NIDA Study Reveals Widespread Effects of Cocaine on Genome Structure and Function

Repeated use of addictive drugs such as cocaine causes long-lasting changes in parts of the brain involved in motivation and reward, among others, yet the precise mechanisms by which these changes are maintained are poorly understood. A new study by scientists supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), published May 14, 2009 in the journal Neuron, sheds light on this process by providing fundamental new insights into the effects of cocaine on the structure and function of the genome, the complete set of DNA instructions needed to make an organism. Scientists see vast clinical potential of these newly identified gene targets.  

Press Release

Flow of Potassium Into Cells Implicated in Schizophrenia—Blocking Errant Protein Could Stem Runaway Brain Activity in Psychosis

A study on schizophrenia has implicated machinery that maintains the flow of potassium in cells and revealed a potential molecular target for new treatments. Expression of a previously unknown form of a key such potassium channel was found to be 2.5 fold higher than normal in the brain memory hub of people with the chronic mental illness and linked to a hotspot of genetic variation. An extensive series of experiments suggests that selectively inhibiting this suspect form could help correct disorganized brain activity in schizophrenia — without risk of cardiac side effects associated with some existing antipsychotic medications. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health and European colleagues report on threads of converging evidence in the May 2009 issue of the journal Nature Medicine.


Science Update

Articles of Interest continued…

  • Following is an article discussing recent research on comorbid OCD and schizophrenia.  It comes from Psychiatric Times and is somewhat technical.

Comorbidity:  Schizophrenia And OCD

  • Below is a link to a news article on a study showing that mothers who took valproate during their pregnancy had children with lower IQ.  Valproate is better known as Depakote.  It is an epilepsy medication also used as a mood stabilizer in psychiatric patients.

Children Born To Women Taking Valproate Have Lower IQ

  • Some new research from Vanderbilt holds promise.

Possible New Treatment For Cognitive Deficits In Schizophrenia

  • Some new insights into how lithium works to control bipolar.

Lithium And The Brain

  • Following is an article from the New York Times on combating stigma.  The author puts a slightly different twist on how to overcome stigma than the usual methods. 

A Different Look At Fighting Stigma

  • Following is the article:

Inducing Gamma Brain Waves In Mice To Study Brain Functions

Submitted by: Darrell H.

Articles of Interest continued…

  • Following is a link to the study write up on the British Cutlass study.  This study came out in 2006 shortly after the CATIE study funded by the US.  It also (as in the CATIE study) found that new antipsychotics were not any better at treating schizophrenia than old antipsychotics.  While the CATIE study got a lot of press here in the US the Cutlass study did not.  I happened across this link to the Cutlass study tonight and thought others might be interested in it.  I had not previously seen the actual write up on the Cutlass study.  It is interesting to note that the British researchers expected to see a significantly better outcome with new antipsychotics than old antipsychotics.

Results Of British Study Of Old Antipsychotics Versus New Antipsychotics

  • Following is an article on the life of R. D. Laing.  He was a prominent psychiatrist in the 1960’s and is still a favorite reference for antipsychiatrists.   The article is interesting reading and is an important contribution to the history of psychiatry.  The article is somewhat lengthy.

The Life Of R. D. Laing

  • Following is a short article on what is sometimes a serious problem with support groups on the internet.  My favorite web site is currently dealing with what seems to be a case of this.  One of the posters on that site sent me this URL on the problem.

Munchausen By Internet: Faking Illness Online


  • Following article is on how some mental health professionals incorporate yoga into their sessions.  It comes from Time Magazine.

Psychotherapy Goes From The Couch To The Yoga Mat

  • The following article gives a brief look at some of the issues and legal implications of off-label prescriptions.  This article comes from Psychiatric Times.  Off-Label prescriptions are particularly common in psychiatry.  This article is recommended reading for psychiatrists.

Off-Label Prescribing Issues And Legal Concerns For Prescribers

Submitted By: Darrell H.

Articles of Interest continued…

  • Following is a good article on the latest news from epigenetic research.  Epigenetics is the developing science of how genes are expressed.  It also explains why identical twins are not exactly identical.  This is a long article but very informative.  Note the picture of two genetically identical mice who look entirely different due to epigenetics.

Good Look At Latest Research On Epigenetics


  • Following is an interesting article on new genetics research. 

Altered Gene Increases Risk Of Schizophrenia

Altered Genes Risk 

  • Following is an article on mapping the connections between nerve cells in the brain.

Mapping The Neural Circuitry In The Brain

  • Following is a recent article on the subject but note that there are still no clear answers to treatment of Bipolar Patients with Antidepressants.

When To Avoid Antidepressants In Bipolar Patients

  • Following is an article on recent research in genetics.  It turns out the mapping of the human genome project may not have been an accurate depiction of our genetics.

How Genetically Different Are We From Each Other?



Submitted by: Darrell H.



Articles of Interest

  • Following is the link to the article on research done in Spain.

New Research On Linkage Between Smoking Marijuana And Psychosis

Marijuana and Psychosis

  • Following is an article on use of atypical anti-psychotics in small children. This article discusses a recent change to Medicaid rules in Florida.

Approval Process Reduces Atypical Anti-psychotic Use in Small Children

Process Reduces Atypical Antipsychotic

  • Following is a link to a news article.

Modafinal Reduces Weight Gain Associated With Atypical Antipsychotic

Modafinal Reduces Weight Gain

  • Following is a link to the article:

Brain Changes Appear To Increase Risk Of Depression

Brain Changes Increase Depression Risk

  • Following is a link to the article:

New Research On Auditory Hallucinations In Schizophrenia

Auditory Hallucinations Research


Submitted by: Darrell H.