Schizophrenia News: March 2013

  • In recent news:


    Estrogen is thought to have a protective role in schizophrenia for women.  Researchers discovered morphological differences between pre-and postmenopausal women with this illness.


    The magnetic resonance imaging study showed postmenopausal women had more gray matter volume reduction than premenopausal women.  This occurred at the left middle frontal gyrus.


    According to Yoshiro Okubo (Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan) and colleagues, the findings suggest: "the effect of menopause on brain structural changes in schizophrenia patients could be attributable to the loss of the protective effect of estrogen against the pathophysiology of schizophrenia."

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    The theory that estrogen plays a protective role might partly explain why women with schizophrenia have fewer morphological brain changes than men with this medical condition.  It also might account for my women with this illness have a second peak of onset around 45-54 years of age (in the premenopausal phase).


    The reports might indicate "that postmenopausal patients are at a more advanced stage of progression," according to the researchers.


    (Menopausal brain changes support estrogen's protective role in schizophrenia, retrieved on February 18, 2013 from . . .)


    Researchers measured treatment response in 497 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.  30 percent of the participants were discovered to be treatment-resisant according to American Psychiatric Association criteria.


    White European patients were at greater risk than other ethnicities for being treatment-resistant, with a 1.78-fold increased risk.


    In the study, participants who were treatment-resistant had a much longer duration of illness than the ones who didn't, at 21 years versus 15 years.  A significant link occurred between a high number of hospitalizations and non-resistant status.


    Researchers suggested that African-Americans had a lower rate of treatment-resistance because they are more likely to be given depot or long-acting injectable medications at higher doses, thus lowering their chances of developing resistance.


    (Pedersen, T. (2013).  Ethnicity Strongly Tied to Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia. Psych Central.  Retrieved on February 18, 2013, from


    In another study: first-episode schizophrenia patients have more positive and fewer negative symptoms than those patients with chronic schizophrenia.  They are more likely to report childhood sexual abuse as well.


    Zhimin Xue (Central South University, Changsha, China) and colleagues reported in Early Intervention in Psychiatry: "More severe positive and less severe negative symptoms distinctively characterize first-episode schizophrenia, suggesting that these differences in symptom patterns are inherent features of the different phases of the illness."


    The researchers suggest these differences might reflect biological changes in the illness, the prolonged impact of medication, withdrawal or a consistent behavioral response.


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    128 patients with first-episode schizophrenia of an illness duration of less than 18 months, and 571 chronic schizophrenia patients of an illness duration greater than 24 months  were studied.


    First-episode individuals had a higher rate of childhood sexual abuse, at 27.3 percent versus 19.8 percent for the chronic patients.


    The study authors conclude: "Future interventions should focus on the adequate care of families; more effective, rehabilitative treatment for negative symptoms; as well as the mitigation of childhood trauma, in an effort to avoid the incidence of chronic disability."


    (Symptom Profile Changes Between First-Episode and Chronic Schizophrenia, retrieved on March 4, 2013 from




    The FDA approved once-monthly Abilify for schizophrenia.  The once-monthly  injectable form of Ability will be sold by Japanese drugmaker Otsuka and Danish drug group Lundbeck.


    Only a healthcare professional will be able to give the injectable version because it comes in a "cake" form that must be diluted with sterile water for injection.


    (FDA approves once-monthly Abilify for schizophrenia, retrieved on March 4,, 2013 from

Published On: March 24, 2013