New Antipsychotic Drug Asenapine Saphris Helps Prevent Relapse In People With Schizophrenia; Phase III Data Presented At ECNP
Schizophrenia is a difficult condition for patients and their families to manage. Relapse is a frequent occurrence, particularly if patients decide to discontinue antipsychotic drug treatment because of unwanted side effects. Psychiatrists say over half of patients relapse within two years and over 80 per cent within five years. Relapse is five times more likely to occur among patients who stop their treatment. Now a phase III study investigating safety and efficacy of a new drug, soon to be available in the US, has shown the risk of relapse in patients getting the treatment over a period of one year compared to those receiving no treatment was reduced by around 75 per cent.
Scientists now have a better understanding of a perplexing gene that is associated with susceptibility for a wide spectrum of severely debilitating mental illnesses. Two independent research studies published by Cell Press in the September 24th issue of the journal Neuron provide fascinating insight into the molecular mechanisms that link disrupted-in-schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) with the proper development and migration of neurons in the hippocampus, a brain area involved in learning and memory and associated with the pathology of schizophrenia. Previous work established a key role for DISC1 in the process of neurogenesis, which occurs constitutively throughout life in a part of the hippocampus called the dentate gyrus.
The finding suggests that a single gene, called GSK-3, controls the signals that determine how many neurons actually end up composing the brain. This has important implications for patients with neuropsychiatric illness, as links have recently been drawn between GSK-3 and schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder. In populating the growing brain, neural stem cells must strike a delicate balance between two key processes - proliferation, in which the cells multiply to provide plenty of starting materials - and differentiation, in which those materials evolve into functioning neurons. If the stem cells proliferate too much, they could grow out of control and produce a tumor.
New Findings Of Autism-Associated Synapse Alterations Lead To Coveted NIH Grant For Stanford Scientist
A Stanford University School of Medicine researcher has pinpointed the mechanism by which a gene associated with both autism and schizophrenia influences behavior in mice. And just recently, he received a $1.65 million government grant to expand his efforts to include many more such genes. In a study published online on Oct. 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team led by Thomas Sudhof, MD, the Avram Goldstein Professor in the School of Medicine and professor of molecular and cellular physiology, characterized key neurophysiological changes wrought by the deletion of a particular gene in bioengineered mice. The team further identified behavioral changes in the mice that are similar to some symptoms of autism and schizophrenia.
Fear Of Mentally Ill Is Misplaced: Stranger Homicide By People With Schizophrenia Is Rare And Unpredictable
International study led by Sydney researchers shows homicides of strangers by people with schizophrenia are exceptionally rare and unpredictable events A study initiated by a team of Sydney researchers published in the leading schizophrenia journal, Schizophrenia Bulletin, shows that homicides of strangers by people diagnosed with schizophrenia are exceptionally rare events. The study is one of a series of studies of homicide by the mentally ill by two senior lecturers in psychiatry at the University of New South Wales, Dr Olav Nielssen at St Vincents Hospital and Dr Matthew Large at Prince of Wales. This study is an international collaboration with researchers in Canada, Finland and the Netherlands.
Case Western Reserve University Researchers Receive 1.25 Million From National Institutes Of Mental Health To Study Schizophrenia
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has received $1.25 million from the National Institutes of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health, to study schizophrenia from an interdisciplinary standpoint. The grant, to be funded over four years, includes three project investigators from three different practice areas. The scientists, Paul Tesar, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Genetics and Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, responsible for the stem cell portion; Robert Miller, PhD, Vice Dean for Research and the Allen C. Holmes Professor of Neurological Diseases, responsible for the neural portion;