Wednesday, February 22, 2017

'Mirror game' test could secure early detection of schizophrenia, study shows

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "Virtual reality could hold the key to unlocking an affordable, reliable and effective device to provide early diagnosis and management of schizophrenia. A pioneering new study, led by experts from the University of Exeter in collaboration with partners from the Alterego FP7 EU project, has developed a new, 'mirror game' test using computer avatars to accurately detect specific variations in how patients move and interact socially -- well-documented characteristics of the mental disorder. For the study, the research team asked volunteers to perform a series of specific movements on their own, and then mirror some movements carried out by a computer avatar on a large screen placed opposite them. The results of these first trials revealed that the test gave a more accurate diagnosis when compared to clinical interviews, and comparable results when compared to more expensive, traditional neuroimaging methods, the team has concluded."That is good if they can detect it early and save people from becoming ill.  I know I would have liked to have known.  That is the part I hated about this illness was when I became sick and was not in control of my life anymore.
The article goes on to say: "'They believe it could open up new, unobtrusive pathways for health professionals to diagnose and treat schizophrenia in the future. They are now looking at conducting clinical trials to confirm the effectiveness of the early detection technique, before it can be employed in clinical practices worldwide. The study is published in leading scientific journal npj Schizophrenia.
Dr Piotr Slowinski, lead author of the study and a Mathematics Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, explained: "Human movement can give a fascinating and sophisticated insight into our personality traits and behavioral characteristics. 'Studying how people move and react to others may seem a simplistic way to help diagnose a patient with such a debilitating condition, but our results were comparable to existing, more expensive neuroimaging methods. 'Although this is still at a relatively early stage, we are confident that clinical trials could reveal the potential of the mirror test to produce a reliable, adaptable and, crucially, affordable, method for diagnosing and monitoring treatment of schizophrenia in patients of all ages, and all stages of the condition.' Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder that affects around one in 100 people worldwide with common symptoms such as delusions and auditory hallucinations, or hearing voices. At present, there is no single test for schizophrenia and the condition is usually diagnosed after assessment by specialists in mental health.'"That they can tell before a relapse or something happens would be great.  I did not know when I relapsed all I know I was not the same person of a few days before.  I was taking my medication but they had lowered it to much. I am glad I am on Geodon now it helps a lot.  Although I did not want to change medication because I was scared of getting sick again.
The article ends with: "However, the team of experts previously showed that people who display similar behavioural characteristics tend to move their bodies in the same way. The study suggested each person has an individual motor signature (IMS), a blueprint of the subtle differences in the way they move compared to someone else, such as speed or weight of movement. The team suggested that a person's IMS -- and how they interact with others -- could give an insight into their mental health condition, and so pave the way for personalised prediction, diagnosis or treatment in the future. In their research, the team used a simple mirror game, in which a 'player' is asked to imitate the movements made by an on-screen avatar. By looking at how the patients move and react to others, and compare it with 'comparable' movement blueprints for schizophrenia sufferers, the team believe the test can give not only an accurate and quick diagnosis, but also demonstrate how well patients are reacting to ongoing treatment. Professor Krasimira Tsaneva-Atanasova, who specialises in Mathematics in Healthcare at the University of Exeter, added: "We have already shown that people who move in a certain way also react in similar ways when performing joint tasks, meaning that our movements give an insight into our inherent personality traits. 'This latest study is a pivotal step forward in using virtual reality as a means to carry out speedy and effective diagnosis, which is crucial for so many people who suffer from this debilitating condition worldwide.'" Yeah because when I first became sick they told my Mom that I would have to go in and say it myself that I was sick.  I do not think at the time I would have I was bettering my life and did not need any setbacks.  That is what I received though a setback that cost me five years of my life in the State Hospital. I learned a lot but I think I could have learned for free.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sunshine Could Be Therapy For Schizophrenia And Depression Patients

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "'People with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia might experience some relief if they spend more time in the sun. The International Early Psychosis Association has reported that research from Norway’s University of Oslo presented during its annual conference in Italy shows that low levels of vitamin D are 'associated with increased negative and depressive symptoms' in those patients, according to a statement. The research team was investigating whether low vitamin D could be linked to specific symptoms as well as to cognitive deficits in young patients. In both cases, a few hundred patients were studied; they showed a connection between vitamin D deficiency and negative symptoms and between the vitamin and 'cognitive impairments in processing speed and verbal fluency.'" Most people with schizophrenia cannot be in the sun for too long because the antipyschotics reacts to the sun and can give rash an other problems. Although can all do with less cognitive impairments.
The article goes on to say: "Vitamin D has many benefits, one of them being promoting calcium absorption in the body, according to the National Institutes of Health. It is also crucial in cell and bone growth and in immune function. Because our bodies produce it when our skin is exposed to sunlight, people who spend a lot of time indoors can become deficient in the vitamin, a malady that is common — and even more so in the winter. Associating sunshine with mental health is not a new idea. Low levels of sunshine, such as what is available during winter months in cold climates, is one of the things that drives seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression that follows the cycle of the seasons, the Mayo Clinic says."The only sun I recieve is when I am waiting for the bus depending on the time of year on how much I really get.  I do know that since I started geodon I do not have the problem with the sun that I had with the Moban it gave me a rash when I suntanned.  With the geodon I have went in the sun with no problem I do not know if that is with all antipyschotics.
The article ends: "'It has also been long suggested that spending more time in the sun could improve mental health. In one article from Issues in Mental Health Nursing, the authors say regulating vitamin D levels in people 'with depression and other mental disorders may be an easy and cost-effective therapy which could improve patients’ long-term health outcomes as well as their quality of life.' And there is a treatment called light therapy, or phototherapy, in which patients — such as those suffering from seasonal affective disorder — sit near a device that 'gives off bright light that mimics natural outdoor light,' the Mayo Clinic explains. A link to vitamin D has been drawn even to dementia and migraines. In the Oslo studies that looked at the link between vitamin D and the severity of negative symptoms in psychotic disorders, the authors concluded that the findings could be a first step toward investigating the connection in a larger sample size, according to the International Early Psychosis Association’s statement. They are also now using MRIs to look at the role of the vitamin in different brain structures.'"If this can help people with negative symptoms that would be great.  If it could help people with memory also I know they have a problem with that also.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Researchers find chemical switch that may decrease symptoms of schizophrenia

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "A new study by University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers has found that in mice, adjusting levels of a compound called kynurenic acid can have significant effects on schizophrenia-like behavior. The study appeared in the latest issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry. In recent years, scientists have identified kynurenic acid as a potential key player in schizophrenia. People with schizophrenia have higher than normal levels of kynurenic acid in their brains. KYNA, as it is known, is a metabolite of the amino acid tryptophan; it decreases glutamate, and research has found that people with this illness tend to have less glutamate signaling than people without the disease. Scientists have theorized that this reduction in glutamate activity, and therefore the higher KYNA levels seen in patients, might be connected with a range of symptoms seen in schizophrenia, especially cognitive problems."  They would have to find a way to decrease this kynurenic acid and see what happens if the cognitive symptoms disappear. I know people with this disease would like to see some of their symptoms disappear so they can lead a normal life.
The article goes on to say: "'For several years, Robert Schwarcz, PhD, a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM), who in 1988 was the first to identify the presence of KYNA in the brain, has studied the role of KYNA in schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric diseases. For the new study, Dr. Schwarcz and his team collaborated closely with scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, and KynuRex, a biotech company in San Francisco. 'This study provides crucial new support for our longstanding hypothesis', Dr. Schwarcz said. 'It explains how the KYNA system may become dysfunctional in schizophrenia.' Dr. Schwarcz and his colleagues studied mice which were deficient in kynurenine 3-monooxygenase, or KMO, an enzyme that is crucial for determining the levels of KYNA in the brain. Specifically, lower KMO results in higher levels of KYNA. Interestingly, patients with schizophrenia have lower than normal brain levels of KMO, which may be linked to lower levels of glutamate.'" Have they tried decreasing the levels?  What causes so much of this KYNA?
The article ends: "The mice with lower levels of KMO showed impairments in contextual memory and spent less time than did a control group interacting with an unfamiliar mouse in a social setting. The low-KMO mice also showed increased anxiety-like behavior when put into a maze and other challenging settings. Since these behaviors are similar to behavioral traits in humans with schizophrenia, this suggests that KMO and KYNA may play a key role in the disease. The new discovery has clinical implications as well. On its own, boosting glutamate on a large scale has serious side effects, including seizures and nerve cell death. Dr. Schwarcz and his colleagues propose that modifying KYNA could adjust glutamate more precisely. In recent years, he and his collaborators have in fact shown that a reduction in KYNA improves cognition in animals that have cognitive deficits similar to those seen in schizophrenia. Because this mechanism is indirect, it seems not to trigger the same side effects that directly boosting glutamate does. His UM SOM team is now investigating compounds that might produce the same results in humans." Now that is the news we are waiting for that they might find compounds that decrease the KYNA in people with schizo-phrenia. If it can improve memory that would help a lot of people.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Infections May Increase Risk of Mental Disorders

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "Scandinavian researchers have found that non-severe infections that do not require hospitalization are associated with an increased risk of subsequently developing schizophrenia or depression. Previous research established that patients who are hospitalized with severe infections have an increased risk of developing schizophrenia and depression. The new study reviewed the correlation between all infections that require treatment and mental disorders and found that even minor infections, such as those which are treated by a general practitioner, can increase the risk of mental disorders. “Our primary finding was that the risk of both schizophrenia and depression was increased in those who had infections. Both the non-severe infections that are treated by someone’s own GP and the severe infections that require hospitalization."Well that is not me.  I never had an infection until last year when they removed my left lung because of cancer. I was healthy when I received this disease hardly had colds still do not get cold I now get sinus infections which is my own body turning against me.
The article goes on to say: "'The risk was increased in a dose-response correlation, which means that the risk was higher depending on the number of infections,' explains the first author of the study, Dr. Ole K√∂hler-Forsberg from Aarhus University. The results have just been published in the internationally recognized journal, Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. The researchers identified all persons born in Denmark between 1985-2002 and studied the correlation between infections and the subsequent risk of schizophrenia and depression in the period 1995-2013. Investigators reviewed outcomes for infections treated with antibiotics, antiviral drugs, and medicines against fungal diseases and parasites, as well as all admissions due to infections. During the period covered by the study, 5,759 people were diagnosed with schizophrenia and 13,044 with depression. Of those who were diagnosed with schizophrenia, 17.4 percent had been hospitalized with infections; this was also the case for 18.7 percent of those who were diagnosed with depression. The study only covers early developing depression and schizophrenia. Thus, the average age of patients who developed schizophrenia was 18.9 years, while for patients who developed a depression, it was 18.7 years." Do not get this study.  My mental illness caused my health be it bad or good.  I did not have diabetes before the medication for mental illness.  I did not gain weight until my mental illness. They used to call me sticks because I weighed so little,  I really wish someone would find out what really causes mental illness especially schizophrenia.
The article ends."'The findings suggest that infections and the inflammatory reaction that follows afterwards can affect the brain and play a part in the development of severe mental disorders.
'It is also possible that antibiotics in themselves increase the risk of mental disorders due to their effect on the composition of the intestine (microbiota), which has close communication with the brain. 'Finally, our findings may be caused by genetic aspects, which is to say that some people have a higher genetic risk for getting more infections as well as a mental disorder,' said senior researcher on the study, Dr. Michael Eriksen Benros from Copenhagen University Hospital.'"Mental illness came before I ever heard of antibiotics. I really believe after this study that I will never know before I die why I received this illness.