New data from a 6-month open label randomised controlled trial show INVEGA® (paliperidone ER) is associated with significantly less metabolic effects compared to oral olanzapine in people with schizophrenia, while demonstrating comparable efficacy.1 The results were presented at the 15th Biennial Winter Workshop in Psychoses in Barcelona, Spain. Metabolic side effects, including changes in serum lipid levels, glucose levels and weight gain, are a recognised effect of treatment with atypical antipsychotics, and can increase the risk of developing longer-term chronic health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.2 The primary endpoint of the study was the change over 6 months in the triglyceride to high density lipoprotein ratio (TG:HDL), a sensitive marker for insulin resistance in non-diabetic patients.
Schizophrenia is one of the more costly diseases to manage in OECD countries and affects up to 1 per cent of the world's population. And as a chronic and often severe neurodevelopmental disorder it accrues neurobiological, social and psychological deficits, and results in premature death after years of disability. A special presentation at this year's Pharmacy Australia Congress will examine up-todate thinking regarding the targets of pharmacotherapuetic intervention, within the multidimensional incomplete recovery framework. Presented by Professor Tim Lambert, Professor of Psychological Medicine at Concord Clinical School at The University of Sydney in Australia, the presentation will also delve into the forms of current therapy (drug classes, putative mechanisms), developments in formulation (oral, dissolvable, LAIs), and briefly present elements of future pharmacotherapeutic treatments that are in development.
In the first functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study of its kind, neurologists and psychiatrists at Columbia University have identified an area of the brain involved in the earliest stages of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders. Activity in this specific region of the hippocampus may help predict the onset of the disease, offering opportunities for earlier diagnosis and for the development of drugs for schizophrenia prevention. Details of the findings were published in the September 7, 2009, issue of Archives of General Psychiatry. In the study, the researchers scanned the brains of 18 high-risk individuals with "prodromal" symptoms, and followed them for two years.
Similar submicroscopic variations and rearrangements appear in the genetic material of individuals with schizophrenia, autism and mental retardation, suggesting that the three disorders may share a developmental pathway, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. New technologies to compare genomes have enabled researchers to detect genetic alterations known as copy number variations-deletions or duplications that change the number of copies of specific DNA segments, according to background information in the article. "Recently, this approach has been widely used in neurologic and psychiatric disorders, including mental retardation, autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia, " the authors write.
Many human diseases - including Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, cancer, and cardiovascular disease - are caused by multiple genetic variants and the interaction of those variants with the environment. Because such diseases lack a clear-cut inheritance pattern, sophisticated technological approaches and statistical analyses are required to determine their underlying cause. These approaches and their theoretical basis are the subject of a new book published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Genetics of Complex Human Diseases: A Laboratory Manual. The book is edited by Ammar Al-Chalabi (MRC Centre for Neurodegeneration Research, King's College London) and Laura Almasy (Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, Texas), the lead instructors of the Genetics of Complex Human Diseases course, which is held every other year at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Schizophrenia: 22nd Congress Of The European College Of Neuropsychopharmacology, Sept. 14, 2009, Istanbul, Turkey
Schizophrenia is a major public health problem. Affecting almost 1% of the world's population, it takes an enormous economic and social toll in addition to the distress, dysfunction, disability and mortality for those afflicted with this disease. Elements of the disease are present from birth, other aspects emerge during developmental years, and the illness becomes fully expressed in early adulthood with long-lasting implications for most patients. Schizophrenia, which is seen as the paradigmatic psychiatric illness, presents different symptoms in multiple domains, whereby positive and negative phenomena can be separated (Falkai et al.