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March 9, 2019 by Lewis Mehl-Madrona and Barbara Mainguy

Results of an Integrative Medicine and Psychotherapy Approach to Patients with Psychosis

(Morressier) –

Background and Aims: Some patients with the diagnosis of a psychotic disorder wish to minimize or avoid medications. They are seeking a recovery model with the aim of maximizing independence and healing.

Methods: We report qualitative and quantitative data on a group of 69 motivated adult patients with psychosis as a proof of concept study — that management with minimal or no medication is possible for some.

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March 1, 2019 by Hannah Emerson |

Researchers Make the Case to Rename Schizophrenia

The authors outline reasons for renaming schizophrenia and the way a change can reform practice.

( – A recent editorial, published in Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, makes an argument for getting rid of the schizophrenia diagnosis, listing five reasons for the change, five signals of change, five challenges of change, five promises of change, and five steps for change. The authors argue that changing the name for schizophrenia is a necessary step to modernize psychiatry and mental health services worldwide.

“Renaming a particular form of mental suffering should be accompanied by a broader debate of the entire diagnosis-evidence-based-practice (EBP)-symptom-reduction model as the normative factor driving the content and organization of mental health services that may be detached from patients’ needs and reality, overlooks the trans-syndromal structure of mental difficulties, appraises the significance of the technical features over the relational and ritual components of care, and underestimates the lack of EBP group-to-individual generalizability,” write the authors, Sinan Guloksuz and Jim van Os.

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February 25, 2019 by JONATHAN LAMBERT |

Greener Childhood Associated With Happier Adulthood

( – The experience of natural spaces, brimming with greenish light, the smells of soil and the quiet fluttering of leaves in the breeze can calm our frenetic modern lives. It’s as though our very cells can exhale when surrounded by nature, relaxing our bodies and minds.

Some people seek to maximize the purported therapeutic effects of contact with the unbuilt environment by embarking on sessions of forest bathing, slowing down and becoming mindfully immersed in nature.

But in a rapidly urbanizing world, green spaces are shrinking as our cities grow out and up. Scientists are working to understand how green spaces, or lack of them, can affect our mental health.

A study published Monday in the journal PNAS details what the scientists say is the largest investigation of the association between green spaces and mental health.

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February 20, 2019 by Neuroscience News

Potential Link Between Vitamin D Deficiency and Loss of Brain Plasticity

(Neuroscience News) – Summary: Researchers report vitamin D levels affect perineuronal nets in the hippocampus. The study found vitamin D deficiency resulted in a significant decline in memory and learning in mouse models.

Source: University of Queensland.

University of Queensland research may explain why vitamin D is vital for brain health, and how deficiency leads to disorders including depression and schizophrenia.

Associate Professor Thomas Burne at UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute led the studies, which provide the groundwork for research into better prevention and treatments.

“Over a billion people worldwide are affected by vitamin D deficiency, and there is a well-established link between vitamin D deficiency and impaired cognition,” Dr Burne said.

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February 19, 2019 by Michael Vlessides |

Adolescent Cannabis Use Tied To Depression, Suicidal Thoughts

(Medscape) – Cannabis consumption during adolescence is associated with increased risk for depression and suicidal thoughts/attempts during young adulthood, new research suggests.

The systematic review and meta-analysis included 11 studies and more than 23,300 adolescents and teens. Results showed that the cannabis users were 37% more likely to develop depression in young adulthood than their non-using counterparts.

Similarly, the pooled odds ratios (ORs) for suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts were 1.50 and 3.46, respectively, for the adolescent cannabis users compared with non-users.

“Many studies have been previously published looking into the relationship between cannabis and things like depression, psychosis, schizophrenia, and cognitive disorder; but nobody has previously performed a meta-analysis where all these data were combined,” principal investigator Gabriella Gobbi, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, told Medscape Medical News.

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February 17, 2019 by Bernalyn Ruiz |

Exploring Alternate Pathways to Voice-Hearing

Authors propose various pathways to the phenomena of voice-hearing in clinical and nonclinical populations.

A team of researchers led by Dr. Tanya Luhrmann of Stanford University explored the various pathways to voice-hearing among clinical and nonclinical populations in a new article in Schizophrenia Bulletin. They propose that while trauma may at times play a major role, it may also play a minor or no role in experiences voice-hearing.

Research has shown that trauma can play a role in increasing risk for voice-hearing. Theorists also suggest the following relationships: trauma can serve as a biological, biopsychosocial, and/or psychological stressor or trigger, trauma can influence the voice content, and trauma-associated dissociation experienced by the individual may create or maintain hallucinations.

The authors of the present study highlight that the method in which trauma is operationalized across studies has varied extensively (e.g., use of various trauma scales or definition of trauma in diagnostic manuals (DSM-IV vs DSM-V).  Additionally, there exists an implicit assumption of the existence of a causal pathway between trauma and hallucinations, when in fact trauma is often experienced within the context of various other risk factors such as concussion and brain injuries. While experiences of trauma globally are about 70%, rates of psychosis are less than 1%.

This study sought to explore the various pathways to voice-hearing among clinical and non-clinical populations (excepting experiences due to known etiological factors such as drug use, sensory deprivation, epilepsy, etc.). The authors suggest that trauma can play a major role in some hallucinations, a minor role in many, or no role in other hallucinations.

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February 13, 2019 by Jessica Janze |

New Study Investigates Cannabidiol (CBD) for Psychosis

A new study examines the effects of CBD as an adjunct therapy to antipsychotic medication for patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.

( – A new study, published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, investigates potential antipsychotic properties of cannabidiol (CBD) in patients with schizophrenia. The results of the randomized, placebo-controlled study indicate CBD may lower positive psychotic symptoms and improve cognitive performance and overall functioning. Patients who received CBD, versus the placebo, were more likely to be rated as improved by their treating clinician.

“Although the magnitude of the effect on positive symptoms was modest, it was seen in patients who were already being treated with antipsychotic medication at appropriate dosages; the improvement was thus over and above the effect of antipsychotic treatment,” the researchers, led by Philip McGuire at King’s College London, write.

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February 8, 2019 by Bernalyn Ruiz |

Non-Pharmacological Interventions More Effective For Health in Schizophrenia

Review compares the effectiveness of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for improving physical health outcomes in people diagnosed with schizophrenia.

( – A study recently published in World Psychiatry reviewed meta-analyses of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for improving physical health outcomes for people diagnosed with schizophrenia. The study authors found that non-pharmacological interventions were more effective than pharmacological interventions for weight reduction and overall health, with individual lifestyle counseling as the most effective.

“People with schizophrenia have substantially poorer physical health than the general population, which is often attributed to an interaction between social circumstances, lifestyle factors and treatment effects,” the authors write.

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January 21, 2019 by Peter Simons |

Better Outcomes Off Medication for Those Recovered from First-Episode Schizophrenia

( – A new study has found that of 10 people who were fully recovered from their first episode of schizophrenia (FES), those not taking antipsychotics did better in terms of cognitive, social, and role functioning—and reached full recovery more quickly. The research was led by Susie Fu at the University of Oslo, Norway. It was published in Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes.

According to Fu, “The findings challenge some of the views about medication treatment of FES patients. For a subgroup of FES patients, continuous medication treatment is not necessary for maintaining low levels of symptoms. These patients show sustained good functioning once fully recovered.”

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January 17, 2019 by Benedict Carey | The New York Times

Does Cannabis Use Cause Schizophrenia?

As the drug becomes more popular, concerns have been raised that its use can lead to psychotic disorders. Here’s what scientists know for sure, and what they don’t.

(The New York Times) – Nearly a century after the film “Reefer Madness” alarmed the nation, some policymakers and doctors are again becoming concerned about the dangers of marijuana, although the reefers are long gone.

Experts now distinguish between the “new cannabis” — legal, highly potent, available in tabs, edibles and vapes — and the old version, a far milder weed passed around in joints. Levels of T.H.C., the chemical that produces marijuana’s high, have been rising for at least three decades, and it’s now possible in some states to buy vape cartridges containing little but the active ingredient.

The concern is focused largely on the link between heavy usage and psychosis in young people. Doctors first suspected a link some 70 years ago, and the evidence has only accumulated since then. In a forthcoming book, “Tell Your Children,” Alex Berenson, a former Times reporter, argues that legalization is putting a generation at higher risk of schizophrenia and other psychotic syndromes. Critics, including leading researchers, have called the argument overblown, and unfaithful to the science.

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