Schizophrenia News: April 2013

  • The Independent, a UK newspaper, reports that "tens of thousands" of people with schizophrenia are discriminated from obtaining employment in that country.


    A report by the Work Foundation indicates only eight percent of the people diagnosed with schizophrenia are in paid employment compared with 71 percent of the general population.


    Seven out of 10 people with this illness felt they were stigmatized because of a lack of understanding, stigma, fear and discrimination towards individuals with schizophrenia.


    The report, Working with Schizophrenia, details that people with schizophrenia in paid employment are over five times more likely to achieve remission from this condition than those who are unemployed or in unpaid employment.

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    (Job applicants with schizophrenia facing  'discrimination,' retrieved on February 18, 2013 from . . .)


    According to a new study: white European individuals with schizophrenia are at greater risk for being treatment-resistant compared to other ethnicities.


    497 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorders were measured for treatment response and medication history was taken from medical health records.


    Overall, 30 percent of the participants were treatment-resistant via American Psychiatric Association criteria.  Only 19 percent of non-white Europeans were treatment-resistant compared to 37 percent of white Europeans who were. 


    Thus, being of white European ethnicity correlated into a 1.78-fold increased risk for treatment resistance.


    (Ethnicity strongly tied to treatment-resistant schizophrenia, retrieved on February 18, 2013 from . . .)


    The benefits of art therapy are mixed according to a new study.


    Professor Mike Crawford of Imperial College London, UK and researchers examined the benefits of group art therapy for 417 adults with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.


    For one year, patients received either group art therapy or non-art group activities or standard care.  the art therapy involved mixed art media the individuals were told to use "to express themselves freely."


    The other group activities were board games, watching and talking about DVDs, and visiting local cafes.


    After two years, overall functioning, social functioning and mental health symptoms were similar between the groups.  The patients attending the art therapy group were more likely to attend sessions compared to those offered a place in an activity group. 


    Yet the levels of attendance at both types of group were low, with 39 percent of the art therapy attendees and 48 percent of activity group attendees not attending any sessions.


    The researchers write in the British Medical Journal that "While we cannot rule out the possibility that group art therapy benefits a minority of people who are highly motivated to use this treatment, we did not find evidence that it leads to improved patient outcomes when offered to most people with schizophrenia."


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    In their study, art therapy, "did not improve global functioning, mental health or other health related outcomes."  They suggest art therapy be targeted to those individuals most likely to make use of it.


    (Art therapy: beneficial schizophrenia treatmenet? retrieved on March 9, 2013 from . . .)


    The FDA has approved Abilify Maintena for schizophrenia: an extended-release injectable suspension of aripiprazole.  This drug is a once-monthly intramuscular depot injection targeted for the treatment of schizophrenia.


    Abilify Maintena will be available in 300mg and 400mg strength vials of lyophilized powder for reconstitution.


    (Abilify Maintena Approved for Schizophrenia, retrieved on March 7, 2013 from . . .)


    In a study of more than 100 patients: adding the dietary supplements folate and vitamin B12 to treatment with antipsychotic medication improved a core schizophrenia symptom component.


    Negative symptoms like apathy, social withdrawl and a lack of emotional expressiveness were focused on in the study.  The level of improvement across all participants was modest yet results were more significant in individuals carrying specific variants in genes involved with folate metabolism.


    (Folate and Vitamin B12 reduce disabling schizophrenia symptoms in some patients, retrieved on March 7, 2013 from . . .)

Published On: April 22, 2013