Friday, May 28, 2010

Tinkerbell, Edwina, and Long-Term Outcomes, Part I

An article posted on May 27th by Psychology Today:
Is recovery really possible?

By Larry Davidson, Ph.D.

If so many people recover from serious mental illnesses, why is it that we don't see them? This is one of the most common questions raised by mental health professionals when confronted with the long-term outcome literature, at least in my experience. That literature suggests that between 45-65% of people diagnosed with schizophrenia - the most severe of the severe mental illnesses - will recover from the disorder over time. This literature has now been around, and consistently replicated, since the 1970's, but still has not made its way into the training of most mental health professionals. So, many mental health professionals, when exposed to this body of research, ask the question above. If so many people get better, then why don't I ever see them? A reasonable enough question, to be sure, and one for which we fortunately have several answers.

To read the entire article, please click here.

Also see:

Tinkerbell, Edwina, and Long-Term Outcomes, Part II

Photo credit

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A national settlement has been proposed in the Zyprexa class action

Please click on the images to magnify them.

To view a high resolution version of the second document, please click here.

Also see:


From Poyner Baxter LLP:

May 21, 2010

A national settlement has been proposed in the Zyprexa class action. This settlement cannot proceed until it has received court approval. The dates scheduled for the court settlement approval hearings are June 8, 2010 in Ontario, June 14, 2010 in Quebec and June 15, 2010 in British Columbia.


To view the full legal notice, click here.

To view the proposed settlement agreement, click here.

A further notice will be published once the settlement has been approved by the courts which will explain how individuals can make a claim.

For further information email or phone 604 988-6321.

This Web site is offered for information only and is not legal advice. Use of the site and sending or receiving information through it does not establish an attorney-client relationship. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon this information without seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. In particular, you should obtain advice about limitation periods as it may affect your right to bring a legal action on your own behalf. Links to and from from this Web site do not state or imply a relationship between Poyner Baxter LLP and the linked entity.

From Siskinds LLP:
UPDATE (May 21, 2010): We are pleased to announce that a settlement has been reached in this action:
The next step is to have the settlement approved by the courts. Settlement approval hearings have been scheduled for Ontario on June 8 , 2010, Quebec on June 14, 2010, and British Columbia on June 15, 2010.
Once the settlement has been approved by each of the courts, a further notice will be published which will explain the steps for making a claim.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rethinking Mental Disorders

An article posted May 20th on

By Kristina Chew

Psychiatric or mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and psychosis are better understood and treated as 'disorders of the brain' according to an article by Tom Insel, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, and Philip Wang, M.D., Deputy Director of NIMH. The article, Rethinking Mental Illness, is published in the May 19th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The authors note that, while there have been many 'insights gained from genetics and neuroscience'---such as twin studies that show high heritability for autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder---such research explains only a 'fraction of the heritability' of mental disorders. (For instance, some182 genes have been identified as linked to eating disorders, and some 100 to autism.) These should rather be seen as 'disorders of brain circuits':

"The genetics of mental illness may really be the genetics of brain development, with different out comes possible, depending on the biological and environmental context."

Other advances in the field of genetics contribute to a reconceptualization of mental disorders. Epigenetics looks at the inherited changes in gene expression caused that are caused by something other than than changes in the underlying DNA sequence; Insel and Wang note that:

"The same twin studies that point to high heritability also demonstrate the limits of genetics: environmental factors must be important for mental disorders......The advent of epigenomics [the study of the factors that control genes], which can detect the molecular effects of experience, may provide a powerful approach for understanding the critical effects of early-life events and environment on adult patterns of behavior."

Further, the authors write that the behavioral and cognitive symptoms that indicate 'mental illness' may actually be the 'late stages' of neurological processes that, if detected at early stages, might be better and more fully treated:

"As a result, interventions, rather than being ameliorative or rehabilitative, could become preemptive or even preventive. But this transformation in diagnosis and treatment, which can be informed by recent progress in cardiovascular disease and cancer, will depend on an intense focus on the genetics and circuitry underlying mental illness to ensure new approaches to detecting risk, validating diagnosis, and developing novel interventions that may be based on alter ing plasticity or retuning circuitry rather than neurotransmitter pharmacology."

As an example, in the past several years, autism has gone from being seen as a psychiatric, and even psychogenic, disorder, to a neurological/neurodevelopmental one, with significant consequences in how autism is conceived of, treated and, too, perceived by the public. Autism was once thought to be caused by bad parenting, by 'refrigerator mothers' who were emotionally withdrawn and 'cold,' and therefore did not 'bond' with their children, who 'withdrew into autism'; the damage wrought to families and individuals by these misconceptions is unmeasurable. Seeing autism as a neurodevelopmental disorder---due, perhaps, to 'abnormalities' in synapses in the brain does change how autistic individuals are see by others.

Similarly, understanding that an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa is biologically based rather than simply putting the blame on parents, on our society's and culture's equating being thin with success, has significant changes on treatment and, again, understanding, and this can make a huge difference in people's (parents, for sure) lives. Societal factors do play a role, but seeing anorexia as biologically based---a recent study of brain imaging has found neurocircuit dysregulation in anorexics---can have real changes for people's lives and, hopefully, for the ultimate outcomes of those diagnosed with these conditions.

Also see:

NIMH Builds New Framework for Understanding Mental Illness

Image credit

Neurocognition and Social Cognition in Schizophrenia Patients: Basic Concepts and Treatment

Please click here to read the description of this book.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Duration of untreated psychosis is associated with more negative schizophrenia symptoms after acute treatment for first-episode psychosis

The abstract of an article published in the March 1st edition of
Clinical Psychologist

By Niklas Granö, Jenni Lindsberg, Marjaana Karjalainen, Peter Grönroos, and Ari-Pekka Blomberg

Evidence of association between duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) and negative symptoms of schizophrenia in first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients is inconsistent in the recent literature. In the present study, DUP, schizophrenia symptoms, duration of medication, and diagnosis were obtained from hospital archives in a sample of FEP patients. The sample included 41 first-episode patients who had an ICD-10 schizophrenia spectrum diagnosis (F20-F29) and were treated with antipsychotic medication. Longer duration in days from the first psychotic symptoms to the initiation of antipsychotic medication had a statistically significant positive correlation with mean level of negative symptoms (Spearman's ρ = .38; p < .05). Results suggests that DUP is associated with a higher level of negative symptoms after the onset of adequate antipsychotic treatment. This should be considered in the care of FEP.

Keywords: duration of untreated psychosis; first-episode psychosis; negative symptoms

Posting of this abstract is for the purposes of research into psychosis and schizophrenia.

Monday, May 10, 2010

2010 Road to Recovery Walkathon

Held on Saturday, May 8th, 2010

It's not to late to make a donation!

The Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia’s

2nd Annual Road to Recovery Walkathon

Your participation increased the public’s awareness of schizophrenia and helped raise over $27,500 to support the extensive and crucial work of the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia. THANK YOU!

This year, in addition to the regular pledge sheets, we had online pledging! Walkers were able to set up their own pledge website, send e-mails to friends to request that they to make a pledge for them online, track their online pledges, and much more. To view the online pledging, please visit the 2nd Annual Road to Recovery Walkathon website by clicking here.

Stephen Ayer, executive director of the SSNS, welcoming the walkers.

Learning the chants from Cecilia McRae (left) and Donna Methot!

The 2010 Road to Recovery walkers posing for a group photograph.

The start of the five-kilometre Road to Recovery walk.

On the Road to Recovery!

Preparing for the auction!

Please click on any photograph to enlarge it. Photographs Kim Clark and Guy Methot.

The 3rd Annual Road to Recovery Walkathon will be held on Saturday, May 7th, 2011. For further information, please contact Donna Methot at 462-8658 or send an email to

SSNS – Recovery is Possible!

2010 Major Sponsors

2010 Gift-In-Kind Sponsors

Randy Ross

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Province to build housing for mentally ill

An article published in today's edition of The Chronicle Herald:
The Nova Scotia government is spending $8.6 million on new housing units for people recovering from mental illness.

The government says the units are for people who are moving from inpatient care into the community.

The four community living units will consist of 10 bedrooms and living space.

The province says they will be built on the Nova Scotia Hospital property in the Halifax suburb of Dartmouth.

The Capital District Health Authority and the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia are contributing about $1.7 million, bringing the total cost of the project to $10.3 million.

Construction is scheduled to begin this summer.

How many times will the Government of Nova Scotia announce funding for the same project?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Media Advisory from the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia

The Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia’s 2nd Annual Road to Recovery Walkathon

Halifax, May 6th, 2010

The Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia is holding its 2nd Annual Road to Recovery Walkathon on Saturday, May 8th, 2010. The five-kilometre walk begins at 1:00 pm at the Halifax Curling Club, 948 South Bland Street, proceeds north on South Park Street and Bell Road, south on Robie Street, and finishes by returning to the Halifax Curling Club at 2:30 pm via Inglis Street. From 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm there will be refreshments, the presentation of prizes, and entertainment by Stand Up For Mental Health comedians Owen Redden and Shan MacDonald. The guest speaker is Cecilia McRae, president of the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia.

Schizophrenia is not a split personality. It is a complex biochemical brain disorder characterized by one defining symptom – a loss of touch with reality (psychosis). Schizophrenia directly affects 1% of Nova Scotians at some point in their lifetime, and indirectly affects substantially more family members and friends. It is a highly treatable illness that influences the way a person thinks, acts, and perceives their world. With treatment, the majority of people with schizophrenia significantly recover. And the prognosis is getting better as research on the illness progresses, as treatments become more readily available, as people get help earlier, and as mental health laws recognize the urgent requirement for compassionate and effective involuntary treatment.

The Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia provides a community-based network of knowledgeable and dedicated volunteers so desperately needed by many individuals directly affected by schizophrenia, as well as their family members, friends, colleagues, and communities. Held during Mental Health Week, the Road to Recovery Walkathon is an opportunity for the greater community to get involved and to help reduce the stigma so often associated with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

All proceeds from the Road to Recovery Walkathon go to the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia to support the delivery of its crucial and extensive programs and services. For further information, to make a donation, or to make a pledge on behalf of one of the many walkers, visit


Cecilia McRae, Owen Redden, Shan MacDonald, and Stephen Ayer will be available for interviews during the event.

For additional information or to schedule an interview contact:

Dr. Stephen Ayer
Executive Director
Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia
(902) 465-2601