Scientific News


The following is a link to an article on the off label uses of psychiatric medications.  It is directed towards an audience of forensic experts but does give a good background in some recent changes in prescribing practices.

Off Label Article

The following is an article on how inappropriate drug prescriptions are wasting millions in medicaid dollars and unnecessarily risking the health of the patients.

Science Daily Article

The following is an article from Johns Hopkins about a study showing that one particular gene seems to be associated with the symptom of delusions.  It also gives a summary of the problems with trying to find the genetic causes of schizophrenia.

JH Article

The following is an article from BP magazine on the subject of the high mortality that is associated with Bipolar Disorder.  It also discusses some of the reasons why the rate is so high.

BP Mortality Article

The following is an article from BP Magazine on the Treatment Emergent Mania And Antidepressants.  For those who aren’t familiar with it this magazine is a quarterly publication that I highly recommend.  A single subscription costs about $20 per year and bulk rates are also available. 

BP Article

Internet Program Helps Prevent Depression In Teens; following is the link to the story on a recent research project.

Project Article

The following is an article on conditions in Florida’s Miami-Dade county jail and the general problem with mentally ill inmates in Florida.  There is also a short video showing the notorious ninth floor of the jail with some comments from people on conditions there.  Please remember that this video could not show the true horror of conditions there. 


It appears that taking any antipsychotic whether typical or atypical increases the risk of sudden cardiac death.


following is an article on antipsychotics used in treating children.  It is very informative on the subject of old versus new antipsychotics.  As is becoming very clear all antipsychotics have drawbacks and there is no good answer to the question of which antipsychotic will be best for a given child.

Brain imaging scans showing the differences in default network activity in schizophrenics versus controls and first degree relatives of schizophrenics.



Quetiapine XR was shown to help in schizophrenics with depression in this study.  They were switched to it from other antipsychotics.  Two caveats are important to note in this study.  The write up does not indicate what the previous antipsychotic was.   Also this study was funded by the pharmaceutical company that makes Quetiapine XR also known as Seroquel.   Click Here to view article.

Submitted by DH

NIMH Updates

NIMH: Study Probes Environment-Triggered Genetic Changes in Schizophrenia—Life’s Hard Knocks Can Leave Marks That Turn Genes On and Off

The first study of its kind to pinpoint environment-triggered genetic changes in schizophrenia has been launched with $9.8 million in funding from NIMH. The five-site study seeks telltale marks in the genome that hold clues to how nurture interacts with nature to produce the illness. These "epigenetic" changes that occur with aging and other environmental influences regulate the turning on and off of the genes we inherit, with pivotal consequences for health. Thus, if one identical twin develops schizophrenia, the other twin is similarly affected in only about half of cases, despite the fact that they share the same genes and the illness is estimated to be 80 to 90 percent heritable. Evidence suggests that epigenetic differences may account for the discrepancy.

Science Update:


NIDA Releases a New Research Report on Comorbidity of Addiction and other Mental Illnesses

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) released a research report, Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Illnesses, summarizing the state of the science regarding the complex relationship between substance abuse and other mental disorders.

Press Release:



Drug Abusing Offenders Not Getting Treatment They Need in Criminal Justice System—
Treating Inmates Has Proven Public Health, Safety and Economic Benefits

The vast majority of prisoners who could benefit from drug abuse treatment do not receive it, despite two decades of research that demonstrate its effectiveness, according to researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health. In a report published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, NIDA scientists note that about half of all prisoners (including some sentenced to non-drug-related offenses) are dependent on drugs, yet less than 20 percent of inmates suffering from drug abuse or dependence receive formal treatment.

Press Release:

SAMHSA: Nationwide Report Reveals That More Than 1 in Every 10 Adults Experienced Serious Psychological Distress in the Past Year—Report shows that less than half of those with serious psychological distress received mental health services

An estimated 24.3 million people aged 18 years or older experienced serious psychological distress in the past year – and only 44.6 percent of them received any kind of mental health services, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Serious psychological distress is an overall indicator of past-year mental health problems such as anxiety and/or mood disorders. The report also highlights significant differences in the levels of serious psychological distress suffered among various demographic groups, as well as considerable differences in the level of mental health services they received.

Press Release:



The November/December issue of SAMHSA News focuses on new parity law.

Spirit of SA Jan. 7, 2009

Spirit of SA Report from the desk of Jim C

Jan 7th, 2009