Sunday, September 30, 2007

FDA is Paper Tiger

Hampered by the lack of a comprehensive catalog of clinical trials, the FDA is unable to even identify all trials, the estimated 350,000 study sites and the institutional review boards that oversee each study to ensure they meet scientific, ethical and legal obligations, the report says.

Those limitations hinder the FDA's ability to ensure participants are protected from unreasonable risks, Levinson said.

The FDA relies on just 200 inspectors to police human studies of drugs and devices. The inspections they perform focus more on ensuring the accuracy of trial data than on verifying the measures put in place to protect the study participants, the investigation found.

Even when inspectors do turn up serious problems, their findings are frequently downgraded by senior officials and almost never followed by inspections to see whether the issues have been resolved, according to the report. In the case of the FDA's drug office, 68 percent of inspector recommendations that the agency take regulatory action, typically in the form of a warning letter, were downgraded.

Drug trials go unwatched, study says

Sunday, September 23, 2007

What's In a Name?

This is from When Naming a Drug, It is an Inexact Science
The name can make the difference between whether a drug becomes a blockbuster or a flop. The right name can give a drug cachet. The wrong name can lead to serious medical errors.

According to the Food and Drug Administration's Web site, an 8-year-old died after receiving methadone instead of methylphenidate. A 19-year-old man showed signs of potentially fatal complications after he was given clozapine instead of olanzapine. A 50-year-old woman was hospitalized after taking Flomax, used to treat an enlarged prostate, instead of Volmax, used to relieve bronchospasm.But what makes a good name?

"A lot of it is more art than science," said William Trombetta, professor of pharmaceutical marketing at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. "There are certain letters that express power and control, like Z, M or P. Other letters, like S, are more passive. Depending on what the drug does, you want to give the name certain features."
Want to sound high-tech? Go for lots of Z's and X's, such as Xanax, Xalatan, Zyban and Zostrix.
Want to sound poetic? Try Lyrica, Truvada and Femara.
Want to suggest what it does? Flonase is an allergy medicine that aims to stop nasal flow. Lunesta, a sleeping drug, implies luna, or moon -- a full night's sleep. Humulin is shorthand for "human insulin," a new therapeutic treatment for diabetics that follows decades of animal insulin. Lipitor, a cholesterol fighter that is the world's best-selling drug, suggests "lipids" or fats.

A Rose Is A Rose

It is well known that the label of schizophrenic is given more often to minorities and to poor people. One school of thought is that people with status would probably be diagnosed with a milder, more acceptable prognosis such as bi-polar - the vast difference between being considered diseased or just disordered. On the other hand, people living very stressful lives might actually be prone to breakdowns but then science would have to adjust the profitable biochemical model and revert to the tedious business of listening to patients.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Good Advice for Everyone

Bernadine Healy, former head of the American Red Cross and the National Institutes of Health, was recently diagnosed with cancer and offered six guidelines for recovery from the disease. These guidelines can be applied to recovery from schizophrenia as well:
Control what you can.
Stay constructive.
Avoid the anger trap.
Look for the humor.
Insist on respect.
Nourish your spirit.

Pfizer Drug Causes Hallucinations

Anti-fungal drug causes hallucinations but:
The researchers couldn’t explain why the hallucinations occur but hypothesized it could be related to “high blood levels” of the drug.

Pfizer said about 13 million patients have taken the drug, which had sales of $515 million last year. “Cases of treatment-emergent hallucinations have occurred in clinical studies and are described in the product labeling for Vfend,” a Pfizer spokeswoman told Bloomberg. “Health care professionals should be aware of the risk of this potential side-effect so they are able to manage this symptom and reassure patients.”


The FDA says Haldol might cause heart problems. I find it odd that this has been around for decades but they only find this out after the British study that said this cheap standby was as effective as the expensive atypicals.

Also since hormone replacement has been found to increase your chance of breast cancer and people have quit using it, they are now saying it reduces your chances of getting alzheimers.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

When you hear hoofbeats look for horses not zebras

All medical students have this cliche repeated over and over (I suppose doctors in Africa are told the opposite). I think it is so significant that every form of mental illness shares some form of sleep problem but it is universally dismissed as irrelevant and just a symptom. Injuring brains and f*&cking up the metabolism of people that have a sleep disorder is contrary to the other cliche that medical students are taught - first, do no harm. Now the brain damaging ECT is making a "stunning" comeback with the implanting of devices in brains.

If the current crop of researchers were in charge of fixing scurvy or pellegra, they would not even consider diet but would search for some life-long prescription that would generate some REAL MONEY. How many times have you heard the phase "the modern miracle of medicine"? In reality vaccination (discovered long ago) and improved sanitation are the most instrumental in prolonging life and ending diseases, so you should probably respect your plumber's opinion as much as your doctor's.

Organ transplant and conjoined twin separation gets lots of publicity, but in general modern medicine can not fix most problems beyond resetting bones and hiding symptoms with drugs. Sure, the incidence of breast cancer has dropped - but that happened because people QUIT taking their medicine (premarin and such). Liver and kidney failure because of prescription drugs is a real problem that won't get a telethon like all the other diseases that are so illusive to modern medicine.

All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the right one - Occam's razor or the hoofbeats in other words.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

REM sleep

According to this article many people in the 1950's thought there was a relation between dreams and schizophrenia but it was discounted because schizophrenics and normal people had the same patterns of REM sleep except for when schizophrenics were psychotic.

I still think the answer lies somewhere in sleep and there is a malfunction that is not evident by just studying eye motion. I think it relates to overloads of serotonin because the melatonin/serotonin cycling is wacky.

Interesting Article on Cancer

In 1924, the German Nobel laureate Otto Warburg first published his observations of a common feature he saw in fast-growing tumors: unlike healthy cells, which generate energy by metabolizing sugar in their mitochondria, cancer cells appeared to fuel themselves exclusively through glycolysis, a less-efficient means of creating energy through the fermentation of sugar in the cytoplasm. Warburg believed that this metabolic switch was the primary cause of cancer, a theory that he strove, unsuccessfully, to establish until his death in 1970.

The theory is simple: If most aggressive cancers rely on the fermentation of sugar for growing and dividing, then take away the sugar and they should stop spreading.
"One big problem we have," says Schmidt, sitting uncomfortably on a small, wooden chair in the crammed tea kitchen of Kammerer's lab, "is that we are only allowed to enroll patients who have completely run out of all other therapeutic options." That means that most people in the study are faring very badly to begin with. All have exhausted traditional treatments, such as surgery, radiation and chemo, and even some alternative ones like hyperthermia and autohemotherapy. Patients in the study have pancreatic tumors and aggressive brain tumors called glioblastomas, among other cancers; participants are recruited primarily because their tumors show high glucose metabolism in PET scans.

The good news is that for five patients who were able to endure three months of carb-free eating, the results were positive: the patients stayed alive, their physical condition stabilized or improved and their tumors slowed or stopped growing, or shrunk. Two patients recently left the study because their tumors kept growing, even though they stuck to the diet.,8599,1662484,00.html?xid=rss-topstories

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Meaningful Work

Work is at the very heart of contemporary life for most people, providing financial security, personal identity, and an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to community life. The right to meaningful, productive work is a basic human need. Employment provides five factors that promote mental health: time structure, social contact and affiliation, collective effort and purpose, social and personal identity, and regular activity. The absence of these crucial factors puts any individual's psychological well being at risk -- whether or not they suffer from a persistent mental illness.

However, for people with persistent mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, or schizophrenia, attaining this right is extremely challenging. It has been estimated that the unemployment rate among those with persistent mental illnesses is an astonishing 90% -- far higher than the 50% unemployment rate among individuals with physical or sensorial disabilities. In other words, only 10% of individuals with persistent mental illness who want to work and have been judged able to work are working. Mental illness hits more human lives and gives rise to a greater waste of human resources than all other forms of disability.

Research has shown that "normal" employed individuals who become unemployed are at more than twice the risk of suffering from major depression.

And by work, I don't mean sorting cardboard or crushing aluminium cans in some workshop, though that is better than nothing. I think unemployment is the reason suicide rates are so high on reservations and also amongst mental health "clients" who see no purpose in life.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Why I Gave Up On Psychiatrists

My first psychic break followed a series of thefts (300 hives were stolen - a yard at a time over three months). I was labelled schizophrenic even though an interview might have led a different authority to consider post traumatic stress, but NO ONE IN THE PSYCH FIELD was interested in my very stressful condition that led to the break. I was given these doses of Haldol on my first nine day stay at the hospital: 170 milligrams; 240 milligrams; 80 milligrams;, 60 milligrams; 60 milligrams; 100 milligrams; 120 milligrams; 120 milligrams; 140 milligrams 60 milligrams. The recommended daily dose of Haloperidal is 6 milligram and experts agree that one should never exceed 30 milligrams.
I had several other "doctors" but none that earned my respect. One told me risperdal regulated only dopamine when I talked about how it affects serotonin also (which I learned from the company literature) and he argued that the Vietnam vets suffered from PTSD because they were not welcomed home when I said it was caused by the trauma of not knowing who was an enemy and who was a friend (hypervigilance or approval of strangers - which do you think is more stressful). Another gave my friend a neuroleptic and Ritalin at the same time (talk about stepping on the gas and the brake at the same time)and she denied that a lady who had strange mouth motions was suffering from a side effect of her psych drug. When I tried to talk about my thefts, she dismissed me and added Paxil to my regime. I wrote up my theory about REM sleep and psychosis but she ignored it also. The only other one I talked to agreed to cut my dose by 1/3 without telling me that one has to taper gradually and I had an attack of mania. I actually don't think they know what the hell they are doing. I AM NOT A SCIENTOLOGIST.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Why Most Research is False

Why Most Published Research Findings Are False by John P. A. Ioannidis is a very well known article about the research field. I didn't understand a lot of it, but this makes sense to me:

The greater the financial and other interests and prejudices in a scientific field, the less likely the research findings are to be true. Conflicts of interest and prejudice may increase bias, u. Conflicts of interest are very common in biomedical research, and typically they are inadequately and sparsely reported. Prejudice may not necessarily have financial roots. Scientists in a given field may be prejudiced purely because of their belief in a scientific theory or commitment to their own findings. Many otherwise seemingly independent, university-based studies may be conducted for no other reason than to give physicians and researchers qualifications for promotion or tenure. Such nonfinancial conflicts may also lead to distorted reported results and interpretations. Prestigious investigators may suppress via the peer review process the appearance and dissemination of findings that refute their findings, thus condemning their field to perpetuate false dogma. Empirical evidence on expert opinion shows that it is extremely unreliable

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

News Roundup

Antidepressant as Good as Antipsychotics for Dementia
Study finds fewer side effects for Alzheimer's patients prone to hallucinations, delusions

Doctor Ends Dilemma - Lilly, Doctor Reach Agreement Over Zyprexa Documents Leak
Zyprexa - Lilly's antipsychotic drug was approved by the FDA in 1996, only for the extremely limited use of treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adults. However, Lilly promoted the drug for off-label, unapproved uses in treating anxiety, sleep disruption, mood swings, attention deficit hyperactivity and dementia in patients of all ages, as can be seen from Medicaid records. Lilly has been accused of virtually concealing the risks of side effects from doctors and from the patients themselves.

The documents reveal that Lilly was well aware that 30% of patients taking Zyprexa, gain 22 pounds or more after a year on the drug, and some patients have reported gaining 100 pounds or more. An email written by vice president and chief medical officer Dr. Alan Breier to Lilly employees in Nov. 1999, reveals that the company was worried that Zyprexa's sales would suffer due to its side effects. The documents also have clinching evidence to prove that Lilly encouraged its sales representatives to play down the “side effects” of Zyprexa whose generic name is olanzapine, when talking to doctors. Zyprexa, which remains Lilly's top-selling drug, garnered worldwide sales of $4.36 billion in 2006. A study, which reviewed the adverse side effects of Zyprexa in 2002, found that of the 289 cases of diabetes reported, 225 of the patients were newly diagnosed. The same year, 100 cases of ketosis, a serious complication of diabetes, 22 cases of pancreatitis, a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas, and 23 deaths associated with Zyprexa were reported. The results of the study were published in the July 2002 issue of Pharmacotherapy, by P Murali Doraiswamy, the chief of biological psychiatry at Duke University.

The link between diabetes and Zyprexa was again confirmed in February 2004, by the American Diabetes Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the North American Association for the Study of Obesity.

Eli Lilly's tale took a tawdry turn as Zyprexa's lethal side effects continued to make headlines. Class action lawsuits as well as separate individual actions began to be filed against Eli Lilly, the makers of Zyprexa, by people who developed severe side effects after taking the drug. Including earlier settlements over Zyprexa, Lilly has thus far agreed to pay about $1.2 billion to settle cases out of court with about 28,500 victims.

After it was established in 2004, that there was an increased risk of hyperglycemia and diabetes associated with Zyprexa, Eli Lilly was asked by the FDA to change language on Zyprexa label describing the health risks for patients taking the medication. In addition, in April 2005, the FDA slapped a black box warning on Zyprexa's label indicating that the drug was not approved for older patients with dementia-related disorders after the drug was found to be associated with increased mortality in elderly patients with dementia.

As soon as the ‘New York Times' began running articles, describing the side effects of Zyprexa and Lilly's off-label marketing campaign called, “ Viva Zyprexa”, in which the drug was prescribed to older patients with symptoms of dementia, Lilly succeeded in getting a judge to issue a permanent injunction in Dec.2006, against Gottstein, and other persons who obtained the documents from Gottstein, ordering them to return the documents to the court. By then, copies of the documents ended up on various Web servers. The New York Times reporter, Alex Berenson, the only journalist who actually quoted from the documents in the press was not included in any injunction.
Psychotropic Drug Makers Bankroll Prescribing Shrinks Part II

The fact that drug makers were bribing state policy makers and members of advisory panels with the ultimate goal of capturing the lucrative Medicaid customer base to increase the sale of psychiatric drugs was first discovered several years ago by Allen Jones, while he was a federal fraud investigator in the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General Bureau of Special Investigations, and Dr Stefan Kruszewski, a pediatric psychiatrist by trade, who was hired by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare to review the quality of care provided to persons covered by state programs.
During his investigation in Pennsylvania, Mr Jones found a drug money trail to key policy officials who controlled the Medicaid preferred drug list in that state, which eventually led him to Texas and an elaborate scheme that involved influential psychiatrists, including many who served as professors at Texas universities, and state policy officials who developed the preferred drug list known as the "Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP)".

Mr Jones calls the Texas panel the "most transparent example" of industry influence, because all of the project directors had financial ties to the drug makers. It was put into effect, he says, by buying off doctors who were considered "opinion leaders" in the psychiatric field, along with state policy makers in positions of authority with control over the preferred drug lists.

While reviewing the medical care provided to patients under state care in the summer of 2002, Dr Kruszewski immediately recognized that a mass drugging-for-profit scheme involving Medicaid patients, especially children, was taking place in Pennsylvania, and that several patients had died.

In one case, where the child fortunately survived, Dr Kruszewski found that the girl had been placed on 11 psychiatric drugs at the same time, including 5 antipsychotics, without ever being diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. She exhibited impulsive behaviors and was mentally disabled, but there was nothing in the records to justify the use of all these drugs, he says.

According Dr Kruszewski, the atypicals are associated with an increased the risk of obesity which can lead to diabetes type II, hypertension, heart attacks and stroke. The weight of the girl who was on 11 drugs had ballooned from 106 pounds to 194, Dr Kruszewski found.

In reviewing patient records, he found a state-wide pattern where patients who were not mentally ill were placed on cocktails of 3 or more expensive psychiatric drugs at the same time and kept on the cocktails indefinitely and if patients experienced side effects from the original medications, more drugs were added to the mix.

The sheer greed evidenced by the mass drugging of patients on Medicaid all over the US, similar to that discovered by Dr Kruszewski in Pennsylvania, has forced state Medicaid programs to either put a stop to the drug maker's encouragement of the rampant prescribing of atypicals or go broke.

For instance, Texas Medicaid was charged nearly $15 million for antipsychotics for foster children in 2004, according to the December 2006 Special Report, "Foster Children - Texas Health Care Claims Study." In fact, Texas spent more money on antipsychotics for foster kids than any other class of drugs, and the report said, Zyprexa, Seroquel and Risperdal typically cost an average of $229 per prescription.

A USA TODAY study of FDA data from 2000 to 2004 found 45 pediatric deaths in which atypicals were the primary suspect, with at least six related to diabetes and other causes ranged from heart and pulmonary problems to suicide, choking and liver failure.

A July 29, 2007, report by Robert Farley in the St Petersburg Times revealed that in the last 7 years, the cost to Florida tax payers for atypicals prescribed to children jumped nearly 500%, from $4.7 million to $27.5 million, and on average in 2006, it cost the state nearly $1,800 for each child on atypicals.

Mr Farley reported that last year, more than 18,000 kids on Medicaid were prescribed antipsychotics including 1,100 under the age of 6 and some as young as 3, even though guidelines from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration say children younger than 6 should generally not be given psychotropic drugs and they should "only be considered under the most extraordinary of circumstances."

Psychotropic Drug Makers Bankroll Prescribing Shrinks Part I

According to the August 27, 2007, Pioneer Press, since 2002, Dr Simon has received more than $570,000 from six drug makers, with most of the money coming from Eli Lilly, "whose antipsychotic drug Zyprexa is the most costly each year for Minnesota's fee-for-service health program for the poor and disabled," the article states.

In fact, Lilly's disclosure records for 2004 show payments to Dr Simon totaling a whopping $91,854.95 in that one year, and he also received another couple grand from Seroquel maker AstraZeneca.

Dr Simon told the Pioneer Press that companies pay him to speak about their drugs at conferences and clinics or about the conditions that are treated with the drugs. "Most of the psychiatrists who are really good," he said, "have ties to industry."

Whether Dr Simon is a "really good" psychiatrist is certainly open to debate. In 1997, the state medical board made him complete a clinical training program and issued a report which said that Dr Simon, "frequently makes abrupt and drastic changes in type and dosage of medication which seem erratic, not well considered and poorly integrated with nonmedication strategies."

The board also noted that Dr Simon prescribed addictive drugs to addicts and failed to stop giving medicines to patients when they were suffering severe drug side effects. He said in an interview with the Times that the board's action was a learning experience and that drug makers continued to hire him to speak because he was respected by his peers.

For years, Dr Simon reportedly shared an office with another "really good" psychiatrist by the name of Dr Faruk Abuzzahab. On June 3, 2007, Gardiner Harris and Janet Roberts published a story in the New York Times with the headline: "After Sanctions, Doctors Get Drug Company Pay," and stated:

A decade ago, the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice accused Dr. Faruk Abuzzahab of a "reckless, if not willful, disregard" for the welfare of 46 patients, 5 of whom died in his care or shortly afterward. The board suspended his license for seven months and restricted it for two years after that.

Over the past 20 years, this "really good" psychiatrist has repeatedly prescribed narcotics and other controlled substances to addicts and prescribed narcotics to pregnant women, one of whom delivered a baby prematurely that died, the board found.

The Times reports that separately, in 1979 and 1984, the FDA concluded that Dr Abuzzahab had violated the protocols of every study that the agency audited and that he reported inaccurate data to drug makers.

The FDA said he routinely oversaw 4 to 8 trials at the same time, moved patients from one study to another, gave experimental drugs to patients at their first consultation and once hospitalized a patient for the sole purpose of enrolling him in a study.

As recently as June 2006, the medical board criticized Dr Abuzzahab once again for writing prescriptions for narcotics and this time to patients he knew were using false names, according to the Times.

All that said, Dr Abuzzahab told the Times that he has helped study many popular psychiatric drugs, including Lilly's Zyprexa and Prozac, Janssen's Risperdal, AstraZeneca's Seroquel, Glaxo's Paxil and Pfizer's Zoloft.

A review of the Minnesota disclosure records for 2004 show that the drug makers apparently thought it was beneficial to keep paying big bucks to Dr Abuzzahab. Glaxo paid him $1,000, Pfizer gave him $750, and Wyeth forked over $18,084, in that year alone.

In 2003, psychiatrist Dr Ronald Hardrict pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud. But a little charge like fraud apparently did not effect this Minnesota psychiatrist's earning power either. The very next year, disclosure records for 2004 show Risperdal maker Janssen paid him $10,000; Seroquel maker AstraZeneca gave $1,250; Abbott Labs paid him over $7500; Glaxo paid $1,500, and Wyeth forked over $8,846.

In reviewing the Minnesota disclosure records for 2004, the name Dr Dean Knudson kept popping up. A September 2004 Newsletter from the Ada Canyon Medical Education Consortium listed Dr Knudson as an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

He must be a "really good" psychiatrist, too, because in 2004 alone, Lilly paid him close to $37,000; he earned nearly $2,750 from Pfizer; Seroquel maker AstraZeneca paid him $6,700; Janssen forked over $3750; Wyeth paid him $11,632, and he received $2,082 from Abbott. Lilly's 2003 forms also show another $8,740 paid to Dr Knudson.

The newsletter showed that Dr Knudson was paid to give educational presentations on dementia. On October 18, 2005, the Associated Press reported a study that showed atypicals used to treat elderly patients with dementia raised their risk of death.

For the study, the researchers pooled the results of 15 studies on the atypicals Zyprexa, Risperdal, Seroquel and Abilify and among more than 5,000 dementia patients, those taking any of the four drugs faced a 54% increased risk of dying within 12 weeks of starting the drugs, compared to patients taking placebos.

Another name that jumps out in the 2004 disclosure records is Dr David Adson. According to the August 20, 2007, Pioneer Press, Dr Adson, of the University of Minnesota, also has a state advisory role as the clinical leader of a program funded by Lilly and provided free of charge to Minnesota, which notifies doctors when their prescriptions for psychiatric drugs are out of line with clinical standards.

Although the program is funded by Lilly, it is supposedly run by an independent company called Comprehensive NeuroScience, Inc. All totaled, 20 states have contracts with CNS to identify doctors "who are prescribing psychiatric drugs outside of recommended guidelines for safety and effectiveness," according to the Press.

Critics say the program is actually a scam set up with state policy makers to make sure the expensive psychiatric drugs remain on the Medicaid covered drug lists instead of being placed on the lists that require prior authorization.

Drug Reps Must be Attractive, not Informed to be Hired

Drug companies spent nearly $30 billion on marketing in 2005, according to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

That includes almost $5 billion for direct-to-consumer television, print and Internet advertising, as well as billions in free drug samples, educational seminars, grants to patient groups and visits by sales reps to woo doctors. Consumers Union estimates there are 90,000 drug detailers plying their trade in the United States.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Famous People Who Attempted Suicide

This list is way longer than I expected. And BBC produced the documentary Dangerous Knowledge in which
David Malone looks at four brilliant mathematicians - Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Goudel and Alan Turing - whose genius has profoundly affected us, but which tragically drove them insane and eventually led to them all committing suicide.

If the people who possess everything imaginable and the most intelligent are troubled, happiness is indeed an illusive thing.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

ADHD and TV (The American Babysitter)

Study Links Attention Problems to Early TV viewing and Time magazine reports that the Baby Einstein videos actually retard language development:
Three studies have shown that watching television, even if it includes educational programming such as Sesame Street, delays language development...In fact, the watching probably interferes with the crucial wiring being laid down in their brains during early development."

As far as Christakis and his colleagues can determine, the only thing that baby videos are doing is producing a generation of overstimulated kids. "There is an assumption that stimulation is good, so more is better," he says. "But that's not true; there is such a thing as overstimulation." His group has found that the more television children watch, the shorter their attention spans later in life. "Their minds come to expect a high level of stimulation, and view that as normal," says Christakis, "and by comparison, reality is boring."

This growing evidence led the Academy to issue its recommendation in 1999 that no child under two years old watch any television. The authors of the new study might suggest reading instead: children who got daily reading or storytelling time with their parents showed a slight increase in language skills.

"the watching probably interferes with the crucial wiring being laid down in their brains during early development"

I have always said that the continual flashing of a TV screen screws up development of young minds but no one ever listens to me. And limiting TV to adult usage might hinder kids insatiable desire for more and more stuff so I doubt it will go away soon, even if sometimes it leads to prescription amphetamine use that then leads to a diagnosis of bipolar (The number of American children and adolescents treated for bipolar disorder increased 40-fold from 1994 to 2003)that leads to neuroleptics that leads to lifelong disability. Cause and effect is a bitch.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Zyprexa Drug Rep

The media is all excited about the possibility of a new drug for schizophrenia from the same people that brought you Zyprexa.
Lilly tested the new drug against its older drug Zyprexa and found it did not relieve the symptoms of schizophrenia as well, but also did not cause many of the side-effects, such as weight gain, cholesterol and hormonal changes.
- -Yahoo News

Lilly develops new Schizophrenia drug

New York Times article on a new schizophrenia drug being developed. This one targets the neurotransmitter that goes wacky when people take PCP. The dopamine ones were defended because they acted on the neurotransmitter that was affected by amphetamines. They dismiss the neurotransmitter that is affected by LSD. Of course the PCP and amphetamine ones need costly lifelong medication while the LSD one needs cheap proper sleep.

And before you cheer, this new drug may cause even more brain damage than the dopamine ones:
For decades, psychiatrists have known that users of PCP, a street drug sometimes called angel dust, have symptoms nearly identical to those of people with schizophrenia. By the 1980s, scientists had discovered that PCP blocked brain receptors that are triggered by an amino acid called glutamate. This led some companies and scientists to study ways to stimulate glutamate receptors as a treatment for schizophrenia.

But the brain has many different kinds of glutamate receptors, and figuring out how to stimulate or block them in medically beneficial ways has proved complicated. Instead of focusing on the receptors blocked by PCP, Schoepp concentrated on modulating the action of glutamate receptors in the brain's prefrontal cortex, an area responsible for personality and learning.

"This is a system that is so fundamental to the function of your brain that it is quite powerful," said Schoepp.
-International Herald Tribune

And this article says to me that calling schizophrenia a biochemical disease does not account for the high rate of recovery when family support contributes to recovery. Recovery From Schizophrenia: An International Perspective. A Report From the WHO Collaborative Project, the International Study of Schizophrenia
Kraepelin’s view that a deteriorating course is a hallmark of the illness just isn’t true. Heterogeneity of outcome, both in terms of symptoms and functioning, is the signature feature, an observation that has profound implications for our understanding and management of the condition. Good outcome was evident in more than one-half of the International Study of Schizophrenia subjects. In Agra, for example, no long-term disability was detected in 60% of patients, due in part, the chapter authors conclude, to the support of the extended family. In Cali, Colombia, two-thirds of the subjects were working full-time at follow-up, while in Nottingham, England, more than 60% were free of all psychotic symptoms. Less good outcomes were apparent in other centers, but the conclusion is clear: bad outcome is not a necessary component of the natural history of schizophrenia; it is a consequence of the interaction between the individual and his or her social and economic world.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sleep Therapy

Prolonged sleep therapy was believed to have originated with a Scottish physician who was asked in 1897 to transport a manic woman from Japan to Shanghai, a five hundred mile trip. Without any nurses to assist him, the physician decided to put the woman to sleep with a bromide. She reportedly was without mania when she awoke. Modern attempts at prolonged sleep treatment started in the 1920's with the Swiss psychiatrist Klasi who induced sleep through multiple injections of the barbituate, Somnifene. Patients were sent into a drug- induced unconsciousness for a week to a month, with daily awakenings for food and bowel movements. Prolonged narcosis, as it was called, was thought to aid in relaxing and resting the patient's mind. It generally resulted in opiate addiction. Some of the schizophrenic patients improved but sometimes the treatment proved fatal as patients developed pneumonia.
History of Treatments for Schizophrenia and other Madness

The psychiatric community cannot be gentle. Rather than duplicating a normal sleep pattern to test the theory of sleep as treatment, they had to induce extended coma and the pneumonia that went along with it. A coma is not anything like natural sleep. The researchers are striving to find some genetic marker that schizophrenics share. The one thing schizophrenics share is sleeplessness prior to a psychic break but they all dismiss that is just one symptom of the disease. Would you find it hard to trust an occupation that believed in lobotomies for years? Or that inducing fear was considered acceptable treatment? Or told you that drugs that destroyed sections of your brain were like insulin for diabetes?