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July 2, 2007, 11:10 AM CT

Violence in schizophrenia patients

Violence in schizophrenia patients
Some people with schizophrenia who become violent may do so for reasons uncorrelation to their current illness, as per a new study analyzing data from the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials for Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE). CATIE was funded by the National Institutes of Healths National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The study was published online on June 30, 2007, in the journal Law and Human Behavior.

Most people with schizophrenia are not violent, said NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D. But this study indicates that the likelihood of violence is higher among people with schizophrenia who also have a history of other disorders, namely childhood conduct problems.

Using data from 1,445 CATIE participants, Jeffrey Swanson, Ph.D., of Duke University, and his colleagues examined the relationship between childhood antisocial behavior, including conduct disorder symptoms, and adult violence among people with schizophrenia. The overall percentage of participants who committed acts of violence was 19 percent. Those with a history of childhood conduct problems reported violence twice as frequently (28 percent) as those without conduct problems (14 percent). In both groups, violence was more likely among those who were unemployed or underemployed, living with family or in restrictive settings (such as a halfway house or hospital), been recently arrested, or involved with the police.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 29, 2007, 5:02 AM CT

Therapeutic value of meditation unproven

Therapeutic value of meditation unproven
There is an enormous amount of interest in using meditation as a form of treatment to cope with a variety of modern-day health problems, particularly hypertension, stress and chronic pain, but the majority of evidence that seems to support this notion is anecdotal, or it comes from poor quality studies, say Maria Ospina and Kenneth Bond, scientists at the University of Alberta/Capital Health Evidence-based Practice Center in Edmonton, Canada.

In compiling their report, Ospina, Bond and their fellow scientists analyzed a mountain of medical and psychological literature813 studies in alllooking at the impact of meditation on conditions such as hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and substance abuse.

They found some evidence that certain types of meditation reduce blood pressure and stress in clinical populations. Among healthy individuals, practices such as Yoga seemed to increase verbal creativity and reduce heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol. Typically however, ospina says no firm conclusions on the effects of meditation practices in health care can be drawn based on the available evidence because the existing scientific research is characterized by poor methodological quality and does not appear to have a common theoretical perspective.

Future research on meditation practices must be more rigorous in the design and execution of studies and in the analysis and reporting of results, Ospina explains.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 28, 2007, 11:55 PM CT

Researchers identify alcoholism subtypes

Researchers identify alcoholism subtypes
Analyses of a national sample of individuals with alcohol dependence (alcoholism) reveal five distinct subtypes of the disease, as per a new study by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Our findings should help dispel the popular notion of the typical alcoholic, notes first author Howard B. Moss, M.D., NIAAA Associate Director for Clinical and Translational Research. We find that young adults comprise the largest group of alcoholics in this country, and nearly 20 percent of alcoholics are highly functional and well-educated with good incomes. More than half of the alcoholics in the United States have no multigenerational family history of the disease, suggesting that their form of alcoholism was unlikely to have genetic causes.

Clinicians have long recognized diverse manifestations of alcoholism, adds NIAAA Director Ting-Kai Li, M.D, and scientists have tried to understand why some alcoholics improve with specific medications and psychotherapies while others do not. The classification system described in this study will have broad application in both clinical and research settings. A report of the study is now available online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 27, 2007, 6:40 PM CT

Second-hand Smoke Causes Psychological Problems For Kids

Second-hand Smoke Causes Psychological Problems For Kids
Children whose mothers were exposed to second-hand smoke while they were pregnant have more symptoms of serious psychological problems compared to the offspring of women who had no prenatal exposure to smoke, according to a new University of Washington study.

Writing in the current issue of Child Psychiatry and Human Development, UW psychologists Lisa Gatzke-Kopp and Theodore Beauchaine provide the first evidence linking mothers second-hand smoke exposure while pregnant to their childrens attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and conduct disorder. Psychologists call these behaviors externalizing psychopathology and their symptoms include aggressive behavior, ADHD, defiance and conduct disorder, which encompasses truancy, fighting, school failure, breaking rules, substance use, stealing and destruction of property.

The research also supports a 2006 report by the U.S. Surgeon General that found passive smoke exposure poses a substantial risk to the general health of those who breathe the smoke, as well as to the fetuses of pregnant women.

Gatzke-Kopp and Beauchaine compared patterns psychopathology among three groups of 7- to 15-year-old children, all of whom had significant behavioral and/or emotional problems. One group experienced no prenatal smoke exposure. The second was made up of children whose mothers smoked during the final two trimesters of pregnancy. The third consisted of children whose mothers were exposed to second-hand smoke at work or in the home in the last two trimesters during pregnancy. A total of 171 children, primarily boys, and 133 women participated in the project.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 27, 2007, 5:35 AM CT

Adding folic acid to bread

Adding folic acid to bread
A unique study by scientists at the University of York and Hull York Medical School has confirmed a link between depression and low levels of folate, a vitamin which comes from vegetables.

In research reported in the July edition of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the York team led by Dr Simon Gilbody, concluded that there was a link between depression and low folate levels, following a review of 11 prior studies involving 15,315 participants.

Last month, the Food Standards Agency recommended to UK Health Ministers the introduction of required fortification of either bread or flour with folic acid to prevent neural tube defects, which can result in miscarriage, neonatal death or lifelong disability. The York study suggests that the measure may also help in the fight against depression.

Dr Gilbody said: "Our study is unique in that for the first time all the relevant evidence in this controversial area has been brought together. Eventhough the research does not prove that low folate causes depression, we can now be sure that the two are linked. Interestingly, there is also some trial evidence that suggests folic acid supplements can benefit people with depression. We recommend that large trials should be carried out to further test this suggestion."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 25, 2007, 9:22 PM CT

Antidepressants Associated With Lower Bone Density

Antidepressants Associated With Lower Bone Density
The class of antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may be linked to an increased rate of bone loss in older men and women, as per two articles in the June 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) treat depression by inhibiting the protein that transports serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in sleep and depression, as per background information in the articles. This protein has recently been discovered in bone as well, raising the possibility that SSRIs may affect bone density and the risk of fracture. SSRIs account for about 62 percent of antidepressant prescriptions in the United States, and are often prescribed to the elderly.

Susan J. Diem, M.D., M.P.H., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and his colleagues studied 2,722 older women (average age 78.5 years) beginning in 1997 through 1999. At that time and again an average of 4.9 years later, scientists measured womens total hip bone density and also that of two subregions. At each visit, the participants were asked to bring in all the medications they had used within the past two weeks, including SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants, which work through a different mechanism.

A total of 198 (7.3 percent) of the women were SSRI users, 118 (4.3 percent) took tricyclic antidepressants and 2,406 (88.4 percent) took neither (those who took both were not included in the analysis). After the scientists adjusted for other factors affecting bone density and antidepressant use, including depression severity and calcium supplement use, bone mineral density at the hip decreased 0.82 percent in SSRI users. This compared with a decrease of 0.47 percent among those who used tricyclic antidepressants and also in those who did not take any antidepressants. Higher rates of bone loss were also observed at the two hip subregions among SSRI users.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 25, 2007, 7:22 PM CT

Improved Attention With Mindfulness Training

Improved Attention With Mindfulness Training
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania say that practicing even small doses of daily meditation may improve focus and performance.

Meditation, as per Penn neuroscientist Amishi Jha and Michael Baime, director of Penn's Stress Management Program, is an active and effortful process that literally changes the way the brain works. Their study is the first to examine how meditation may modify the three subcomponents of attention, including the ability to prioritize and manage tasks and goals, the ability to voluntarily focus on specific information and the ability to stay alert to the environment.

In the Penn study, subjects were split into two categories. Those new to meditation, or "mindfulness training," took part in an eight-week course that included up to 30 minutes of daily meditation. The second group was more experienced with meditation and attended an intensive full-time, one-month retreat.

Scientists observed that even for those new to the practice, meditation enhanced performance and the ability to focus attention. Performance-based measures of cognitive function demonstrated improvements in a matter of weeks. The study, would be reported in the journal Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, suggests a new, non-medical means for improving focus and cognitive ability among disparate populations and has implications for workplace performance and learning.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 20, 2007, 8:36 AM CT

Identifying Potentially Violent Individuals

Identifying Potentially Violent Individuals
A researcher who spent nearly 300 hours observing patients in an accident and emergency department has developed a method for identifying possible flashpoints, as per the latest Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Lauretta Luck, who carried out her research at the University of Western Sydney, Australia, points out that the STAMP violence assessment framework could have much wider applications than just hospitals.

STAMP - which stands for Staring and eye contact, Tone and volume of voice, Anxiety, Mumbling and Pacing could be used by any professionals in potentially violent situations, such as law enforcement and social services.

The five-month research project was carried out in a 33-bedded emergency department in a public hospital serving a large rural, remote and metropolitan community in Australia.

It serves a multi-cultural community, which includes a high number of tourists and seasonal workers as well as a large metropolitan population.

Luck carried out 290 hours of observation and interviewed 20 Registered Nurses who agreed to take part in the study.

During my time in the department there were 16 violent episodes aimed at staff taking part in the study says Luck. Because I was on the spot I was able to obtain feedback from them while the event was still fresh in their minds. They were able to tell me how they perceived the event and how they tried to handle it.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 20, 2007, 8:18 AM CT

When it comes to delinquency boys

When it comes to delinquency boys
Scientists trying to understand why high school-age boys are involved in serious delinquency more often than girls have observed that males are exposed to higher levels of risk factors and lower amounts of protective factors.

A new study of more than 7,800 high school sophomores from 40 suburban and rural communities in seven states examined 22 risk and protective factors linked to serious delinquency. It observed that boys reported higher levels of risk and lower levels of protection for 18 of the factors than did girls. In addition, boys were twice as likely to engage in seven of the eight serious delinquent behaviors that were measured.

"Boys come into contact with risk factors in their families, school, peers and in their personal attributes more frequently and are sometimes influenced by them more strongly than are girls," said Abigail Fagan, lead author of the study and an intervention specialist with the University of Washington's Social Development Research Group.

All of the risk and protective factors examined were significantly correlation to serious delinquency for both boys and girls, as per Fagan.

The students in the study came from communities with populations ranging from 1,600 to 106,000 in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Slightly more than half of the students were girls, and 79 percent were white.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 13, 2007, 8:09 AM CT

Going to bed late may affect the health

Going to bed late may affect the health
College students who go to bed late are more likely to have poor quality sleep, which may affect their mental health and academic performance, as per a research abstract that will be presented Wednesday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

The study, conducted by Jung Kim, PhD, of Pohang University of Science in Technology in South Korea, was based on a survey of 399 college students in Korea.

"The present study shows that the greater one stayed up at night, the more maladjusted in college life, in terms of global mental health, sleep quality and academic performance," said Kim. "It seems important to give relevant information and helpful guidance on good sleep habits to students from the beginning of college life".

The amount of sleep a person gets affects his or her physical health, emotional well-being, mental abilities, productivity and performance. Recent studies associate lack of sleep with serious health problems such as an increased risk of depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Experts recommend that adults get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night to maintain good health and optimum performance.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Too little evidence exists to recommend or rule out estrogen as a treatment for schizophrenia in women, a new review of studies finds.People diagnosed with schizophrenia suffer distorted perceptions of reality and hallucinations. Today, estrogen is strictly an experimental therapy for the psychotic symptoms associated with the mental illness.

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