Monthly Archives: September 2010

Social Factors in Schizophrenia

There is a review on social factors in schizophrenia by Jill Hooley which is freely available here. Hooley begins by introducing the concept of social competence and provides convincing evidence that this is a useful construct to consider. She then goes on to describe the constituents of social competence – the social skillset and social problem solving along with the evidence pointing to impairments in these areas in people with schizophrenia.The effects of gender on social competence as well as the relationships with friends and family are also discussed before Hooley finishes with a look at the effects of social skills training. The evidence cited here is quite positive in outlook. In the discussion Hooley draws comparisons between Schizophrenia and Asperger Syndrome and there could probably be a rich exchange of ideas and understanding between the associated fields of research. Throughout the paper schizophrenia is referred to as a broad category and it would be interesting to see how the central arguments are modified according to the subtype of schizophrenia. What would also be interesting would be a look at outliers who still qualify for the diagnosis but maintain social competence or excel in social interactions. In summary, I thought this was a concise and useful introduction to social factors in schizophrenia.

Index: An index of the site can be found here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

Emotion and Schizophrenia

There is a review article on emotions in schizophrenia by Kring and Capinigro freely available here. Emotions are a complex phenomenon and unsurprisingly the authors spend the first part of the review focusing on what they mean by emotions and what research in this area has revealed. What they discuss are the many similarities in reporting of emotional experiences between people with and without schizophrenia. They mention specifically supporting studies examining physiological skin responses and blink responses as physiological markers of emotional experiences. In terms of imaging studies, the authors discuss some of the mixed findings around Amygdal and Prefrontal Cortex activity using fMRI and suggest that perhaps the ambiguities are due to a paucity of data.  On moving to the combination of emotion and cognition the authors discuss some interesting findings around anticipatory pleasure and recall of emotional stimuli. The authors finish by discussing the CANSAS trial and interventions including CBT in this area. The review covers a lot of ground and summarises current knowledge in a complex multidiscplinary field which should hopefully yield therapeutic benefits particularly for negative symptoms.

Index: An index of the site can be found here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Prevention of Dementia

There is a systematic review of the effects of interventions for cardiovascular risk factors on prevention of dementia by Ligtart and colleagues which is freely available here. The authors select a number of vascular risk factors for investigation – hypertension, hyperhomocysteinuria, dyslipidaemia, NIDDM and obesity. They select randomised controlled trials of interventions for these risk factors by searching several databases including Medline. They list the search criteria and after identifying a large number of papers are able to exclude many of these leaving 43 for futher analysis. There are no firm conclusions from the analysis as there are a number of difficulties the authors encounter. Many of the papers use dementia as a secondary outcome measure and so perhaps what this means is that the selection criteria are too narrow at this point in time to reach meaningful conclusions. The authors note that there are a number of studies underway which are focusing on interventions for these risk factors. Thus a repeat of this analysis in a few years time may be warranted. There are some positive findings amongst the results and the association between vascular risk factors and prevalence of dementia is supported by an abundant evidence base although the possibility of confounders should be borne in mind. I thought that the tables of results for selected studies as well as the guide for interpreting studies were particularly useful products of this review.

Index: An index of the site can be found here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.