Further Studies on Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia

Dollarphotoclub_65757252A new article by Megan Brooks, “Resistant Schizophrenia: Brain Imaging Provides Insight,” published on Medscape Medical News, March 17, 2016, reports on the results of a new study examining brain imaging studies of schizophrenia with a focus on the differences and similarities between schizophrenia patients that are responsive to treatment and those that are resistant to treatment. The report authors, Elias Mouchlianitis, PhD, Dr. Robert McCutcheon, MBBS, MRCPsych, and Oliver D Howes, DM, published their report, “Brain-imaging studies of treatment-resistant schizophrenia: a systematic review,” online with Lancet Psychiatry on March 3. The big question, one of the report’s authors, Robert McCutcheon, said to Medscape Medical News, is “whether treatment-resistant schizophrenia is best understood as a more severe form of responsive schizophrenia or whether it has a fundamentally different pathophysiology.” The resolution of that question, which is the focus of a great deal of current research, could have a profound effect on diagnosis and treatment.

“Our review shows some support for both of these hypotheses. On some measures, such as gray matter reductions, resistant patients do appear to show more severe abnormalities compared to responsive patients. On other measures examining neurochemical functioning, however, it seems that there can be quite different processes operating in responsive and resistant patients.”

Although the study does not provide a definitive answer, it appears to be an important step, further illuminating what is known and opening the way to learning more. The study was funded by Medical Research Council UK Maudsley Charity, the Wellcome Trust, the UK National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at South London, the Maudsley National Health Service Foundation Trust, and King’s College London.

Learn more:

  • See the Medscape article HERE.
  • See the Lancet Abstract HERE.

This Summer: NAMI National Convention in Denver

The NAMI National Convention, July 6–9 in Denver, is the largest national gathering of mental health advocates in the U.S. The convention educates, encourages and empowers a diverse community that is passionate about building better lives for people affected by mental illness. This year’s theme is: “ACT. ADVOCATE. ACHIEVE.”

Register by March 31 and receive the special Super Saver rate of $215.

Program offerings at the NAMI National Convention

NAMI California has an outstanding selection of policy and education sessions, research updates, an advancing recovery program track, workshops and more. Learn more about the convention program offerings.

One research session by Paul Grant will be presented as part of the advancing recovery through new research program track scheduled for July 6 at the NAMI National Convention 2016, Denver.

“… In the late 1990’s, we decided to see if we could understand negative symptoms better and find a way to improve them. The prevailing belief in the field has been that the observed social withdrawal and inactivity is based on impairment of brain function, specifically, of attention, memory, and executive function. However, we could not fathom how these particular impairments could translate into the profound inactivity we saw in the person staring at the wall. This led us to conduct many interviews with individuals experiencing negative symptoms.
We came to a startling conclusion: these individuals appeared to have a system of negative beliefs that could account for their low functioning…”

NAMI South Bay Meeting-Monday, March 21, 2016

John Tsuang, MD will be speaking about Dual Diagnosis Treatment at our meeting this coming Monday at 7:30 PM at the First Lutheran Church 2900 Carson in Torrance.  Dr. Tsuang is the Director of the Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program at Harbor UCLA Medical Center.  He has spoken at national and state conferences and has published many articles on the topic of dual diagnosis treatment.  Unfortunately, because many persons with a mental illness self medicate and the extensive problem of substance abuse in our society, treatment of a dual diagnosis of a mental illness and substance abuse is an extremely important topic. Dr. Tsuang does a wonderful job of presenting the material and you won’t want to miss his presentation.

The Caring and Sharing Support Group will start at 6 PM in Faith Hall  and the Speaker Meeting at 7:30 PM in Faith Hall at the First Lutheran Church 2900 Carson in Torrance.

Looking Ahead to the NAMI California Annual Conference in August

San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront 1800 Old Bayshore HIghway Burlingame, CA 94010

Learn about the latest news, research and breakthroughs in mental health! The 2016 NAMI California Annual Conference in San Francisco (August 26th and 27th) will feature a variety of tracks, inspirational speakers and educational workshops.

Early Bird Registration is Open. Register now for the Conference to take advantage of our early bird pricing! Click here to register for our Early Bird Special.

Group Rates. NAMI California is now offering special group rates for our Annual Conference. For a limited time, groups of four or more registering at the same time will receive the lowest Super Early Bird pricing! Click here to download the group registration form or call the NAMI California office at (916) 567-0163.

Featured Screening. Among many other things, the Conference will feature a screening of Inside Out, Pixar’s highly acclaimed animated comedy adventure. The film, which just won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, is set in the mind of a young girl named Riley, whose emotions — Joy, Fear, Anger, Sadness and Disgust — compete as she adjusts to her new life in San Francisco. Discover this groundbreaking movie that explores mental health issues in a sensitive but entertaining way.

Participate. Interested in participating in the Color Guard, singing the National Anthem or volunteering at the conference? Contact Erik at erik@namica.org. Conference scholarships for adults and young adults ages 18-24 are also available.

Hospitals Should Be Places For Healing, Not Harm

From NAMI California

By Jessica Cruz
NAMI California Executive Director

Training Illustration Dollarphotoclub_97425553The treatment of mental illness in hospitals remains a severe crisis in this country – costing millions of dollars each year as well as countless lives lost or unjustly criminalized.

The recent New York Times report, “When the Hospital Fires the Bullet,” and corresponding This American Life segment, “My Damn Mind,” dramatically portray the challenges faced by individuals and family members seeking emergency psychiatric care – and the tragedies that can follow when staff are not prepared to care for someone in crisis.

Alan Peon, like many individuals experiencing a psychiatric crisis, sought help at a local emergency room. He and his family rightfully expected trained mental health professionals to evaluate and treat his psychiatric emergency condition with compassionate, quality, culturally appropriate and timely care in a safe, nonthreatening environment – exactly what we expect when we seek treatment for any medical condition. Instead, he was shot in the chest and nearly died.

Click this link to read the full article

Members Share How NAMI Has Affected Their Lives

Survey Dollarphotoclub_53229363In NAMI California’s last survey, participants were asked how NAMI has affected their lives. NAMI California received responses from members all over the state relating how NAMI helped them find the path to recovery, better understand mental illness, learn how to help a family member or loved one, fight stigma, and advocate for mental health reform.

A sampling of comments from the 30-second survey:

  • NAMI was the single most important organization or “individual” in our family’s existence since our son had a serious breakdown and was diagnosed with a serious form of mental illness… We will forever be indebted to NAMI.
  • Before NAMI I saw mental illness as behaviors without seeing the people. NAMI taught me empathy. My life is richer and much more meaningful, and I feel privileged to work with those with mental health challenges.
  • NAMI has changed my life. Before I was an OK advocate for myself and others with mental illness. Now I have a lot of tools that make me a lot better!
  • I found friendship, and hope that there is recovery for families and my son. Also, (NAMI) empowers me to speak up to fight stigma.
  • NAMI has been the catalyst to take a tragic disease and turn it into a call to legislative action.

Click Here to Read more 

This month’s survey: What was your experience the first time you accessed mental health services for yourself or your loved one?

Click here to take this month’s 30 Second Survey!