A large new study confirms that people with severe mental disorders - such as schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders - are 25 percent to 40 percent more prone to die from heart disease than people without mental illness are. Moreover, smoking and physical inactivity - behaviors that individuals potentially can change - significantly contribute to this increased risk of death, found researchers led by Amy Kilbourne, Ph.D. They looked at results from the 1999 Large Health Survey of Veteran Enrollees in conjunction with the VA's National Psychosis Registry and the National Death Index of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Including responses from more than 147, 000 veterans, the study is the largest of its kind to ever take place. Most of the respondents were men and about two-thirds were 50 or older. Kilbourne, associate director of the VA Ann Arbor National Serious Mental Illness Treatment Research and Evaluation Center in Michigan, and colleagues from Dartmouth Medical School conducted the study, which appears in the November-December issue of the journal General Hospital Psychiatry.
A nationwide study found that suicide rates for HIV patients in Switzerland decreased by more than half, after 1996 when the highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) was introduced. Despite the dramatic decrease, the suicide rate among HIV-infected individuals still significantly exceeded that of the general population. The study also showed that the majority of HIV patients who died by suicide (62%) had a mental illness diagnosis. The findings from this nationwide Swiss study by Olivia Keiser, Ph.D., and colleagues from the University of Bern will appear on December 15 at AJP in Advance, the online advance edition of The American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP), the official journal of the American Psychiatric Association. Keiser et al. found that the reduction in suicide risk after the introduction of retroviral therapy was associated with an increase in CD4 white blood cells, indicating an improvement in HIV disease status. In the pre-HAART era, high suicide rates were driven by disease progression, which at that time could not be prevented.
Chronic pain patients with a history of depression are three times more likely to receive long-term prescriptions for opioid medications like Vicodin compared to pain patients who do not suffer from depression, according to new research. The study, published in the November-December issue of the journal General Hospital Psychiatry, analyzed the medical records of tens of thousands of patients enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente and Group Health plans between 1997 and 2005. Together, the insurers cover about 1 percent of the U.S. population. Long-term opioid use was defined as a patient receiving a prescription for 90 days or longer. "It's very widespread, " said Mark Sullivan, M.D., a study co-author and professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington. "It's a cause for concern because depressed patients are excluded from virtually all controlled trials of opioids as a high risk group [for addiction], so the database on which clinical practice rests doesn't include depressed patients.
NPR profiles retired General Eric Shinseki, the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and his efforts to measure the scope of veterans' mental health issues. In his first nine months in this position, he "has spent hours just listening to veterans talk. Shinseki tells NPR's Steve Inskeep that he feels a strong obligation to 'give back' to the men and women he once served with." NPR reports on the task Shinseki faces: "Since 2001, more than 1 million new veterans have come into a system that is being stretched thin." One of Shinseki's missions to improve the care and resources available to these vets is to work with the Department of Defense to "create a computer-driven system that will track service personnel through their careers - including when they become veterans. The idea, he said, is to use automatic enrollment to create VA health records for service members when they join the military. 'So when the uniform comes off, we have all the evidence we need to make faster, better, smarter adjudications, ' Shinseki said" (Inskeep, 11/13).
An international study of more than 17, 000 people with schizophrenia has found striking similarities in symptoms, medication, employment and sexual problems, despite the fact that it covered a diverse range of patients and healthcare systems in 37 different countries. The research, published in the November issue of IJCP, provides a valuable international profile of the mental health disorder, which is estimated to affect as many as one in every 250 people at some point in their lives. Schizophrenia is the fifth leading cause of years lost through disability in men and the sixth leading cause in women. "The Worldwide-Schizophrenia Outpatient Health Outcomes study (W-SOHO) was a three-year observational study designed to assess costs and outcomes in outpatients using antipsychotics" says lead author Dr Jamie Karagianis from Eli Lilly Canada Inc. "It has enabled us to build up a valuable international picture of the demographics and treatment of schizophrenia across ten European countries and 27 countries from East Asia, Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East.
The results of the 2009 Pfizer Health Index announced at the Royal College of Physicians Ireland reveal that the recently unemployed are four times more likely to claim to have depression than the general population. There is also evidence that the recession is leading to anxiety over money, is bad for self-esteem and is leading to relationship tension. The greatest impact of the recession is apparent among those between the ages of 25 and 50, who are parents and who live in urban areas. The Pfizer Health Index, now in its fourth year, details the findings of a nationally representative quantitative market research survey of the health and wellbeing of the Irish population. This year the study also looks at the impact of the recession on people's lives, with particular focus of those who had been recently unemployed. Roughly half of the adult population claim that they are finding it hard to make ends meet and similar numbers are shopping in cheaper retail outlets and socialising less.
On the day that the consultation period for the Government's Green Paper on adult social care closes, mental health charity Mind has expressed its concerns that the Paper does not address the needs of adults with mental health problems, instead skewing the debate towards older people. Chief Executive Paul Farmer said: "Social care services are used by people of all ages with a wide range of needs, and we are concerned that the social care Green Paper is an Older People's paper, which is largely silent on how to meet the needs of people with mental health problems. Quality care services can help people with mental distress manage their day to day lives, keep people well and prevent crises, but too often these needs are denied. Just like the National Health Service, any new 'national care service' must reflect the needs of all of its clients. Providing good care makes economic sense, as well as being a moral imperative. "The Government is proposing that social care will be partly funded from the patient's pocket.
" Mental Health America is pleased to endorse the nomination of Chai Feldblum to serve as a commissioner on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Professor Feldblum, who is Director of the Georgetown University Law Center's Federal Legislation and Administrative Law Clinic, has been instrumental to enactment of critically important legislation addressing the needs and concerns of individuals with disabilities, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and more recently the ADA Amendments Act. "She has demonstrated an invaluable ability to collaborate with a wide range of groups representing very diverse points of view, including organizations representing people with different disabilities, business leaders, and other stakeholders. Her work on the ADA Amendments Act amply demonstrated her skill in this regard as illustrated by the fact that Congress passed this legislation with broad bipartisan support. "She has tremendous knowledge and insight into the legislative and regulatory process that will allow her to be an extremely effective EEOC Commissioner, particularly as the EEOC develops regulations implementing the ADA Amendments Act.
Otsuka Pharmaceutical Europe Ltd Withdraws Its Application For An Extension Of Indication For Abilify aripiprazole , Europe
The European Medicines Agency has been formally notified by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Europe Ltd of its decision to withdraw its application for an extension of indication for the centrally authorised medicine Abilify (aripiprazole) tablets, orodispersible tablets and oral solution. Abilify was expected to be used in the treatment of major depressive episodes, as adjunctive therapy, in patients who have had an inadequate response to previous treatment with antidepressants. Abilify was first authorised in the European Union on 4 June 2004. It is currently indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia and for the treatment and prevention of manic episodes in bipolar I disorder. The application for the extension of indication for Abilify was submitted to the Agency on 11 December 2008. The company stated in its official letter that the withdrawal was based on the CHMP's consideration that the long-term data provided in support of the proposed indication were insufficient, as long-term randomised controlled data are needed before this indication can be licensed.
Patients coping with the chaos and misery of Borderline Personality Disorder now have reason for strong confidence in making major life changes through a new treatment, Schema Therapy. For the first time, three major outcome studies have shown that many patients with Borderline Personality Disorder can achieve full recovery across the complete range of symptoms. In one study Schema Therapy was shown to be more than twice as effective in bringing about full recovery as a widely-practiced traditional treatment (Transference Focused Psychotherapy). Schema Therapy was also found to be more cost-effective and to have a much lower dropout rate. In a second study group schema therapy led to even stronger outcomes than those in the previous investigation over a briefer period with a 0% drop out rate and a recovery rate of 94% over an 8 month period. A third study, now in press, shows that individual Schema Therapy can be successfully implemented in regular mental health care settings with no loss of effectiveness.