Friday, January 26, 2007

More Photographs from the Do You MIND? Kickoff at Bubbles Mansion

All photographs courtesy of Bill G.

New Comprehensive Tenant Rights Website

A message from Dalhousie Legal Aid:

Dalhousie Legal Aid is proud to announce that we now have a comprehensive tenant rights website. Check us out by clicking here!

You can access our plain language tenant rights guide here, and find out when our tenant rights dropins are around the city. There are also links to government forms as well as the number for our phone info line. We're really excited that now, in addition to our local drop ins and workshops, and along with our tenant info phone line, tenants (and advocates!) from around the province can access information about their rights no matter where they are in the province.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

New Dopamine Brain Target Discovered: Potential Breakthrough for Schizophrenia Treatment

Taken from a January 23rd press release produced by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health:

Toronto, ON, January 23, 2007 – A team of Canadian researchers, lead by Dr. Susan George and Dr. Brian O'Dowd at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), discovered a distinct dopamine signalling complex in the brain. Composed of two different types of dopamine receptors, this novel target may have a significant role in understanding and treating schizophrenia.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (Rashid et al., 2007), this important discovery demonstrates the existence of a Gq/11-coupled signalling unit that triggers a calcium signal, which is turned on by stimulating D1 and D2 dopamine receptors. Unlike other dopamine receptors, this novel unit will only create brain signals when both receptors are stimulated at the same time.

Using animal models. Drs. George and O’Dowd and their team identified this complex by its unique reaction to dopamine or specific drug triggers. Strikingly, stimulating this target with dopamine or specific drugs triggered a rise in calcium in the brain. As calcium has a profound effect on almost all brain function, this rise in calcium causes a cascade of events in the brain. This is the first time that a direct connection between dopamine and calcium signals has been reported.

“This distinct unit provides a novel signalling pathway through which dopamine can impact the function of brain cells”, said Dr. George. “This is significant because signalling through calcium release is a major mechanism regulating many important functions in the brain and we have provided the first direct mechanism by which dopamine can activate a calcium signal.”
This data has significant implications for schizophrenia. Research tells us that people with schizophrenia may have disordered calcium signals, and the major treatments for this disease target the dopamine system. Drs. George and O’Dowd state, "our data links these two pieces of evidence, creating better understanding of the disease and opening the door for a new generation of highly specific drugs that may help alleviate the devastating symptoms of schizophrenia."

For more information on this study view the abstract online by clicking here.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

View Rethink's first ever TV advertisement

"In 30 seconds the ad subtly communicates the existence of stigma around schizophrenia and encourages us to make it a subject that we all should feel at ease to discuss."

Nikki Mugford, Rethink's head of marketing and communications

Friday, January 19, 2007

Halifax artist uses time and talent to battle schizophrenia

Check out this preview for Eastlink Cable 10's program, the 'fax, which was subsequently broadcast, in full, on January 18th.

The preview includes footage from the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia's Do You MIND? kick-off event held on January 7th at Bubbles Mansion.

An update from the Schizophrenia Society of Canada

Check out Schizophrenia Society of Canada's website for the following new additions:

New section on Concurrent Disorders

The Schizophrenia Society of Canada (SSC) aims to optimize recovery and increase the quality of life of people affected by concurrent disorders by providing user-friendly information for individuals living with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, family members, and professionals. We have posted a discussion paper that summarizes our research and consultation to date, and we invite everyone to read the paper and provide us with your feedback via our online discussion board.

New Bursary Program (Building Bridges to the Future)

We are pleased to announce that, as of January 2007, SSC will be assuming the coordination of the RISPERDAL Educational Bursary Program sponsored by Janssen-Ortho Inc. We are excited about being a part of such a positive program and plan to seek other ways to support individuals with schizophrenia and related disorders in their pursuit of educational studies.

The 2007 International Conference on Schizophrenia

The SSC is pleased to partner with the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario and the World Fellowship for Schizophrenia & Allied Disorders to host the Federation’s first International Conference to be held in Canada.

The 2007 International Conference – Lighting the Path: Hope in Action is being hosted in Toronto from September 27 – 30, 2007.

This exciting conference offers a unique opportunity to: learn from international experts; share new approaches to empowering families; exchange ideas and developments with experts and delegates; and discover Toronto – Canada’s largest and most diverse city. Plenary and workshop sessions will centre around three key themes: Recovery and its Challenges; Medical Perspectives; and Culture, Human Rights and Diversity.

Online registration is now open. Visit our Conference Website for details and take advantage of the early registration offer. Space is limited so sign up today! Initiative

Everyone who participated in the initiative has received an e-mail asking them to complete the Health Canada online consultation questionnaire that you all would have heard about by now. This e-mail would have gone to over 1000 individuals! If you have not done so already, be sure to fill out the online consultation questionnaire no later than January 25th.

We are preparing a brief on the need for the Canadian Mental Health Commission to be submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office by January 25th.

Annual Tribute Luncheon

Plans for our Annual Tribute Luncheon on March 8th are well underway. We are organizing a two-hour Research Forum to be held on the morning of March 8th. Dr. Remi Quirion (2007 recipient of SSC Pacesetter Award) will join us for this event. We will be looking at priorities for research funding for the next 2-3 years, and exploring ways to enhance our research program overall.

New Shared Mission Statement

Stay tuned for the Launch of our new shared Mission Statement … you will hear more about this in the days to come.

Note: The Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia began using the new shared Mission Statement on January 1, 2007 (see the wording under the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia banner at the top of this blog).

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Government of Canada wants your opinion on the proposed Canadian Mental Health Commission!

The federal government is conducting an online consultation to gather Canadians’ opinions on the proposal to create a Canadian Mental Health Commission. The consultation consists of a brief questionnaire that asks about your thoughts on the need for a Commission.

The deadline for completing the questionnaire is January 25th.

This is an important opportunity to register support for the Canadian Mental Health Commission and we encourage everyone who is concerned with and impacted by mental health and illness issues to participate.

Health Canada Online Consultation Page

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Study Testing Schizophrenia Treatment For Teens

Clinical Trials Rarely Include Kids Or Adolescents

A January 12th news article and video clip from CBS2 in Chicago describes a new clinical trial for teens diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Religious Beliefs in Schizophrenia: Their Relevance for Adherence to Treatment

Borras et al. write in Schizophrenia Bulletin Advance Access published online on January 9, 2007:

The study examined how religious beliefs and practices impact upon medication and illness representations in chronic schizophrenia. One hundred three stabilized patients were included in Geneva's outpatient public psychiatric facility in Switzerland. Interviews were conducted to investigate spiritual and religious beliefs and religious practices and religious coping. Medication adherence was assessed through questions to patients and to their psychiatrists and by a systematic blood drug monitoring.

Thirty-two percent of patients were partially or totally nonadherent to oral medication. Fifty-eight percent of patients were Christians, 2% Jewish, 3% Muslim, 4% Buddhist, 14% belonged to various minority or syncretic religious movements, and 19% had no religious affiliation.

Two thirds of the total sample considered spirituality as very important or even essential in everyday life. Fifty-seven percent of patients had a representation of their illness directly influenced by their spiritual beliefs (positively in 31% and negatively in 26%). Religious representations of illness were prominent in nonadherent patients. Thirty-one percent of nonadherent patients and 27% of partially adherent patients underlined an incompatibility or contradiction between their religion and taking medication, versus 8% of adherent patients.

Religion and spirituality contribute to shaping representations of disease and attitudes toward medical treatment in patients with schizophrenia. This dimension should be on the agenda of psychiatrists working with patients with schizophrenia.