Archives for May 2013

Two Bills Expanding Access to Treatment Signed Into Law

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock signed HB 16. The new law, which takes effect in October, will make it easier for people with severe mental illness to get treatment by allowing an officer to initiate an emergency evaluation for a person with mental illness who appears unable to meet his or her own basic needs of clothing, shelter, food, health or safety. Currently, the law requires imminent danger of death or bodily harm before an officer can initiate an emergency evaluation. The bill was supported by a number of Montana advocates who worked tirelessly for its passage.

Meanwhile, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed HB 1130 into law. The bill will further empower police officers to detain and transport people with severe mental illness who appear to be gravely disabled for psychiatric evaluation. This new law will ultimately make it much easier to secure treatment for people in the midst of a crisis.

Both bills illustrate how strong the tide of reform is this year. However they are achieved, treatment law reforms save lives and family and are cause for celebration. We are celebrating these and applauding the policy makers and advocates who made them happen.

–The Treatment Advocacy Center

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See What We’ve Done So Far This Year — 2013

This year SARDAA has already hosted several successful events. Our work has inspired others to improve care and policy for individuals with schizophrenia, raise awareness, and start new Schizophrenic’s Anonymous groups. We will continue to host conferences and events to promote these goals. If you missed any of these events, check out what you missed (below) and consider joining us at our next event–our 2nd annual conference in Houston, TX on October 26, 2013.

January: NIMH Research Alliance Partner’s Meeting

March: Presentation for the West Houston Health and Wellness Committee

Exhibit at Family 2 Family Conference

NIMH Outreach Partner’s meeting and exhibit.

April: National Council Mental Health and Addictions Conference–Dr. Fredrick Frese, nominated by SARDAA, won the Lilly Reintegration Award for Advocacy.

Dr. Fred Frese and Linda Stalters

Presented Webinar in partnership with John Hopkins Medicine on PsychiatryCareLive

Houston NAMI GC Walk boothLinda Stalters at NAMI Walk booth

May: Exhibit at Katy ISD

Presentation for Family Services of Greater Houston

Cocktails and Couture–SARDAA’s 5th Anniversary Celebration and Schizophrenia Awareness Recognition

Cocktails and Couture Event poster

Stay tuned to hear about our next events!



The Nose Knows Schizophrenia

Collecting tissue samples from the nose during a simple biopsy may lead to better diagnosis of schizophrenia, new research suggests.

A small study showed that all 7 of the initial participants with schizophrenia had significantly elevated microRNA (miRNA) expression in their olfactory cells compared with the 7 participants who did not have the disorder.

Further analysis of samples captured by laser microdissecion from a cohort of 36 participants showed that the same elevated brain-enriched expression in miR-382 was found in those with schizophrenia vs those without.

“The take-home message for clinicians is that molecular markers are terrific potential candidates for complex disorders, such as those involving psychiatric symptoms,” senior author Noam Shomron, PhD, from the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at Tel Aviv University in Israel, told Medscape Medical News.

“Further research is needed to substantiate our findings and to pinpoint whether our markers are cause or causative in this disease,” added Dr. Shomron.

Still, the investigators note that the results illustrate “the potential utility” of tissues and cells from the olfactory epithelium (OE) “as surrogate samples for the brain.”

by Deborah Brauser, Medscape

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Photos: Dr. Fred Frese, Nominated by SARDAA, Won Reintegration Award for Advocacy

Dr. Fred Frese

Dr. Fred Frese

SARDAA was proud and honored to nominate Dr Fredrick Frese, the winner of the Lilly Reintegration Award for Advocacy.

On April 9, 2013, during the 43rd National Council Mental Health and Addictions Conference, the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare hosted it’s Celebration of Excellence in Las Vegas, NV. This celebration honors distinguished behavioral healthcare individuals and organizations that have set themselves apart with the Awards of Excellence — the most prestigious awards in behavioral healthcare. In 2013, the National Council is proud to partner with Eli Lilly and Company to include the Reintegration Awards and Welcome Back Awards in the Awards of Excellence celebration.

Since 1997, the Reintegration Awards, supported by Eli Lilly and Company, have celebrated the achievements of those in the community who dedicate themselves to improving the lives of individuals with serious mental illnesses, and the achievements of those living with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder who battle tremendous odds to improve their own lives and the lives of their peers.

Each of the winners receive grants to donate to a nonprofit of their choice as a part of their awardSchizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America, was designated by the Fred Frese, PhD, winner of the Reintegration Award for Advocacy, to receive a donation in honor of the work you do.

Linda, Fred, Peggy

Linda, Fred, Peggy

Fred Frese Award

Fred Frese Award

Linda Stalters and Dr. Fred Frese

Linda Stalters and Dr. Fred Frese


Photos: Houston NAMI Walk

SARDAA at NAMI Walk 2013

SARDAA at NAMI Walk 2013

SARDAA Booth at NAMI Walk 2013
SARDAA Booth at NAMI Walk 2013
Linda Stalters at the NAMI Walk 2013
Linda Stalters at the NAMI Walk 2013

Anti-inflammatory Drugs May Reduce Schizophrenia Symptom Severity

There is preliminary evidence to suggest that use of an NSAID to augment antipsychotic drugs has a moderate beneficial effect on symptom severity for people with schizophrenia in the short term.

Immune dysfunction and inflammation have been described in patients with schizophrenia. For example, findings from our group suggested that markers for inflammation, including elevated blood levels of C reactive protein and white blood cell count are associated with negative symptoms in patients with schizophrenia. Furthermore, nuclear factor κB activation may play a pivotal role in schizophrenia through interaction with cytokines.

This meta-analysis was based on five double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trials with a total number of 264 patients. Four studies examined celecoxib and one used aspirin. The studies included were heterogeneous in terms of the chronicity of illness and the choice of study drugs; in addition, the study time periods were relatively short (up to three months). Despite these limitations, the analysis provided further evidence suggesting that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug augmentation treatment could be beneficial in reducing schizophrenia symptoms.

Celecoxib and other cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors are associated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, which is a serious comorbid medical condition in patients with schizophrenia. The cardioprotective nonselective COX inhibitor aspirin is arguably preferable. However, it is well established that aspirin, especially when used in a relatively high dosage, is associated with a significant risk for gastrointestinal bleeding.

Continued effort should be made to identify potential anti-inflammatory agents with a better side effect profile, and also examine the longer term effect of anti-inflammatory treatment in schizophrenia. Future studies focusing on the early stage of schizophrenia are particularly valuable because pharmacological treatment during the early phase could improve the course and overall prognosis of the disease.

by Xiaoduo Fan, Xueqin Song, Evidence Based Mental Health

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Each Family May Have Schizophrenia In Its Own Way

Schizophrenia runs in families, but scientists have been stymied in their efforts to nail down genetic changes that could be causing the often devastating mental illness.

By zeroing in on just one pathway in the brain, scientists say they’ve found genetic variations that are shared in families, and tend to cause specific symptoms.

Though scientists have known for decades that schizophrenia is often hereditary, they haven’t been able to find one gene that causes it. Instead, they now think that it’s caused by lots of genetic variations, and that not everyone with the disease has the same ones. It’s as if people are being dealt cards from multiple decks, and the rules of the game are different for each person.

Some scientists have tried to solve this mystery by looking at all the cards in the deck, scanning the genes of large groups of people to look for clues. Others take a more tightly focused approach, picking one suit, or even one hand, to examine very closely.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins took the focused approach. They looked at genes controlling one pathway in the brain, called the neuregulin signaling pathway, and scanned those genes in 123 families with a history of schizophrenia. Some families did have many more variations in their neuregulin genes. And the people in those families who had schizophrenia were more likely to have hallucinations, one symptom of the disease.

By contrast, other families didn’t have neuregulin gene variations. And their family members with schizophrenia had different symptoms. They had more cognitive impairment, but fewer hallucinations.

by Nancy Shute, NPR

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SAMHSA’s Failings: Pushing an Anti-Psychiatry Agenda, Wasting Money

Rep. Tim Murphy (R. Pa.) came out swinging hard Wednesday at SAMHSA, during a House Oversight and Investigations subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee.  It was the third session Rep. Murphy’s subcommittee has held about mental illnesses and it was a good one.
SAMHSA has long been criticized by Dr. Fuller E. Torrey for wasting money on “feel good” programs that are not evidence based, for not paying adequate attention to severe mental illnesses, and for funding organizations that advocate anti-psychiatry and anti-medical model views.
Chairman Murphy relied heavily on Dr. Torrey’s past and current criticisms in his opening statement. Among his – Rep. Murphy’s — specific criticisms were that SAMHSA doesn’t focus enough of its funding and programs on helping persons diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other severe illnesses, as evidence by the fact that it has only one psychiatrist on its staff and his expertise is substance abuse, not mental illness. SAMHSA was created to be the federal government’s main mental health agency.
How can the government’s number one mental health agency only have one psychiatrist on its staff of 574 employees? Murphy asked.
by Pete Earley
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Timely Treatment = Better Prognosis

A new study of first-episode psychosis has found that the longer patients are untreated following an initial episode, the longer it takes them to respond to treatment once it begins.

A team of researchers from the University of Cantabria in Spain followed 153 patients who underwent treatment following a first psychotic break (“Delayed psychosis treatment harms chance of success,” a research summary from, April 29; not yet available online). Patients who achieved remission within a year of starting treatment had an average duration of untreated psychosis of 8.8 months.

Patients who did not experience remission within a year were, on average, psychotic for 15.6 months before treatment began.

The researchers found that three factors predicted remission:

1. Duration of the untreated psychosis;

2. Severity of negative symptoms;

3. No education beyond primary school.

“Early intervention clinical programs should aim to reduce the length of DUP [duration of untreated psychosis] in order to provide a better outcome for patients,” according to author Benedicto Crespo-Facorro. The authors also identified the lack of effective medications for negative symptoms as “a major unmet need in schizophrenia treatment.”

by Treatment Advocacy Center

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Childhood Infection Linked to Schizophrenia

Hospitalization for infection during childhood is associated with an increased risk of developing schizophrenia in adolescence and young adulthood, new research shows.

….”These are serious infections requiring hospitalization, so it is only the more severe cases of infections that are implicated here, and the fact that we found raised risk if the father had a history of being hospitalized for infection indicates that there may be some familial susceptibility to infection and subsequent schizophrenia risk,” Nielsen said.

….Several studies have reported links between maternal infections during pregnancy and the child’s risk for schizophrenia.

by Fran Lowry, Medscape

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