Psychosis Risk Increases with THC-Content of Cannabis

An important study on the question of the association of risk of psychosis and cannabis use has been published in the March issue of the Lancet Psychiatry by Marta Di Forti and colleagues from the Institute of Psychiatry in London, one of the world’s most prestigious institutions of schizophrenia research (Lancet Psychiatry 2015; 2: 233-238).

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© Petra Bork / pixelio.de

In that article they conclude that the use of high potency cannabis (“skunk”) is a very important risk factor for the development of psychosis. Continue reading

Bad News not only for Roche, but for Psychiatry

Last Tuesday, on January 21st, 2014, the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche published a press release on the first results of two Phase III studies with its glycine transporter inhibitor bitopertin (RG-1678) in patients with schizophrenia. Continue reading

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are Particularly Important for Brain Development of Adolescents

In recent years it has become increasingly clear that in addition to other environmental factors, diet plays a significant role in the development of mental disorders. Since polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (ω-3 PUFA) are “essential”, i.e. they cannot be synthesized by humans themselves, they but must be taken with food. Thus, their adequate intake with diet is of particular importance. Continue reading

Antipsychotics: Less is Again More

It is now clinical standard and recommended by all treatment guidelines to continue an antipsychotic maintenance therapy for at least 12 months after remission of the first psychotic episode. Numerous studies have shown that the risk of relapse is significantly increased, if a drug treatment is terminated prematurely. In the September issue of JAMA Psychiatry Lex Wunderink and colleagues from the Netherlands, however, question these treatment habits at least in part (Wunderink et al., JAMA Psychiatry 2013; 70: 913-920). Continue reading

Bullying of Adolescents Increases the Risk for Psychotic Symptoms

In the July issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry Ian Kelleher from Dublin and colleagues from an international research consortium report on the relationship between traumatic childhood experiences and the occurrence of psychotic symptoms (Kelleher et al., Am J Psychiatry 2013; 170: 734-741). Continue reading

Supplementation with Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 Reduces Negative Symptoms in Schizophrenia

In the May issue of JAMA Psychiatry Joshua Roffman and colleagues from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston report the interesting results of their multicenter study on the effects of supplementation with folic acid and vitamin B12 in patients with a schizophrenic disorder (Roffman et al., JAMA Psychiatry 2013;70:481-489). Continue reading

„Repositioning“ of Approved Drugs for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Dementia

The drug treatment of patients with Alzheimer’s disease is currently only possible with three acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine) and the NMDA antagonist memantine. These substances lead to a symptomatic improvement of up to 12 months (according to the latest results even 24 months, see my post dated 13/12/2012). So-called disease-modifying therapies are unfortunately still not available. In fact, the pharmaceutical industry recently had suffered numerous partly bitter setbacks in clinical trials of such new therapies. Despite the enormous economic potential, which a new drug that slows the disease process would have, currently only a few substances are in clinical trials in phases II and III (compared to more than 1000 drugs against cancer) due to the high economic risk, which such research poses. Continue reading

Antibodies Against NMDA Receptors in Schizophrenia

A very exciting and potentially groundbreaking observation in patients with schizophrenia was just published by Johann Steiner and colleagues from the Department of Psychiatry (Chairman: Bernhard Bogerts) of the University of Magdeburg in JAMA Psychiatry (formerly Archives of General Psychiatry – online first on January 23, 2013). They found in 9.9% (n = 15) in a cohort of 121 patients with a schizophrenic disorder antibodies against NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors (Steiner et al., 2013). Such antibodies were found only in 0.4% of the 230 control subjects studied, Continue reading