Posts Tagged ‘mental health’

Scottish Scientists develop 98% accurate simple eye test for detecting Schizophrenia

Friday, November 9th, 2012

In todays Scotsman they report that a team of scientists in Scotland have developed a simple eye test to detect Schizophrenia. A condition that is affecting more and more people.

SCIENTISTS have discovered an almost 100 per cent accurate method to detect whether a person has schizophrenia – a simple sight test.

Impaired eye movement has long been thought to be associated with schizophrenia.

Now a new Scottish study has reported a model of testing that demonstrates 98 per cent accuracy in distinguishing between those with and without 
schizophrenia.

Using “simple viewing tests”, researchers at Aberdeen University explored the ability of eye movement tests to sort schizophrenics from healthy people.

Those with schizophrenia showed well-documented deficits in ability to track slow-moving objects smoothly with their eyes. Schizophrenics also found it more difficult to maintain a steady gaze.

The study was led by Dr Philip Benson and Professor David St Clair, and involved a range of eye tests where volunteers were asked to track slow-moving objects slowly with their eyes (known as smooth pursuit); inspect a variety of everyday scenes (free viewing); and given instructions to keep a steady gaze on a single, unmoving target (fixation tasks).

Their findings could speed up detection of the condition and they are now examining whether the tests can be used for earlier intervention in major mental illness.

Dr Benson said: “It has been known for over a hundred years that individuals with psychotic illnesses have a variety of eye movement abnormalities but until our study, using a novel battery of tests, no one 
thought the abnormalities were sensitive enough to be used as potential clinical diagnostic 
biomarkers.

“In smooth pursuit, people with schizophrenia have well-documented deficits in the 
ability to track slow-moving objects smoothly with their eyes. Their eye movements tend to fall behind the moving object and then catch up with the moving object using rapid eye 
movements.

“In the free-viewing test, whereas most individuals follow a typical pattern with their gaze as they scan the picture, those with schizophrenia follow an abnormal pattern and, in 
the fixation task, individuals with schizophrenia found it more difficult to maintain a steady gaze.”

Several methods were then used to model the data, and the accuracy of each of the created algorithms was tested by using eye-test data from another group of cases and controls. Combining all the data, one of the models achieved 98 per cent accuracy.

Professor St Clair added: “Typical neuropsychological assessments are time-consuming, expensive and require highly trained individuals to administer. In comparison, these eye tests are simple, cheap and take only minutes to conduct.

“This means that a predictive model with such precision could potentially be incorporated in clinics and hospitals to aid physicians by augmenting traditional symptom-based diagnostic criteria.”

The Scottish research is published in the November issue of the academic journal Biological Psychiatry.

TakeOmega3 is used by a number of Psychaitrists as an adjunctive therapy with schizophrenia. Used alongside prescription medication it is believed to enhance the benefits of these drugs as well as counteract some of the negative side effects. For any omega3 to be of benefit with this and other mental health conditions it needs to be high in EPA and low in DHA – ie no more 8% DHA to EPA. TakeOmega3 is a

Omega3 fish oil EPA as effective as Prozac in the treatment of medium to major depression

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

EPA Plus Prozac Better Than Either Treatment Alone for Major Depression

Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LC-PUFAs) have been used as an adjunct therapy in treating patients with major depressive disorder with mixed, but often encouraging, results. A meta-analysis of placebo-controlled trials concluded that n-3 PUFAs have significant antidepressant effects, but there are insufficient data to distinguish whether combined treatment with the two major n-3 LC-PUFAs in fish oils, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), or each fatty acid given individually provides greater benefit. Studies have tended to find positive results with EPA rather than DHA and a rationale for this observation has been suggested. In most, if not all, trials to date, n-3 LC-PUFAs have been provided in conjunction with current antidepressant medications. Difficulties with patient compliance, unwanted or adverse side effects of medications and resistance to treatment make treating depression especially challenging.

In this study, Shima Jazayeri and colleagues at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran sought to evaluate the effectiveness of fluoxetine (Prozac), EPA or a combination of them in patients with major depressive disorder as indicated by Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores of 15 or greater. Patients did not have other psychiatric disorders or any other significant medical problems or substance abuse. They were not taking n-3 PUFA supplements nor eating more than one serving of fish/week. All participants were free of medication for at least 6 weeks prior to enrolment.

Sixty patients were recruited from referrals to the Roozbeh Psychiatric Hospital in Tehran and randomized to consume 20 mg of fluoxetine or 1 g EPA or a combination daily for 8 weeks. Each participant consumed either a fluoxetine placebo or a rapeseed oil placebo to mimic the type of capsules taken in each group. No placebo-only group was included for ethical reasons. Patients were assessed by the Hamilton Scales at baseline and every 2 weeks thereafter. Of the 60 patients enrolled, 48 completed at least 4 weeks of the study.

Over the course of the 8-week study, all patient groups exhibited significant reductions in their Hamilton depression scores as early as 2 weeks from baseline. Scores for patients treated with fluoxetine or EPA did not differ throughout the study. At 4 and 6 weeks, those consuming both EPA and fluoxetine showed a significantly greater improvement in their Hamilton ratings (as determined by analysis of covariance) compared with either treatment alone. Depression scores continued to improve from the 4th to the 8th week. Response rates for achieving at least a 50% reduction in depression score were 50% for fluoxetine, 56% for EPA and 81% for those taking both fluoxetine and EPA. More adverse events occurred in the fluoxetine and combination groups than in the EPA group and ranged from gastro-intestinal effects, anxiety and decreased appetite to single reports of tremor, nightmare and constipation.

These results suggest a greater improvement in depression with the combination of EPA and fluoxetine, but the effects of either one alone may have been no different from a placebo, had there been one. Other studies have reported a placebo effect of trial participation. This study supports those that have reported significant improvement in depression using a modest dose (1 g/day) of EPA as an adjunct treatment to current medication.

Jazayeri S, Tehrani-Doost M, Keshavarz SA, Hosseini M, Djazayery A, Amini H, Jalali M, Peet M. Comparison of therapeutic effects of omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid and fluoxetine, separately and in combination, in major depressive disorder. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2008;42:192-198. [PubMed]

Omega 3 is the best natural alternatives to anti depressants and natural adhd remedy

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Professor Tom Saldeen of Harvard Medical School recommends a diet high in omega-3 to fight depression. Saldeen’s 45 years of research has found that low concentrations of serotonin in the brain almost always correlate to low blood levels of omega-3. Recent studies have found that 1000mg EPA is as effective as Prozac in the treatment of medium to severe depression . The highest concentration of EPA per capsule is found in TakeOmega3 – this product is used and recommended in hospitals and private clinics .TakeOmega3 is recommended by NHS facilities such as Forth Valley Healthboard and leading clinics such as Priory Roehampton. It is used for a number of mental health conditions as well as behavioural / developmental  conditions such as autism , ADHD . With regards ADHD  EPA improves concentration levels , better academic performance as well as positive changes with regards behavioural problems .Parents have commented to us on the drastic changes in their childrens behaviour – from simple things such as the child being able to focus on doing a jigsaw puzzle , or sit quietly to listed to a story being read to a reduction in temper tantrums , agressive outbursts and emotional upset . The capsule can be pricked and added to a childs yoghurt or milk if they are unable to swallow capsules , it can also be added to salad dressings . Please contact us directly if you want specific information with regards treatment of ADHD .Parents very often would rather use herbal adhd treatment , alternative adhd remedy is often preferred to ritalin .

This evidence is backed by Dr Andrew Stoll, best-selling author of The Omega-3 Connection. Stoll was responsible for the publication of the first, scientifically rigorous clinical trial on omega-3 fats in psychiatry. Stoll’s patients with bipolar disorder experienced an improvement in mood stabilisation over a four-month trial period, while the placebo group experienced no change.

Mood and activity in the brain is dependent upon a series of chemical signals that cross each membrane with the help of neurotransmitters. This intricate process is referred to as transduction — sort of like a messaging service or a call centre. Now that we know omega-3 fats are a core component in every cell membrane, they are deemed crucial for signal transduction

Scientific research reveals brain alterations linking omega 3 fish oil deficit with depression

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

The link between deficits of omega-3 poly-unsaturated fatty acids (AGPO-3) and the onset of depressive disorders is not new in the medical field. However, what has not been known until now is the brain mechanism by which diet can condition mental health to a certain extent. Research undertaken by scientists in Bordeaux (France) and at the Faculty of Medicine and Odontology of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and published in Nature Neuroscience, provides new clues to understanding this phenomenon.

The name of the research work, ‘Omega-3 nutritional deficiencies annul the neuronal functions of the endocannabinoid system’ describes the research findings, endocannabinoid system being linked to the onset of depressive disorders.

According to Doctor Susana Mato, researcher in the Ramón y Cajal programme, attached to the Neurosciences Department of the Faculty of Medicine and Odontology at the UPV/EHU and member of the Neurobiology Group, “we have observed that, in mice subjected to a diet low in omega-3 poly-unsaturated fatty acids, they have lower AGPO-3 brain levels, and this fact is associated with an alteration in the functioning of the endocannabinoid system”. More concretely, the researcher points to the confirmation of “the existence of a deficit in the signalling of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This protein — the CB1 cannabinoid receptor — has been linked, over the last decade and in various studies, to depressive disorders.”

Doctor Rafael Rodríguez-Puertas, research worker responsible for the Neurochemical and Neurodegeneration team at the Faculty of Medicine and Odontology at the UPV/EHU, points out that “certain forms of synaptic plasticity — a change in the efficiency of neuronal communication — measured by the brain’s endocannabinoid system, disappear specifically from certain zones of the brains of mice with AGPO-3 deficit”.

Despite several example in the scientific literature referring to the existence of a link between the low presence of AGPO-3 in the diet and depressive disorders, Susana Mato recognises that “little more is known about how modern Western diets, poor in AGPO-3, affect brain function and what might be the reason for a greater rate of depression associated with a deficit of these fatty acids”.

As doctor Rodríguez-Puertas points out, “thanks to the results of this research new possibilities are opened up for undertaking deeper research, such as how diet modifies the functioning of the brain in general and the endocannabinoid system in particular, and how this is linked to mental disorders”.

It also, “reinforces the idea that manipulating the endocannabinoid system can be useful for the treatment of depressive disorders, although the data we have up to now is very green for us to say what would be the ideal way to do so”, pointed out Dr Mato.

Collaboration amongst European researchers

The research work started with two French teams located in Bordeaux and led respectively by doctors Olivier J Manzoni and Sophie Layé. They have been working for a number of years with mice which show low levels of AGPO-3 in their brain, due to a low diet in these fatty acids.

“Dr Manzoni’s team discovered that the synaptic plasticity of the neuronal connections, which is mediated by endocannabinoids, disappears in these animals”, pointed out Dr S. Mato. To this end, in 2008, they made contact with researchers at the Faculty of Medicine at the UPV/EHU in order to obtain their collaboration in undertaking new research in order to identify possible change sin the expression and activity of the cannabinoid receptors.

In fact, in order to draw conclusions from the study, it has been necessary to employ a large number of research techniques, amongst which were “the analysis of the brain’s fatty acids, electrophysiology, autoradiography of receptors, the western blot (for quantification of proteins), the determination of levels of endocannabinoids and behaviour tests”, listed Doctor Rodríguez-Puertas. “In fact”, continued the researcher, “in our research team we are experts in the autoradiography of receptors technique and in anatomically identifying the activation of the receptors of the endocannabinoid system”.

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