Sixth World Conference on the Promotion of Mental Health and Prevention of Mental and Behavioral Disorders: Addressing Imbalances: Promoting Equity in Mental Health

Call for Abstracts deadline: April 30, 2010
November 17–19, 2010, Washington, DC
The conference sponsored by a number of agencies including SAMHSA and CDC, will address the mental health of people, in both rich and poor countries, and its importance for overall well-being. It offers a unique opportunity for researchers, public health practitioners, activists, educators, law enforcement personnel and others to come together to share findings, ideas and innovations.

Submitted by SARDAA

Application Period Opens for SAMHSA’s Campaign for Mental Health Recovery Awards

Each year, SAMHSA provides the Campaign for Mental Health Recovery (CMHR) State Awards, which fund selected consumer-run organizations across the United States to promote the CMHR on the State and local levels. These awards provide support for community-based efforts to promote recovery and to counter negative perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs associated with mental health problems. This year, SAMHSA will award six $20,000 grants for statewide and community-based efforts that promote and expand the What a Difference a Friend Makes campaign. Application Deadline: June 7, 2010

Submitted by SARDAA

Researchers Discover Genetic Mutations Associated with Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder

Researchers recently broke new ground in finding the genetic causes of mental illness, identifying a specific region in the genome associated with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism.

An international team, led by geneticist Jonathan Sebat, Ph.D., of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, has discovered a mutation on human chromosome 16 that is a potent risk factor.

“This type of genetic variation is called copy number variation,” Sebat explains. “It means that instead of having differences in sequence, you have a deletion or a duplication of a whole gene or genomic region. It’s not a mutation; it’s extra copies of a gene. So the dosage of the gene changes, rather than the sequence.”

Specifically, Sebat and his team found that a duplication in copy number variation predisposes someone to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder – and a decrease in CNV is associated with autism.

By Cynthia Blair

Submitted by Anna

Studies in Mice Lead to Better Understanding and Treatment of Schizophrenia

(Great Neck, NY – February 1, 2010) — Researchers at Medical College of Georgia have created what appears to be a mouse with schizophrenia by reducing the inhibition of brain cells involved in complex reasoning and decisions about appropriate social behavior.

Reported by NARSAD

Submitted by Anna

NARSAD-Funded Imaging Study Shows Positive Improvement in Treatment of Cognitive Impairment in Schizophrenia

(Great Neck, N.Y. – April, 02, 2010) — Top line results of an imaging study funded by NARSAD (National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression) and Allon Therapeutics showed that 12-week treatment with davunetide, a neuroprotective drug candidate developed by Allon, resulted in a statistically significant increase in levels of a biomarker that is an important indicator of brain cell health………

This study was adapted from Allon Therapeutics Inc.

Reported by NARSAD

Submitted by Anna

Mouse Model May Provide Insight Into the Schizophrenic Brain

Schizophrenia is an incredibly complex and profoundly debilitating disorder that typically manifests in early adulthood but is thought to arise, at least in part, from pathological disturbances occurring during very early brain development. Now, a new study published by Cell Press in the February 25 issue of the journal Neuron, manipulates a known schizophrenia susceptibility gene in the brains of fetal mice to begin to unravel the complex link between prenatal brain development and maturation of information processing and cognition in adult animals.

Science Daily

Submitted by Anna

Symptoms in Mice Lacking a Single Receptor Type Mimic the Development of Schizophrenia

Deleting one type of neurotransmitter receptor in a specific population of brain cells can induce schizophrenia-like behavior in mice, but only when the receptor is deleted early in development, according to a study by NIMH intramural scientists. The work provides strong support for previous observations implicating these receptors in psychosis; further, the mice provide a model of how psychotic symptoms can arise from a disruption in neuronal development, consistent with observations of how schizophrenia emerges in humans.

Submitted by Anna

Rates of Metabolic Screening Remain Low in Children Taking Antipsychotics

April 8, 2010 — Most children prescribed second-generation antipsychotic (SGA) drug therapy do not undergo
recommended blood glucose and lipid screening tests, according to results of a retrospective, new-user cohort study
published in the April issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
“The findings in children are particularly noteworthy to clinicians,” first author Elaine H. Morrato, DrPH, MPH, of
University of Colorado at Denver in Aurora, told Medscape Psychiatry.

By Megan Brooks
Medscape Medical News

Submitted SARDAA

Evidence Accumulates for Links Between Marijuana and Psychosis

A number of studies in recent years have revealed complex links between marijuana use and psychotic symptoms and diagnosable psychotic disorders like schizophrenia. Although a thorough review of this broad literature is beyond the purview of this brief communication, two avenues of research will be succinctly summarized, pertaining to (1) associations between cannabis use and clinical manifestations of psychosis, and (2) the biologic plausibility of the observed links.
Cannabis and Psychosis

Diverse studies suggest that cannabis use is associated with psychotic phenomenology. First, in addition to being the most abused illicit substance in the general US population, cannabis is clearly the most abused illegal drug among individuals with schizophrenia.[1,2] Furthermore, the initiation of cannabis use among those with psychotic disorders often precedes the onset of psychosis by several years.[1,3,4] Second, cannabis use in adolescence is increasingly recognized as an independent risk factor for psychosis and schizophrenia.[5-7] That is, several epidemiologic studies suggest that cannabis use is a component cause of schizophrenia.[8,9]

By Michael T. Compton, MD, MPH
Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health

Submitted by SARDAA