Message From Executive Director

Dear Friends,

Positive things are happening!
It is time that EVERYONE recognizes the fact that schizophrenia-related disorders/illnesses are BRAIN based and are treatable.  SARDAA is launching a BRAIN Campaign to change erroneous perceptions and inform the medical, legislative and general public regarding schizophrenia-related brain disorders.
Emmett Biffle, a SARDAA Board member, educated her University of Houston campus when exhibiting and provided participants the opportunity to sign “The Pledge”.  Emmett reports there was an enthusiastic acceptance and motivation to join the movement.
True treatment parity, appropriate access to treatment instead of ostracizing and punishing for having a brain illness, won’t happen until it is widely recognized that these disorders are brain based.  No one elects to have these illnesses any more than someone elects to have appendicitis.

Please see The Pledge below and visit our website frequently. Soon you will be able to commit to The Pledge and receive a certificate declaring you a Brain Health Advocate.

With sincere gratitude for your continued support,

Linda Stalters, MSN

Executive Director


Marijuana Use Impairs Verbal Memory

Individuals with long-term exposure to marijuana may experience significant impairment of verbal memory by the time they reach middle age, warn researchers, who found that other aspects of cognitive function were unaffected.

Investigators, led by Reto Auer, MD, of the Department of Ambulatory Care and Community Medicine, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, found that for each additional 5 years of exposure to marijuana, there was a significant decline in performance on a standard verbal memory test, although the researchers note that the clinical meaningfulness of the findings is open to question.

“Future studies with multiple assessments of cognition, brain imaging, and other functional outcomes should further explore these associations and their potential clinical and public health implications,” they write.

To read more, please click here to visit the Medscape website.

Today’s Research on Medicines for Children Offers Hope for Tomorrow

Only 25 years ago, it was rare to find drug labels with dispensing information specific to children. That’s because pharmaceutical companies rarely, if ever, conducted the research necessary to develop such instructions. As a result, health care providers often gave children smaller doses of adult medicines, without evidence of how exactly the children would react.

For the past 20 years, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) has led a nationwide initiative to include infants, children, and adolescents in drug research studies. The initiative largely focuses on defining how drugs approved for adult use can be used to treat children appropriately. Such research ensures that doctors get reliable guidance when prescribing medications for children and offers hope for parents of sick children. In addition, pediatric drug research sometimes offers options for conditions that affect children uniquely or where no equivalent drug for adults exists. Learn about the experiences of two families involved in NICHD-supported pediatric pharmacology research.

To read more, please click here to visit the National Institute of Child Health website.

SAMHSA’s 2015 Barometer tracks the behavioral health of America

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) most recent National Behavioral Health Barometer report (Barometer) highlights many important trends in Americans’ behavioral health throughout the nation.

The 2015 Barometer findings cover key behavioral healthcare issues affecting American communities including the prevalence rates of youth and adult substance use, serious mental illness, suicidal thoughts, and people seeking treatment for these disorders.   The Barometer shows this data at the national level, and for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

To read more about the report, please click here to visit the SAMHSA website.

Tax-advantaged Savings program for qualified disability expenses

The Stephen Beck, Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience Act  (ABLE Act) was enacted on December 19, 2014, as part of The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (P.L. 113–295).

Generally, the ABLE Act permits a state to establish and maintain a new type of tax-advantaged savings program (under Section 529A of the Internal Revenue Code). Contributions may be made to a 529A account established for a designated beneficiary to pay for qualified disability expenses.

For more information, please click here to visit the IRS website.

Need a dose of inspiration?

Sardaa health storylines2

Is there something that you have been mustering up the courage to do to better yourself? Build your hope and confidence by getting your daily dose of inspiration with Healthy Doses in your SARDAA Health Storylines app.

Whether you are looking for optimism, love, gratitude, mindfulness, or something to make you smile; Healthy Doses will brighten your day by giving you a new inspirational quote at any time of day!

We are here to help you where you need assistance. Feel free to contact us at(844) 475-4637 to let us know how we can help you with SARDAA Health Storylines.

Metformin May Normalize Antipsychotic-Induced Lipid Imbalance in People With Schizophrenia


Patients with schizophrenia who take antipsychotics commonly experience serious adverse metabolic effects including dyslipidemia—a condition characterized by abnormally high levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), or triglycerides, as well as abnormally low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). A study published in Molecular Psychiatry now suggests that the type 2 diabetes medication metformin may be able to help normalize lipid levels in this patient population.

Although there is evidence to suggest metformin decreases triglycerides and LDL-C in patients with diabetes, it was unknown whether the medication would offer similar benefits to schizophrenia patients with antipsychotic-induced dyslipidemia who have weight gain and/or have developed insulin resistance after antipsychotic treatment.

Click here to read the complete article on Psychiatric News Website.


Experimental Combination Surprises with Anti-HIV Effectiveness

A compound developed to protect the nervous system from HIV surprised researchers by augmenting the effectiveness of an investigational antiretroviral drug beyond anything expected. The potency of the combination treatment, tested so far in mice, suggests that it would be possible to rid the body of HIV for months, reducing the frequency with which patients must take these medications from daily to several times a year.

Even when people with HIV infection take antiretroviral drugs, more than 50 percent have HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND), which can result in any of a variety of symptoms, including confusion and problems with memory. NIH-supported scientists led by Harris A. Gelbard, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry developed the compound URMC-099 to protect against HIV-associated neurologic damage. This and similar compounds would always be administered with an antiretroviral medication; the objective of this research was to test URMC-099 as such an adjunct.

Click here to read the complete article on National Institute of Mental Health website.

Genome-Wide Study Yields Markers of Lithium Response

An international consortium of scientists has identified a stretch of chromosome that is associated with responsiveness to the mood-stabilizing medication lithium among patients with bipolar disorder. While the finding won’t have an immediate clinical application, it is a groundbreaking demonstration of the potential for identifying genetic information that can be used to inform personalized treatment decisions, even in genetically complex disorders. The genes identified are also an avenue for understanding the biology of the lithium response.

People with bipolar disorder experience marked, often extreme shifts in mood and energy. The disorder affects an estimated 2.6 percent of Americans. The mood swings can severely disrupt a person’s ability to function normally; as many as 15 percent of those affected die by suicide. Lithium is a mood stabilizing medication that is a mainstay of treatment. For some patients, it is very effective, virtually eliminating the symptoms. However, about a third of patients respond incompletely, and another third not at all.

Click here to read the complete article on National Institute of Mental Health website.

Schizophrenia’s strongest known genetic risk deconstructed

Suspect gene may trigger runaway synaptic pruning during adolescence – NIH-funded study

Versions of a gene linked to schizophrenia may trigger runaway pruning of the teenage brain’s still-maturing communications infrastructure, NIH-funded researchers have discovered.  People with the illness show fewer such connections between neurons, or synapses.  The gene switched on more in people with the suspect versions, who faced a higher risk of developing the disorder, characterized by hallucinations, delusions and impaired thinking and emotions.


Click here to read the complete article on National Institute of Mental Health website.