Anthony Gill’s doctoral thesis for the University of Leeds attempts to correct the observation that “There is no available evidence that has produced detailed, valid accounts of how patients themselves construct meaning in their lives, and in particular how medication has affected them,” finding that “the stigma associated with schizophrenia has a negative impact on individual’s lives. People with schizophrenia want and need to be listened to, in order for them to have an improved quality of life. It is clear that their lived experiences should be taken into consideration when implementing policy development in order to reduce the social isolation associated with schizophrenia.”
Although psychotic experiences (PEs) and schizophrenia are thought to share similar etiological risk factors, PEs also co-exist with depression and, according to research from the U.K., are a weak predictor of genetic and environmental risk for schizophrenia. The data, published in Psychological Medicine, indicate that “disentangling aetiological pathways to PEs from those impacting upon co-morbid psychopathology might provide important insights into the aetiology of psychotic disorders.”
Research from Australia asks the question noted above, and answers “subtle, but diverse, structural brain alterations, altered electrophysiological functioning and sleep patterns, minor physical anomalies, neurological soft signs, and sensory alterations. There are markers of infection, inflammation or altered immunological parameters; and there is increased mortality from a range of causes. Risk for schizophrenia is increased with cannabis use, pregnancy and birth complications, prenatal exposure to Toxoplasma gondii, childhood central nervous system viral infections, childhood adversities, urbanicity and immigration (first and second generation), particularly in certain ethnic groups . . . We conclude that while our knowledge of schizophrenia is very substantial, our understanding of it remains limited.”
Subsidiaries of Johnson & Johnson have agreed to pay $5.9 million to settle Montana’s lawsuit over the company’s fraudulent marketing of Risperdal. According to the lawsuit, J&J and its subsidiaries knew that the drug could cause weight gain, diabetes, and vascular complications, but hid the risks. After approval by the FDA for adult schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adults, the companies promoted the drug for various conditions in both adults and children.
Research from the Netherlands finds, in a nationwide survey of 1929 young adults, that cigarette smoking and cannabis were equally strongly associated with the frequency of psychotic-like experiences (PLEs). Further, though cannabis use was associated with distress from PLEs when cigarette smoking was eliminated as a confound, the inclusion of cigarette smoking rendered the statistical effect of cannabis on distress insignificant.
Prior admissions with stimulant disorder, but not a prior cannabis disorder diagnosis, are a negative prognostic sign in first-episode psychosis according to new research in the British Journal of Psychiatry. “Young people with substance comorbidities may have both the best and worst of outcomes, depending on whether problematic substance use is discontinued,” the authors note.
Treatment by lay health workers is more effective than standard facility-based care at reducing disability and psychotic symptoms in people with schizophrenia diagnoses, according to research published yesterday in The Lancet. Findings from the first randomized trial to test community-based care against standard care in a low-income country “show even more positive outcomes than similar trials of collaborative community-based care in high-income countries.”
An NBC online News article dated October 15, 2010, carried the noteworthy title New blood test may help detect schizophrenia. The article was written by Natasha Allen, a freelance medical journalist. The gist of the article is that there is a new blood test called VeriPsych which “researchers say” is 83% accurate in discriminating people who are “schizophrenic” from people who are not. Full Article →
Research has shown a correlation between schizophrenia and exposure to cat bites or scratches. This has been theorized to be due to the effects of Toxoplasmosis Gondii, a parasite that can cause changes in behavior, including a reduction of fear and an increase in impulsiveness. Popular Science considers research that extends this connection to depression, with speculation on other reasons that cat fellowship may correlate with changes in behavior.
A Hong Kong study links short “Duration of Untreated Psychosis” (DUP) to better long-term outcome. The authors propose that factors linked to long DUP may be implicated in poor recovery, and so may provide targets for intervention. Other than specifying that enrollees had taken antipsychotics for a week or less (1/2 being medication naive), treatment modality in this study was unspecified.
Recently, I have been the target of much wooing by my local Sunovion rep. I think he leaves messages for me almost weekly and he sends me missives – glossy brochures and reprints from major psychiatric journal. What is the subject of this attention? The drug – lurasidone (Latuda). Full Article →
The U.K.’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has issued its new clinical guidelines for “Psychosis and Schizophrenia in Adults: Treatment and Management.” For those considered to be at risk of psychosis, CBT (with or without family intervention), assessment for trauma, and help for anxiety, depression, personality disorder or substance abuse are suggested. For first episode psychosis, the guidelines recommend trauma assessment and informed choice of limited antipsychotics.
Meta-analysis in the American Journal of Psychiatry finds that, relative to other psychological interventions for psychosis, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was significantly more efficacious at reducing positive symptoms of psychosis, and social skills training was more efficacious at reducing negative symptoms. The research, from Amsterdam and The Hague, compared data from 48 outcome trials consisting of 3,295 participants.
On November 12, 2013, Molecular Psychiatry published online Evidence That Duplications of 22q11.2 Protect Against Schizophrenia, by Rees et al. The print version was published last month – January 2014. The idea of a genetic mutation that would protect one from schizophrenia aroused a good deal of interest and enthusiasm. The paper has added some impetus to psychiatry’s claim that the condition known as schizophrenia is a genetic disease. For this reason, I thought it might be helpful to take a closer look at the study. Full Article →
In 2004, a patient was given an experimental antipsychotic called bifeprunox and died of hepatorenal failure nine days later. But the sponsor apparently did not investigate the death for three years. In late 2007 the sponsor issued a safety alert and suspended all bifeprunox studies. This is where things get interesting. Full Article →
In “the first randomised trial of cognitive therapy for people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders not taking antipsychotic drugs”, researchers from the U.K. found cognitive therapy without medication was both safe and effective in reducing symptoms.” “Additionally, cognitive therapy significantly improved personal and social functioning and some dimensions of delusional beliefs (cognitive) and voice hearing (cognitive and physical).” The study appears today in The Lancet, with a commentary calling the study “ground-breaking evidence” for an alternative.
The traumagenic neurodevelopment model of psychosis, introduced in 2001, highlighted similarities between brain abnormalities found both in people who have been abused and those who are diagnosed with schizophrenia – at the time a radical shift in thinking. This article in Neuropsychiatry by John Read, Roar Fosse, Andrew Moskowitz, and Bruce Perry reviews the research findings since then, and finds that both direct and indirect support for the model has grown.
Recent research has focused on a seemingly high rate of psychiatric disorders in the offspring of older fathers. New research in JAMA Psychiatry, using data drawn from nearly 3 million people (totaling 42.7 million person-years) in the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register, finds that the offspring of both older and younger parents (below 25 and above 29 years) were at increased risk of mental health diagnoses.
Oliver Sacks opines in NewScientist that “there’s a common view, often shared by doctors, that hallucinations denote madness – especially if there’s any hearing of voices. I hope I can defuse or de-stigmatise this a bit.”
Schizophrenia Bulletin follows the movement change to the name and concept of “Schizophrenia”, revealing that Japan has taken the lead. Japan, to remove the stigma, social and professional consequences, notions of dangerousness and lack of hope that the old name and model conveyed, was the first country to update and revise the schizophrenia concept by embracing the name “Integration Disorder”, and the stress vulnerability model, along with evidence that people “recover and lead a normal life.”
Children who lose a parent before the age of 3 are 84% more likely to experience psychosis as adults, according to research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. In a dose-dependent relationship, the increased risk for children aged 3 to 7 drops to 47%, and 32% for children aged 7 to 13. Data was drawn from nearly 947,000 children born in Sweden between 1973 and 1985.
Although psychosis is more common in the parents of people with psychosis than those without, the difference cannot be attributed to genetics, research from the U.K. finds. ”These findings suggest that preventing or at least stopping continued exposure to physical abuse could prevent the onset or persistence of psychosis,” the study concludes. Data are available in Schizophrenia Bulletin.
Comedians score high on scales of psychotic traits, according to research published today in British Journal of Psychiatry. “The creative elements needed to produce humor are strikingly similar to those characterizing the cognitive style of people with psychosis – both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder,” said one author. ”Manic thinking – which is common in people with bipolar disorder – may help people combine ideas to form new, original and humorous connections.”