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.

Early Youth Intervention Helps Children at High Risk of Mental Illness

Group of child in urban street

The Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School encourages a wide array of supports that could help reduce the likelihood of developing schizophrenia in children at high familial risk, according to the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin. The article, written by Cindy Liu, Ph.D., and colleagues, says that often children born to parents with schizophrenia exhibit subtle but visible signs that can predict later development of psychoses. The signs can include neuromotor problems, minor physical anomalies, cognitive difficulties, antisocial behavior, and problems with speech, language, or hearing.

Of course, these things are not determinative. Many things, including childhood adversity and life stress also may contribute to risk. Still, focusing on high-familial-risk children “may be the most practical strategy for early intervention at this time,” Liu concludes, recommending interventions that might include enhancing parental skills, increasing social support, applying psychotherapy for parents, prenatal care for women with psychoses, and ensuring access to important psychiatric, social, educational, and legal resources.

More research is needed to know which interventions are most effective in terms of function and cost.

Psychotic Experiences Are Not Always a Sign of Mental Illness

Hearing Voices UMB-O Dollarphotoclub_73109512According to a July 2015 article by Anna Medaris Miller for U.S. News and World Report, there are “lots of potential reasons someone might hear voices, including anxiety, stress, depression and a history of trauma.”

Of course, all of these are “good reasons to seek mental health help.” But don’t conclude that a mental illness diagnosis is the only outcome.

In the article, Miller quotes Lisa Forestell, the director of community support at Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community who has heard voices her entire life. “They’re playful and silly and they try to cheer me up when I’m sad.” She also quotes Dr. John McGrath, a professor of psychiatry at The University of Queensland in Australia and researcher at the Queensland Brain Institute whose research team found that 2.5% of the population has heard voices and 3.8% has seen something others didn’t see. Psychotic experiences, he says, “are more common than we had been taught. What we really have to do is go back and revise how these symptoms fit into the profile of mental illness.”

This isn’t to say that hallucinations are never a symptom of mental illness. The point really is that hallucinations are a symptom with a variety of possible causes, including mental illness, but possibly also stress or trauma. Dr. Joseph Pierre, co-chief of the Schizophrenia Treatment Unit at VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Center, and also discussed in the article, conducted a study that compared 118 people who hear voices at least once a month and have a psychotic diagnosis to 111 people who hear voices at least once a month but don’t have mental illness. He found differences, including the tendency for people with psychosis to hear voices more often, to hear them express negative emotions. The diagnosed psychotic subjects also had little control over their voices. In his study, Pierre compared hearing voices to coughs — “common experiences that are often, but not always, symptoms of pathology associated with a larger illness.”

To read the article see Living With the Voices in Your Head.

New Drug “ITI-007” Shows Promise for Schizophrenia

????????????????????????????????????????????????????A new medication, now in phase 3 clinical development for the treatment of schizophrenia, is showing great promise, according to its manufacturer and developer, Intra-Cellular Therapies Inc., as presented at the end of March at the 15th International Congress on Schizophrenia Research (ICOSR) in Colorado Springs and this week at the 4th Biennial Schizophrenia International Research Society (SIRS) Conference in Florence, Italy.

“This drug has a different pharmacological profile than any of the other antipsychotics. We believe the unique serotonergic-dopaminergic-glutamatergic pharmacological profile represents a new approach to the treatment of schizophrenia in a single stand-alone therapy.”

According to Intra-Cellular Therapies:

“Our lead product candidate, ITI-007, possesses a mechanism of action targeting multiple brain systems and may allow a physician to fine tune the drug’s action in the brain by simple dose adjustments. At the lowest doses, ITI-007 has been demonstrated to act primarily as a potent 5-HT2A serotonin receptor antagonist. As the dose is increased, additional benefits are derived from the engagement of additional drug targets, including modest dopamine receptor modulation and modest inhibition of serotonin transporters. We believe that combined interactions at these receptors may provide additional benefits above and beyond selective 5-HT2A antagonism for treating agitation, aggression and sleep disturbances in diseases that include dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and autism spectrum disorders, while avoiding many of the side effects associated with more robust dopamine receptor antagonism. As the dose of ITI-007 is further increased, leading to moderate dopamine receptor modulation, inhibition of serotonin transporters, and indirect glutamate modulation, these actions complement the complete blockade of 5-HT2A serotonin receptors. In this dose range, we believe that ITI-007 will be useful in treating the symptoms associated with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and other neuropsychiatric diseases.”

 

 

Researchers Seeking to Pay Persons with Schizophrenia and Caregivers for One-Hour Interview

?????????Adept Consumer Testing, a National Market Research Firm is looking for Patients that have been diagnosed by a physician as having “Schizophrenia” and Caregivers of Patients diagnosed with Schizophrenia to participate in a paid medical market research study.

These individual interviews will last approximately 60 minutes on Wednesday, February 25th in the Beverly Hills area. A generous honorarium will be provided to all those that qualify and participate.

If you would like to participate, please contact Adept Consumer Testing at the following phone number so they can ask you the qualifying questions.

Tell them NAMI South Bay sent you.

Call Adé @ 310-279-4343 extension 372

Photo Credit
Ocskay Mark | DPC

Study Finds Patients With First-Episode Schizophrenia Disorders Show Greater Body Fat, Cardiovascular Risk

Research Folders Laptop Mean Investigation Gathering Data And An

Christoph Correll, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and molecular medicine at the Zucker Hillside Hospital in New York, and colleagues studied approximately 400 patients with FES. Photo Credit: Stuart Miles | DPC

From Psychiatric News Alert: The duration of psychiatric illness and treatment for patients after first-episode schizophrenia spectrum disorders (FES) appears to be associated with weight gain and having other cardiometabolic abnormalities, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Data showed that when evaluated after experiencing FES, nearly 50% were obese or overweight, 40% had prehypertension, 10% had hypertension, and 13.2% had some form of metabolic syndrome. Longer psychiatric illness duration correlated significantly with higher body mass index, fat percentage, and waist circumference. Treatment with antipsychotic medications, such as olanzapine and quetiapine, was associated with higher triglyceride levels in the blood.

“In patients with FES, cardiometabolic risk factors and abnormalities are present early in the illness and likely related to the underlying illness, unhealthy lifestyle, and [use of] antipsychotic medications, which interact with each other. Prevention of and early interventions for psychiatric illness and treatment with lower-risk agents, routine antipsychotic adverse effect monitoring, and smoking-cessation interventions are needed from the earliest illness phases.”

To read more about research into cardiovascular risk associated with psychiatric illness and use of psychotropic medications, see the Psychiatric News articles

For more on this topic, see the study

Advantages of Long-Acting Injectable Antipsychotics

With studies showing schizophrenia to be treatment refractory in one-fifth of those affected, psychiatrists are exploring other options to the delivery of effective treatment. At APA’s Institute on Psychiatric Services in San Francisco, some of the leading experts in psychopharmacology led a research symposium on the benefits of long-acting injectable (LAI) antipsychotic medications.Said Steven Potkin, M.D., director of clinical research at the University of California, Irvine:

“Psychiatrists who were trained during my time of training, think that long-acting injectable antipsychotics should be used for the most refractory, noncompliant, and difficult to treat patients. However, there is accumulating evidence that very early in the course of illness that this should be offered as an option, since half of the patients with first-episode psychosis discontinue medication after they are discharged from a hospital.”

Research on part of the “accumulating evidence” on long-acting injectable antipsychotics was presented by Keith Nuechterlein, Ph.D., a distinguished professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, who led a randomized study comparing LAI risperidone with oral rispiderone in 83 individuals who had a first psychotic episode within the two years prior to the study. The results showed that after one year of treatment, participants who received the daily oral form of risperidone had a 33%relapse rate, compared with 5% in those treated weekly with LAI risperidone. In addition, individuals in the oral risperidone cohort were four times more likely to be hospitalized than those taking the LAI version.

“We were struck that these were among the most dramatic results that have occurred for long-acting injectables—and it was in first-episode patients,” said Nuechterlein, adding that not only did patients experience advantages regarding outcomes associated with LAIs, but the patients accepted LAI medication quite readily. (The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and Janssen Pharmaceuticals.)

“This symposium was an invitation for psychiatrists to rethink when is it appropriate to offer patients long-acting injectable medication. Should it be reserved only for refractory patients, or should it be offered to people earlier in the course [of illness]… or at any stage of illness? Of course, LAIs are not for everyone, but our patients should definitely be given options.”