News Roundup: 9th-16th August 2008

Its been another busy week for psychiatry!


A new study published in the journal Psychological Medicine looking at 900,000 schoolchildren found that those who received an E grade had a higher risk of developing schizophrenia. This suggests that in some people who are having difficulties with exams this may be an early sign of developing a psychotic illness. A cautionary note however is that this finding is non-specific. People may have difficulties with exams for a number of reasons and people who do well at school may go on to develop psychosis (STT2). In another study in schizophrenia, the severity of negative symptoms was associated with a score of managing medication (Medication Management Ability Assessment total error – MMAA) (STT1). Enuresis in childhood has been associated with later development of schizophrenia – although it should be emphasised this is an association study and not causal (STT3). A study found ‘Theory of Mind’ deficits in Schizophrenia but also found that the patterns of these deficits differed from one person to another (STT4). Evidence was found for changes in the expression of genes for sphingolipid/glycolipid metabolism in people with schizophrenia (STT5). A study suggests that religious delusions in schizophrenia are a cultural phenomenon. The researchers looked at the frequency of religious delusions in people with schizophrenia in the former east and west germany before german reunification (STT3). In another study, people with schizophrenia were found to be less likely to receive treatment for medical conditions (STT1-2). In first episode psychosis, processing speed was found to be significantly reduced compared to controls and this was related to working memory problems and prognosis at one year (STT4).


A study in Psychological Medicine finds an association between neuroticism in women and early-onset of Alzheimer’s although further research will be required to clarify this relationship (STT3). An association between the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (CHRNA7 – T allele of rs6494223) and delusions in Alzheimer’s Disease is suggested by research published in Neuromolecular Medicine (STT2-4). A recent post-mortem study of 524 people who had dementia showed a breakdown of Alzheimer’s Disease – 42%, vascular dementia – 24%, combined Alzheimer’s and vascular – 22% and fronto-temporal dementia – 4% (STT2). In Nature there is a discussion of gene for regulating Calcium that has been implicated in Alzheimer’s Disease (STT5). ‘Theory of mind’ has been found to be impaired in Alzheimer’s Disease and Frontotemporal Dementia relative to healthy controls (STT4). Red Korean Ginseng at high dose was found to significantly improve scores on the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS) and Clinical Dementia Rating Scale in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. The authors cautioned however that further research with larger numbers was needed to confirm these findings (STT3).

Anxiety Related Disorders

Research indicates that Uganda has the highest prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in the world – estimated at just over 54%. The study was published in June in BMC Psychiatry. Researchers looked at more than 1200 people in 2006 during which time there was a war in northern Uganda (STT 1-2). An association has been found between an ice storm in Quebec (video of stills here) and developmental delay in children born to mothers who were pregnant during the storm. The study which will be published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, looked at 178 mothers and 89 children. Further research will be needed to clarify the links (STT3). In the journal Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, a study followed up children with juvenile dissociative disorder and found that 83% of the people met criteria for a psychiatric disorder (an average of 12 years later). Furthermore just over 25% still experienced a dissociative disorder which is a response to high anxiety levels (STT1).

Liaison Psychiatry

A study by Christodolou and colleagues characterised people who were transferred from medical/surgical beds to a psychiatric ward finding higher rates of mood disorders and specific demographics such as being single, living alone and belonging to a lower socioeconomic class (STT2).


Congratulations to the british men’s cycling team (including team psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters) for their gold in the track racing event. In another story, people have been inspired by olympic athletes and have been changing the settings on their treadmills to match those of the olympians! Needless to say this is potentially risky.


A study looking at smokers and non-smokers associated the pleasurable feeling of smoking and going on to become a smoker with a variation in the nicotine receptor CHRNA5 (having the less common rs16969968 variant) (STT4). Stateside Dr Alan Schatzberg has temporarily stepped down as NIH principal investigator during the ongoing investigation initiated by Senator Charles Grassley into the Pharmaceutical Industries influence in psychiatry. Further details of the recent investigations are reported on in psychiatric news.


STT – steps to treatment.


This should read News Roundup: 9th-15th August 2008 (doh)


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.


  1. hey First Sorry if I used an arabic name Because it is already used from the first time in all English and non English sites.And I just passed by consedince while looking for some articles for my freakin college 🙂 okay anyway nice blog Will check it out Later on ,hope you accept me as a follower. oh yeah will try to visit again 😛 thanks ^^


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