Monday, September 03, 2007

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.


At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heart-warming research!

But where does it leave those of us with families who show no care whatsoever?!

Are we doomed?!

At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A nurse once told me that the way to deal with family is to "accept not expect". If your family doesn't want to deal with you, about all you can do is accept it and move on - the pain comes from expecting things. I thought it was grand advice and about all I got from the $10,000 bill.
Mad Crone


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