An avatar system that enables people with schizophrenia to control the voice of their hallucinations is being developed by researchers at UCL with support from the Wellcome Trust.
The computer-based system could provide quick and effective therapy that is far more successful than current pharmaceutical treatments, helping to reduce the frequency and severity of episodes of schizophrenia.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) deficits have been implicated in schizophrenia and depression. In schizophrenia, deficits have been particularly well-described for a subtype of GABA neuron, the parvalbumin fast-spiking interneurons. The activity of these neurons is critical for proper cognitive and emotional functioning.
Johns Hopkins researchers have identified a rare gene mutation in a single family with a high rate of schizophrenia, adding to evidence that abnormal genes play a role in the development of the disease.
Choline, an essential nutrient similar to the B vitamin and found in foods such as liver, muscle meats, fish, nuts and eggs, when given as a dietary supplement in the last two trimesters of pregnancy and in early infancy, is showing a lower rate of physiological schizophrenic risk factors in infants 33 days old. The study breaks new ground both in its potentially therapeutic findings and in its strategy to target markers of schizophrenia long before the illness itself actually appears. Choline is also being studied for potential benefits in liver disease, including chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis, depression, memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and certain types of seizures.
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), a category that includes autism, Asperger Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, are characterized by difficulty with social interaction and communication, or repetitive behaviors. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Management says that one in 88 children in the US is somewhere on the Autism spectrum ? an alarming ten-fold increase in the last four decades.
An Indiana University-led research team, along with a group of national and international collaborators, has identified and prioritized a comprehensive group of genes most associated with schizophrenia that together can generate a score indicating whether an individual is at higher or lower risk of developing the disease.
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have discovered that DNA stays too tightly wound in certain brain cells of schizophrenic subjects.
The findings suggest that drugs already in development for other diseases might eventually offer hope as a treatment for schizophrenia and related conditions in the elderly.
Researchers from Taiwan have confirmed a bidirectional relation between schizophrenia and epilepsy. The study published today in Epilepsia, a journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), reports that patients with epilepsy were nearly 8 times more likely to develop schizophrenia and those with schizophrenia were close to 6 times more likely to develop epilepsy.
Columbia University Medical Center researchers have shown that new, or “de novo,” protein-altering mutationsÂ—genetic errors that are present in patients but not in their parentsÂ—play a role in more than 50 percent of “sporadic” Â—i.e., not hereditaryÂ—cases of schizophrenia. The findings will be published online on August 7, 2011, in Nature Genetics.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that currently affects about one in every 200 people. Most patients find some relief from their symptoms by treatment with antipsychotics, however they may still suffer from cognitive and negative symptoms. These include poor concentration and memory, apathy, or a reduced ability to cope in social situations. Preliminary research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Medicine shows that patients who received L-lysine alongside their normal medication found some reduction in the severity of their symptoms.