Research study to help improve medications for schizophrenia

Have schizophrenia or care for someone who does?

Help inform better medications by sharing your experiences with increased or more intense symptoms of schizophrenia that may have led to hospitalization or community-based treatment—either as a person with schizophrenia or as a caregiver.

Your responses will provide real-life insights that will help research into medications that may help symptoms of schizophrenia from getting worse.

If you qualify and complete the anonymous research survey, you will receive a $50 Visa gift card.

If you’re interested or have questions, email researchstudy@nami.org or call (888) 780-4167.

The deadline to see if you qualify for the research study is
March 13th.
So, email or call today!

What do you need to take part in the research study?

  • An email address
  • Mailing address (so you can receive your $50 Visa gift card)
  • Internet access and a smartphone, tablet or computer
  • Willingness to answer questions about your experience with increased or more intense symptoms of schizophrenia that may have led to hospitalization or community-based treatment—either as someone with schizophrenia or caring for somebody with schizophrenia

Questions? Please contact us at researchstudy@nami.org.

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Five Reasons to Attend the NAMI National Convention

  1. Learn exciting research, tools, treatment options and recovery strategies directly from experts
  2. Discover how to lead effective mental health advocacy efforts
  3. Hear relatable stories and make personal connections with powerful impact
  4. Find day-to-day support through coping strategies, health and wellness activities, and legal services
  5. Earn continuing education credits as a licensed counselor, social worker or registered nurse

The NAMI National Convention connects and inspires people with or affected by a mental illness who are looking for resources, research, support services and recovery strategies. Join this diverse, action-driven gathering of individuals with mental health conditions, family members and caregivers, policymakers, educators, researchers, clinicians, providers, exhibitors, sponsors and press this year in Washington, D.C.

The 
First-on-Board member rate of just $195 is only available until January 31.

To learn more about program offerings, CLICK HERE.

Alcohol Use Disorder and the Loss of a Spouse

According to a recent study, the loss of a spouse due to divorce or death might be associated with an continuing risk of alcohol use disorder (“AUD”). According to the report’s authors, Kenneth Kendler, M.D., of Virginia Commonwealth University and colleagues:

“The pronounced elevation in AUD risk following divorce or widowhood, and the protective effect of both first marriage and remarriage against subsequent AUD, speaks to the profound impact of marriage on problematic alcohol use and the importance of clinical surveillance for AUD among divorced or widowed individuals”

The report is based on the records of close to a million married persons in Sweden. The study found a association with both a risk of a first AUD occurrence as well as AUD relapse, with a higher correlation in families with an AUD history, among other things. It also found a substantial decline in first AUD occurrences after divorce followed by a remarriage.

Widowhood also increased AUD risk in both sexes (hazard ratio of 3.85 in men and 4.10 in women). In women, widowhood had a stronger association with risk for future AUD if the spouse did not versus did have a lifetime history of AUD (hazard ratio of 3.69).

“These results suggest that it is not only the state of matrimony and the associated social roles that are protective against AUD. Rather, they are consistent with the importance of direct spousal interactions in which one individual monitors and tries to control his or her spouse’s drinking. A non-AUD spouse is likely to be much more effective at such control than a spouse with AUD.”

For more information, see:

Study Examines the Risk of Vitamin D Deficiency Potentially Associated with Known Psychosis

A recent study highlights the concern of vitamin D deficiency among people with established psychosis, and the consequent increased risk of cardiovascular disease in that population. The study is reported at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/861574 in the BMC Psychiatry article Clinical Correlates of Vitamin D Deficiency in Established Psychosis by J. Lally; P. Gardner-Sood, M. Firdosi; C. Iyegbe; B. Stubbs; K. Greenwood; R. Murray; S. Smith; O. Howes; and F. Gaughran. The scope of the study included Vitamin D levels with respect to mental state, cardiovascular disease factors, lifestyle factors, and cardiometabolic risk. The study concludes, among other things, that:

“given the extremely low levels of vitamin D seen in this vulnerable population, large randomised trials, specifically in psychosis, are urgently needed to determine whether supplementation with vitamin D is an effective means of ameliorating mental health outcomes, boosting cardiometabolic health and ultimately reducing mortality in psychosis.”

AdobeStock_100720396Vitamin D is generally considered an important vitamin and is included in many foods. However, a healthcare professional should be consulted in determining whether a vitamin D deficiency exists or whether and how vitamin D deficiency should be treated. For instance, the WebMD says, among other things:

“Vitamin D is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth or given as a shot into the muscle in recommended amounts. Most people do not commonly experience side effects with vitamin D, unless too much is taken. Some side effects of taking too much vitamin D include weakness, fatigue, sleepiness, headache, loss of appetite, dry mouth, metallic taste, nausea, vomiting, and others.”

Further, WebMD warns, among other things, that:

“Taking vitamin D for long periods of time in doses higher than 4000 units daily is POSSIBLY UNSAFE and may cause excessively high levels of calcium in the blood. However, much higher doses are often needed for the short-term treatment of vitamin D deficiency. This type of treatment should be done under the supervision of a healthcare provider.”

A healthcare professional can advise you with respect to the risks and/or benefits of treating vitamin D deficiency in light of each patient’s state of health and health history.

Photo Credit: Coloures-pic/Adobe Stock

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.

Study Finds Benefits for Intensive Early Care for Psychosis

According to a study in Schizophrenia Bulletin,.analysis of the RAISE trial (Recovery After Initial Schizophrenia Episode) shows that coordinated specialty care for young people with first-episode psychosis may be more cost-effective than typical community care. A study was performed by Robert Rosenheck, M.D., of Yale University, and colleagues finding, among other things, that coordinated specialty care patients received more mental health outpatient visits per 6-month period than community care patients, and more clinical, rehabilitation, and family treatment visits, but fewer peer support visits than those in community care. Those visits, plus newer medications and increased clinician training, contributed to an increase in cost over usual community care, but “these additional expenses have now been shown to be worth the investment in improving individuals’ health and functioning.” (Robert Heinssen, Ph.D., director of the Division of Services and Intervention Research at NIMH.) See the press release here. For more information, see:

Using Twitter to Help Mental Health

Twitter can be used to track all kinds of information and trends. During the course of any day more than 500 million 140-character “tweets” are composed sharing all types of personal information. And now Johns Hopkins University has found a way to use Twitter trends to help track both physical and mental health.

Johns Hopkins researchers have previously used Twitter trends to track flu in different areas, because Twitter users express how they feel when the flu hits them, their family, or their region. With those same methods, the researchers are confident that they can find ways to track mental health, too. For instance, by sifting through tweets about particular diagnoses, or tweets with certain mental health buzzwords, the university can collect data regarding disorders such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and many other mental health concerns.

NAMI is interested to see what this research can do to improve how mental health is handled. Hopefully, this will help medical science learn more about the greatest contributing factors, for instance, and this can lead to better solutions.