Schizophrenia News: August 2013

  • A 10-year longitudinal study linked onset pattern and long-term prognosis in individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia.


    The study surveyed a total of 664 patients with untreated psychosis. At first examination, they were divided into severe positive symptoms cases (SC) or less severe cases (NonSC).  The prognosis among the two groups was compared after a 10-year follow-up.  113 people in the SC group and 43 in the NonSC group were follow-up completers.


    The results: Individuals with nonacute onset in both groups had significantly longer DUP (duration of untreated psychosis) than those in patients with acute onset. 

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    This study indicates that long DUP and nonacute onset were related to poor long-term prognosis regardless of initial positive symptoms.


    (Onset Pattern and Long-Term Prognosis in Schizophrenia: 10-Year Longitudianl Follow-Up Study, retrieved on July 12, 2013 from


    A biological link has been uncovered between schizophrenia and intellectual disorders like autism.  The investigation is one of the first to reveal the genetic underpinning of schizophrenia.


    The study was published in Nature Neuroscience.


    Lead author is Dr. Aarno Palotie, a geneticist with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland.


    He suggests:


    "This is a tremendous discovery for our team; not only have we uncovered vital information about the biology behind schizophrenia, but we have also linked this same biological process to a disorder associated with learning difficulties."


    Palotie's study was conducted in his home country of Finland.  The researchers discovered rare mutations in a gene called TOP3B.


    Though this mutation-a deletion in the DNA region encompassing TOP3B was only apparent in Finnish schizophrenic populations and not the rest of Europe, it is possible that other variants of the TOP3B gene are linked to this disease.


    This rare TOP3B mutation was seen in a significant number of Finns with intellectual disabilities too. 


    Biochemical experiments showed that TOP3B interacts with a protein called FMRP; FMRP is lost in the genetic disorder of fragile X syndrome, the leading cause of inherited forms of autism and the most common cause of mental retardation among boys.


    (Autism, Schizophrenia and Cognitive Impairment Linked by Single Gene Mutation, retrieved on August 11, 2013 from


    A new drug is in the pipeline to treat schizophrenia and bipolar mania.


    Forest Pharmaceuticals expects a decision from the FDA before year's end on the go-ahead to sell cariprazine in the U.S.


    The drug at 6-9 mg/day proved superior to placebo in five groupings: negative symptoms, positive symptoms, uncontrolled hostility/excitement, disorganized thought and anxiety/depression. 


    At 3-6 mg/day, the drug outperformed placebo in all groupings except negative symptoms, where a trend favoring the drug fell short of statistical significance.


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    (Cariprazine performs well for schizophrenia, bipolar mania, retrieved on june 12, 2013 from

Published On: August 11, 2013