Protein Functions of DISC1 Gene Linked to Schizophrenia Identified

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Marcelo Pablo Coba PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute
Keck School of Medicine of USC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia (SCZ) are complex brain disorders where a multitude or risk factors have been implicated in contributing to the disease, with a low number of genes that have been strongly implicated in a very low number of cases.

One of these genes is Disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1), which was first described in 2000 as a balanced translocation that segregates with schizophrenia and related psychiatric disorders in a large Scottish family. Because DISC1 does not have an identified protein function such as enzymatic, channel, transporter, etc… the field moved to try to understand what proteins are associated (physically connected) to DISC1 and to try to explain DISC1 function through the function of its protein interactors. This means that if DISC1 binds proteins X, Y and Z, then mutations in the DISC1 gene should affect the functions of   these proteins. Therefore, there has been much effort in trying to identify DISC1 protein interactors. However this task has not been straightforward.

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Psychiatric Illness Linked To Increased Risk of Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jonah P. Zuflacht M.D. Candidate | Class of 2017 Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons

Jonah Zuflacht

Jonah P. Zuflacht
M.D. Candidate | Class of 2017
Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Recent evidence suggests that psychological distress, including the symptoms of psychiatric illness, may increase the risk of stroke. However, existing studies have been limited by small sample sizes, methodological bias, and poorly defined criteria for what constitutes psychological distress. We used a case-crossover design to assess the relationship between hospitalization or emergency department visit for a psychiatric condition and stroke in adults. We found that psychiatric hospitalization increases the short-term risk of stroke, particularly within the 15-day period following the diagnosis. This effect is particularly pronounced in younger patients.

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Patients With Severe Mental Illness Find Supportive Community On YouTube

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

John A. Naslund, MPH – PhD Student at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

Stuart W. Grande, PhD, MPA – Post–doctoral fellow at The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Naslund: In this study we explored whether people with severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder, use a popular social media website like YouTube to naturally provide and receive peer support. We found that people with severe mental illness use YouTube to feel less alone and to find hope, to support and to defend each other, and to share personal stories and strategies for coping with day-to-day challenges.  

Dr. Grande: They also sought to learn from the experiences of others about using medications and seeking mental health care.  YouTube appears to serve as a platform that helps these individuals to overcome fears associated with living with mental illness, and it also creates a sense of community among them.
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Stigma Hampers Patients From Seeking Mental Health Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Patrick Corrigan Psy.D. Distinguished Professor of Psychology Illinois Institute of Technology PI: National Consortium on Stigma and Empowerment www.NCSE1.orgPatrick Corrigan Psy.D.
Distinguished Professor of Psychology
Illinois Institute of Technology
PI: National Consortium on Stigma and Empowerment
www.NCSE1.org


Medical Research:  What are the main findings of this review?

Dr. Corrigan: People with serious mental illness often do not seek out services, or drop out early, when in need. Stigma is a major reason for why this happens. Stigma refers to the stereotypes about a group that undermine status and lead to discrimination. Discrimination refers to the behaviors that block the opportunities of group members. Some employers do not hire people with mental illness, some landlords do not rent to them, and some primary care practitioners offer a substandard of care. Stereotypes and discrimination undermine engagement in mental health services in three ways (Corrigan, 2005):

Label Avoidance: In order to escape the pernicious effects of stigma, people avoid settings where they are labeled mentally ill; for example, people coming out of a psychiatrist’s office may be perceived as “nuts.”

Self-Stigma: Some people who internalize stereotypes suffer diminished self-esteem and self-efficacy leading to the “why try” effect. “Why should I try to get a job? Someone like me is not worthy.” “Why should I try to get mental health treatment? I am not able to benefit from it.”

Structural Stigma: Stereotypes and discrimination become institutionalized in the laws and practices of government and business. For example, insurance coverage for mental health services was significantly below that for most other conditions.   Continue reading

Smoking Plus Mental Illness Leads To Substantial Economic Burden

Ms Qi Wu: Mental Health and Addiction Research Group, Department of Health Sciences University of York, Heslington York  UKMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ms Qi Wu:
Mental Health and Addiction Research Group, Department of Health Sciences
University of York, Heslington
York  UK

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Ms Qi Wu: At any time in the UK about one in six adults has a mental health problem, the prevalence of smoking in this group is over 33%, which is around 50% higher than in the general population. It is estimated that 3 million adults with mental disorders were smokers in 2009-10. Meanwhile, people with mental health disorders are also more likely to smoke heavily, this group accounts for as much as 42% of the total national tobacco consumption.  In this study, we calculated the avoidable economic burden of smoking in people with mental disorders.

The main finding was that people with mental disorders who smoke cost the UK economy £2.34 billion a year. The total costs are more or less equally divided among losses sustained from premature death, lost productivity, and healthcare costs to treat smoking related diseases such as lung cancer, cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in this group.  An estimated £719 million (31% of the total cost) was spent on treating diseases caused by smoking. Productivity losses due to smoking-related diseases were about £823 million (35%) for work- related absenteeism and £797 million (34%) was associated with premature mortality.
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Patients With Mental Illness More Likely To Be Victims of Homicide

Professor Louis Appleby Professor of Psychiatry C.B.E The University of Manchester in the UKMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Louis Appleby
Professor of Psychiatry C.B.E
The University of Manchester in the UK

 

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Professor Appleby: “Patients with mental illness are two and a half times more likely to be victims of homicide than people in the general population according to our research published in The Lancet Psychiatry today.

“In this study, the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (NCI), based at The University of Manchester, examined data on the victims and perpetrators of all homicides in England and Wales between January, 2003 and December, 2005.

We found that during the 3-year study period, 1496 people were victims of homicide, and 6% (90) of them had been under the care of mental health services in the year before their death. A third (29) of these patient victims were killed by other patients with mental illness.

In 23 homicides in which the victim was a mental health patient killed by another mental health patient, the victim and the perpetrator were known to each other either as partners (9, 35%), family members (4, 15%), or acquaintances (10, 38%). In 21 of these 23 cases, both the victims and perpetrators were undergoing treatment at the same National Health Service Trust.

Alcohol and drug misuse (victims 66%, perpetrators 93%) and a history of violence (victims 24%, perpetrators 24%) were common among both patient victims and perpetrators. The study also found that in the 3 years to 2005, 213 mental health patients were convicted of homicide—accounting for 12% of all homicide convictions.”
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Mental Illness Raises Risk of HIV Infection

Michael B. Blank, PhDMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michael B. Blank, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry
Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3309

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Blank:  We found that people in treatment for mental illnesses in inpatient and outpatient settings in Philadelphia and Baltimore were about times as likely to be infected with HIV as the general population in those cities and about 16 times as likely to be HIV infected as the general population of the US.  We also found that severity of psychiatric symptoms increased the likelihood of infection.

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Mental Illness: Elderly Patients and Healthcare Utilization

Hugh C. Hendrie, MB ChB, DSc  Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine Center Scientist, Indiana University Center for Aging Research Research Scientist, Regenstrief Institute, Inc.MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Hugh C. Hendrie, MB ChB, DSc 
Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine
Center Scientist, Indiana University Center for Aging Research
Research Scientist, Regenstrief Institute, Inc.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: Our findings of higher rates of emergency care, longer hospitalizations and increased frequency of falls, substance abuse and alcoholism suggest that seriously mentally ill older adults remain a vulnerable population.
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Analyzing excess mortality from cancer among individuals with mental illness

MedicalResearch.com: eInterview with Siran M. Koroukian, Ph.D.
Population Health and Outcomes Research Core,
Clinical & Translational Science Collaborative
Associate Professor Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
School of Medicine Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH 44106-7281

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Koroukian: Among individuals who died of cancer, those with mental illness (MI) died an average of 10 years earlier than those without MI.

Overall, there was excess mortality from cancer associated with having mental illness in all the race/sex strata: SMR, 2.16 (95% CI, 1.85-2.50) for black men; 2.63 (2.31-2.98) for black women; 3.89 (3.61-4.19) for nonblack men; and 3.34 (3.13-3.57) for nonblack women.

We note statistically significant higher SMRs for every anatomic cancer site in nonblack men and women and for most cancer sites in black men and women.
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