NATIONAL SURVEY REVEALS 45.1 MILLION ADULTS IN THE U.S. EXPERIENCED MENTAL ILLNESS IN THE PAST YEAR

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According to new results from a national survey, 19.9 percent of American adults in the United States have experienced mental illness over the past year. The survey, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), indicates that 11 million adults in the U.S. suffered serious mental illness in the past year — a diagnosable mental disorder that has substantially interfered with, or limited one or more major life activities. SAMHSA’s 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reveals that 8.4 million adults in the U.S. had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year, 2.2 million made suicide plans, and 1 million attempted suicide.

http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/1011180411.aspx

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LATEST SAMHSA NEWS–HEALTH REFORM: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The latest issue of SAMHSA News discusses health reform and its impact for behavioral health. Health reform signals major changes for those with behavioral health needs. The Affordable Care Act marks a change from “sick care” to true health care for the Nation. The emphasis is on prevention, wellness, and plans for health insurance coverage for millions of Americans who are currently uninsured.
http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter/Volume_18_Number_5/HealthReform.aspx

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

U.S. Social Security Administration

Genetic Factors for Neuropsychiatric Disorders Influence Brain Structure

Genetic variants associated with increased risk for neuropsychiatric disorders are associated with altered brain structure in apparently healthy individuals who carry these variants, according to a new study by Dutch researchers. Their finding raises the potential for using brain structure as an “intermediate phenotype” in identifying risk genes associated with neuropsychiatric disorders.

Barbara Franke, PhD, associate professor of molecular psychiatry, Department of Human Genetics and Department of Psychiatry, Institute for Genetic & Metabolic Diseases, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, the Netherlands, presented the study findings here at American Society of Human Genetics 60th Annual Meeting.

Altered regional brain structure is often seen in patients who have neuropsychiatric disorders, although the relation between brain structure and pathology is poorly understood. “There are basically 2 scenarios: the alterations that we see mediate the increased risk for mental disorders; and the alterations are epiphenomena and, although they co-occur with disease susceptibility, they do not contribute to them,” said Dr. Franke via email to Medscape Medical News after her presentation.

“The fact that we find brain structure alterations for so many psychiatric risk genes suggests that [the first option] is more likely, and [the alterations] are part of disease etiology,” Dr. Franke observed…..

Jacquelyn K. Beals, PhD
Medscape Medical News
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/732207

American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 60th Annual Meeting: Abstract 77. Presented November 3, 2010.

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

Scientists Discover How Estrogen Works and Flip Its Switch to Reap Benefits Without Risks

Estrogen is an elixir for the brain, sharpening mental performance in humans and animals and showing promise as a treatment for disorders of the brain such as Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia. But long-term estrogen therapy, once prescribed routinely for menopausal women, now is quite controversial because of research showing it increases the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Northwestern Medicine researchers have discovered how to reap the benefits of estrogen without the risk. Using a special compound, they flipped a switch that mimics the effect of estrogen on cortical brain cells. The scientists also found how estrogen physically works in brain cells to boost mental performance, which had not been known.

When scientists flipped the switch, technically known as activating an estrogen receptor, they witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of connections between brains cells, or neurons. Those connections, called dendritic spines, are tiny bridges that enable the brain cells to talk to each other…..

Reported by ScienceDaily
The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Northwestern University, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101117161246.htm

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

Differences in Brain Development Between Males and Females May Hold Clues to Mental Health Disorders

Many mental health disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia, produce changes in social behavior or interactions. The frequency and/or severity of these disorders is substantially greater in boys than girls, but the biological basis for this difference between the two sexes is unknown.

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have discovered differences in the development of the amygdala region of the brain — which is critical to the expression of emotional and social behaviors — in animal models that may help to explain why some mental health disorders are more prevalent among boys. They also found a surprising variable — a difference between males and females in the level of endocannabinoid, a natural substance in the brain that affected their behavior, specifically how they played…..

Reported by ScienceDaily
The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by University of Maryland Medical Center, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101117121809.htm

Journal Reference: Desiree L. Krebs-Kraft, Matthew N. Hill, Cecilia J. Hillard, and Margaret M. Mccarthy. Sex difference in cell proliferation in developing rat amygdala mediated by endocannabinoids has implications for social behavior. PNAS, November 8, 2010 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.100500310

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

Does Sex Matter? It May When Evaluating Mental Status

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that differs between the sexes in terms of age at onset, symptomatology, response to medication, and structural brain abnormalities. Now, a new study from the Université de Montréal shows that there is gender difference between men and women’s mental ability — with women performing better than men…..

Reported by ScienceDaily
The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by University of Montreal.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101118123840.htm

Journal Reference: José A. Jiménez, Adham Mancini-Marïe, Nadia Lakis, Melissa Rinaldi, Adrianna Mendrek. Disturbed sexual dimorphism of brain activation during mental rotation in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 2010; 122 (1-3): 53 DOI: 10.1016/j.schres.2010.03.011

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Selective Strategy Could Lead to New Approaches Against Schizophrenia

A new class of compounds identified by researchers at Emory University School of Medicine could be developed into drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia. The compounds enhance signaling by molecules in the brain called NMDA receptors, which scientists believe are functioning at low levels in people with schizophrenia.

Led by Stephen Traynelis, PhD, professor of pharmacology, a team of Emory researchers sifted through thousands of chemicals and found one, called CIQ, which could selectively enhance the function of certain NMDA receptors without affecting others.

The results were published Oct. 5, 2010 by the journal Nature Communications.

The first author of the paper is Praseeda Mullasseril, PhD. The research was a collaboration with Dennis Liotta, PhD, professor of chemistry, and his colleagues.

Doctors now treat schizophrenia with a variety of antipsychotic drugs, but these can have several long-term side effects. The rationale for treating schizophrenia via NMDA receptors comes from the observation that when healthy people take the drugs ketamine or phencyclidine (PCP or angel dust), they temporarily experience the symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations, disorganized thoughts and flattened emotions.

“There is room for improvement in therapeutic treatment of schizophrenia,” Traynelis says. “Exploration of alternative targets, such as the NMDA receptor, could potentially lead to expanded treatment options and improved outcomes for patients with schizophrenia.”

Ketamine and phencyclidine both interfere with NMDA receptors. This has led scientists to the idea that pushing in the opposite direction chemically — enhancing rather than blocking NMDA receptors — may help relieve schizophrenia’s symptoms……

Reported by ScienceDaily
The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Emory University, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101012114226.htm

Journal Reference: Praseeda Mullasseril, Kasper B. Hansen, Katie M. Vance, Kevin K. Ogden, Hongjie Yuan, Natalie L. Kurtkaya, Rose Santangelo, Anna G. Orr, Phuong Le, Kimberly M. Vellano, Dennis C. Liotta, Stephen F. Traynelis. A subunit-selective potentiator of NR2C- and NR2D-containing NMDA receptors. Nature Communications, 2010; 1 (7): 1 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1085

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

Brain Chemical Finding Could Open Door to New Schizophrenia Drugs

New research has linked psychosis with an abnormal relationship between two signalling chemicals in the brain. The findings, published in tomorrow’s edition of the journal Biological Psychiatry, suggest a new approach to preventing psychotic symptoms, which could lead to better drugs for schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is one of the most common severe mental health conditions. Sufferers experience symptoms of psychosis — an inability to distinguish between reality and imagination — such as hallucinations and delusions. The condition tends to begin in the late teens or twenties, and usually persists for the rest of the sufferer’s life.

Brain chemicals called neurotransmitters carry signals from one nerve cell to another. Research has linked schizophrenia with abnormally high levels of a neurotransmitter called dopamine in a region of the brain called the striatum. Drugs currently used to treat schizophrenia block the effects of dopamine in the brain. These drugs are not effective for all patients, and can have serious side effects.

The new pilot research, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), provides evidence that high levels of dopamine in people with psychotic symptoms occur as a consequence of changes in another brain chemical, glutamate. Glutamate-releasing cells in a brain region called the hippocampus connect to the striatum and influence the activity of dopamine-releasing cells. Drugs that interfere with glutamate signals in the brain might therefore be able to prevent psychotic symptoms in people with schizophrenia…..

Reported by ScienceDaily
The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Imperial College London, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100930101543.htm

Journal Reference: Stone. Altered Relationship Between Hippocampal Glutamate Levels and Striatal Dopamine Function in Subjects at Ultra High Risk of Psychosis. Biological Psychiatry, 2010; 68 (7): 599 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.05.034

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

Schizophrenia Boosts Diabetes Complication Risk

Schizophrenia puts diabetics at considerably higher risk of hospitalization for preventable diabetes complications, Canadian researchers report.

It’s unclear how many people have both conditions, but Drs. Taryn Becker and Janet Hux of the University of Toronto observe that when diabetes and psychiatric disorders coexist, patients are likely to have trouble meeting diabetes treatment targets.

In an October 26th online paper in Diabetes Care, the authors report on a retrospective study involving 1262 newly diagnosed diabetics with schizophrenia and 3771 matched diabetics without schizophrenia.

Using Ontario province registry data from 1995 to 2005, the researchers found that over a mean follow-up of 4 years, more than 12% of patients with schizophrenia required at least 1 hospital visit for hypo- or hyperglycemia, compared to about 7% of controls (hazard ratio 1.74).

They were also at considerably greater risk of pneumonia (2.85% vs 1.62%) and death (3.80% vs 1.99%).

The patients with schizophrenia were more likely to have seen a primary care provider before the diagnosis of diabetes but less likely to have a usual care provider.

The researchers note that there were no financial barriers to access in this publicly funded system. On the other hand, they suggest, “physician visits for individuals with schizophrenia may not be providing the appropriate components of diabetes mellitus care.”

More directed attention may be needed, as providers might be focusing “on other patient needs, neglecting somatic health,” they conclude.

Diabetes Care. Posted online October 26, 2010. Abstract

Reported by Reuters Health (Nov 10)

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.