Schizophrenia News: May 2013

  • The nose knows:


    Researchers from Tel Aviv University (TAU) in Israel conducted a study that indicates collecting neurons from the nose could become a tool to diagnose schizophrenia.


    To do so, the researchers tested microRNA molecules in neurons removed from the nose via a simple biopsy.


    As of right now, the only way to test for schizophrenia is to sample cells taken from the brain in an autopsy.


    This new study involved collecting olfactory neurons from individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia and a control group of  individuals without the medical condition.  The researchers ran the neurons through high-throughput sequencers that can scan the microRNA molecules in the cells.  MicroRNA molecules help to regulate gene expression.

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    The nose neurons of the schizophrenia patients had much higher levels of a microRNA called miR-382 compared with the healthy controls.


    A clinical test using this method could involve taking a small biopsy with a local anesthetic in an outpatient procedure.  This profiling could be ready in hours.


    Before this test can come to market the researchers would need to figure out whether the changes to microRNA expression begin before or after the person experiences schizophrenia symptoms.


    The test would be a critical diagnostic tool to help early detection if the change happens before, or near the beginning, of the onset of the illness.  It could lead to early intervention and a better outcome.


    (Schizophrenia may be diagnosed by testing nerve cells from the nose, retrieved on May 23, 2012 from

    Prejudice masquerades as stigma:


    A survey of 275 doctors and nurses revealed health care providers respond to patient's physical problems differently when the individual has schizophrenia.

    Indeed: the 62 psychiatrists in the study also were biased against the schizophrenia patients. 


    Providers in each category were less likely to refer a hypothetical patient to a weight-reduction program if he had schizophrenia.  The study participants expected the individual diagnosed with schizophrenia to be less likely to adhere to treatment, less competent to make treatment decisions, and less likely to function well socially, against the patient who did not have schizophrenia.


    In the real world: World Health Organization data shows that the range of nonadherence rates in persons with schizophrenia is no different from those of persons with other chronic illnesses.


    Psychiatrists and primary cares nurses were more likely than primary care doctors or psychiatric nurses to expect the individual with schizophrenia not to understand education materials as well as the person without schizophrenia.  This by a margin of 19 percent among psychiatrists and 12 percent among primary care nurses.


    In the real world too:


    A 2012 study found that 75 percent of those individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia function in society as well as those individuals that do not have this medical condition.  Only 25 percent have poor long-term outcomes and lower functioning (Schizophr. Bull. 2012 Dec. 7 [doi:10.1093/schbull/sbs135]


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    The researchers suggest more studies are also needed to determine the extent that negative views of mental illness might influence the quality of clinical care.


    (Disparity found in physical care of schizophrenia patients, retrieved from Clinical Psychiatry News Digital Network on May 23, 2013 from


Published On: May 23, 2013