Posts tagged schizophrenia
A cheap drug called Minocycline, which is normally prescribed for pneumonia and acne will be tested in a new trial to reduce the symptoms of psychosis in patients suffering from schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a breakdown of thought processes and by poor emotional responsiveness. According to the WHO the disorder affects around 0.3–0.7% of people at some point in their life, or 24 million people worldwide as of 2011. There is no general cure and the pharmacologic treatment of schizophrenia leaves much to be desired.
Now the National Institute for Health Research in the U.K. is funding a large research trial on More >
Most people are aware that monozygotic (identical) twins share the exactly the same DNA, but it might be surprising to know that traits and diseases with genetic components can vary between these twins. In the case of some psychiatric disorders with strong genetic components, there are many pairs of identical twins in which only one twin actually develops the disease. In bipolar disorder for example a monozygotic twin has only a 40%-70% chance of also having bipolar disorder if their twin has been diagnosed. If bipolar disorder really has a strong genetic component, then why isn’t this number 100%?
Of course, we More >
A recent 30 Year longitudinal study of individuals from New Zealand has revealed early indications of schizophrenia development later in life. Unlike many mental disorders, schizophrenia usually strikes much later in life (usually in mid to late adolescence) and so parents and patients alike may be unaware that there is a potential problem. In many places adequate access to proper mental-healthcare is lacking, so even when a diagnosis is possible, treatment may not be.
Obviously, the earlier individuals have access to information about their health, the longer they have to make appropriate choices. When it comes to mental-health, a properly responsive More >
A new paper from David Kleinfeld’s Laboratory at UC San Diego details an exciting new technique for studying biochemistry in the brain. The paper, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, outlines a novel method for studying cell-to-cell signals that are the basis of neurotransmission. It has significant potential for uncovering the mechanisms by which many psychiatric drugs work.
What did the group find? Kleinfeld’s group devised a technique that uses elaborately-named “cell-based neurotransmitter fluorescent engineered reporters” (CNiFERs for short) to examine how neurotransmitter receptors are activated. CNiFERs are cells that have been engineered to change color when acted upon by a specific neurotransmitter. More >
Ever had the feeling you have lost your marbles? According to the Phrase Finder that expression has conveyed a sense of loss, anger, and more recently a lack of common sense or sanity. As it turns out it may be the loss of certain segments of DNA (rather than simple mutations like SNPs) that may have a lot to do with the origins of mental illnesses like schizophrenia.
Now before you start thinking that schizophrenics are the only ones to lose their marbles (or large sections of their genomes), It has been previously shown by work like that of Jonathan Sebat of More >
A report released this week by Dr. Peter Byrne of Newham University Hospital in London takes issue with the portrayal of mental health in Hollywood. Dr. Byrne highlights a number of characters, including Heath Ledger’s Joker from the Batman series and Jim Carrey’s character(s) in Me, Myself and Irene, which “represented a new low [for] laughing at people with severe mental illness.”
Titled ‘Screening Madness’, the report highlights lazy and derivational stereotypes that perpetuate the myth that people with mental health problems are either stupid or dangerous.
According to Dr Byrne, “Mental health stereotypes have not changed over a century of cinema. More >
A study published in last week’s Science magazine shows how genomic science and neuroimaging can be combined to deliver insights into cognitive disorders. As well as providing an intriguing look into the neurobiology of psychosis, the study reflects a growing trend toward inter-disciplinary research in the neurosciences,
What did the study show?
Psychosis is a disordered cognitive state that can include disorganized thoughts, delusions, or hallucinations. It is a common symptom of schizophrenia and has been linked to a number of brain areas, including the the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and the hippocampus. Schizophrenia is also strongly associated with a number of genes, and More >
Bernard Crespi, an evolutionary geneticist at the Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada, has proposed that schizophrenia and autism are the opposite ends of the same social spectrum. Speaking at the Sackler Colloquium on Evolution in Health and Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences, Crespi noted that copy number variations (CNVs) in the human genome are similar for both schizophrenia and autism. What are CNVs and what evidence is their to support Crespi’s hypothesis?
What are CNVs?
Copy number variations are spontaneous mutations in the genome that result in duplications or deletions of the genomic sequence. Duplications can produce extra More >