, 23 healthy relatives (the relatives were siblings of other patients with schizophrenia, not the patients in the study) and a control group of 24 healthy subjects. It was performed in collaboration with researchers at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, where Thakkar served as a postdoctoral fellow. According to the findings, both schizophrenia patients and healthy relatives show reduced levels of glutamate. But while the patients also showed reduced levels of GABA, the relatives had normal amounts of the inhibitory neurotransmitter. This prompted the researchers to ask two questions: First, if glutamate is altered, why do these relatives not show symptoms of the illness? And, second, how did healthy relatives maintain normal levels of GABA even though they, like the patients, were genetically predisposed to schizophrenia and had altered glutamate levels?" I would say that the GABA is what causes schizophrenia maybe. Because it would seem the two go hand in hand in this study.
The article ends: "'This finding is what’s most exciting about our study,” said lead investigator Dr. Katharine Thakkar, Michigan State University assistant professor of clinical psychology. 'It hints at what kinds of things have to go wrong for someone to express this vulnerability toward schizophrenia.' 'The study gives us more specific clues into what kinds of systems we want to tackle when we’re developing new treatments for this very devastating illness.' The brain scan used in the study — which is conducted on a conventional MRI machine — could eventually help clinicians target more specific treatments. 'There are likely different causes of the different symptoms and possibly different mechanisms of the illness across individuals,' Thakkar said. 'In the future, as this imaging technique becomes more refined, it could conceivably be used to guide individual treatment recommendations. That is, this technique might indicate that one individual would benefit more from treatment A and another individual would benefit more from treatment B, when these different treatments have different mechanisms of action.'"That is what I say everyone is different so they would have different symptoms.  I still do not know if I will see treatments and what really causes this disease before I die.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Brains of Schizophrenia Patients May Be Reversing Effects of the Disease

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "The brains of patients with slchizophrenia may be trying to reorganize and fight the illness, according to a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) study conducted by an international team of scientists. This is the first time that imaging data has been used to show how our brains may have the ability to reverse the effects of schizophrenia. Although schizophrenia is generally associated with a widespread reduction in brain tissue volume, the new findings reveal a subtle and simultaneous increase in brain tissue in certain regions. The researchers followed 98 patients with schizophrenia and compared them to 83 patients without schizophrenia. Using MRI and a statistical approach called covariance analysis, the research team measured any increases in brain tissue. Due to the subtlety and the distributed nature of increase, this has not been demonstrated in patients until now."I would not know that last time I had a relapse was in 1994.  It was not as bad as the original illness that came on in 1988 although it was enough to send me back to the state hospital because it was worse each day.
The article goes on to say: "According to Lawson Health Research Institute’s Dr. Lena Palaniyappan, there is an overarching feeling that curing people with a severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia, is not possible. This stems from the long-held notion that schizophrenia is a degenerative illness, with the seeds of damage sown very early during the course of brain development. 'Even the state-of-art frontline treatments aim merely for a reduction rather than a reversal of the cognitive and functional deficits caused by the illness,' said Palaniyappan, medical director at the Prevention & Early Intervention Program for Psychoses (PEPP) at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC). 'Our results highlight that despite the severity of tissue damage, the brain of a patient with schizophrenia is constantly attempting to reorganize itself, possibly to rescue itself or limit the damage,' said Palaniyappan.'" It makes me wonder about that psychiatrist who kept me without medication for six months or longer if I would have been so ill that I wonder if I started hearing voices for the first time at the state hospital.
The article ends: "The next step is to study the evolution of this brain tissue reorganization process by repeatedly scanning individual patients with early schizophrenia and to investigate the effect of this reorganization on their recovery. 'These findings are important not only because of their novelty and the rigour of the study, but because they point the way to the development of targeted treatments that potentially could better address some of the core pathology in schizophrenia,' said Dr. Jeffrey Reiss, Site Chief, Psychiatry, LHSC. The project is part of an international collaboration among scientists in Nottingham, UK, Shanghai and Changsha, People’s Republic of China, Robarts Research Institutes at Western University and Lawson Health Research Institute.'" Yeah it seems like they have to catch this disease early on to make this benefit if there is one.