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April 27, 2005

Bipolar Disorder in Children

There is a good article in this month's Contemporary Pediatrics magazine on "The importance of recognizing a child with bipolar disorder"

A brief excerpt of the article suggests that "too often, confusion clouds the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in pediatric patients. To help ensure that these children get the treatment they desperately need, pediatricians must understand the unique way that this illness manifests in the young; Bipolar Disorder."

Some key points that the article makes about Bipolar disorder in children include the following:

* Bipolar disorder is a chronic disorder that often begins in childhood

* Most children with bipolar disorder do not have a classic adult presentation, but rather a mixed-symptom state characterized by frequent, short periods of intense mood lability and irritability

* Children and young adolescents with bipolar disorder have a high rate of relapse and a relatively poor outcome compared to those with adult-onset bipolar disorder

* An early-onset mood disorder is often associated with an increased risk of other psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide and with poor academic, work, and social functioning

* The risk of bipolar disorder is high in a child in a family with a strong history of bipolar illness

read the full article

Posted by szadmin at 4:36 PM | Comments (1)

Abilify Approved for Bipolar Type 1

Bristol-Myers Squibb has announced that Aripiprazole (Abilify) tablets and oral solution, an antipsychotic indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia, acute mania and mixed episodes associated with bipolar disorder, has been approved for use in patients with Bipolar I Disorder with a recent manic or mixed episode who have been stabilized and maintained for at least 6 weeks. This most recent approval is based on the positive results of a randomized, placebo-controlled study in 161 patients, in which those treated with aripiprazole relapsed significantly later than placebo-treated patients.

Posted by szadmin at 4:30 PM | Comments (2)

Confidential On-line Diagnosis

May is Mental Health Month, and Butler Hospital will offer free online mental-health screenings on its Web site all month. Log on to to the Online mental health screening Tests for depression, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Posted by szadmin at 4:25 PM | Comments (1)

April 26, 2005

Mentally Ill going to Mental Health Courts

A good story in a recent Boston Globe issue:

Mentally ill sent to Mental health courts


Instead of jail, many people who suffer mental illness and commit crimes are being sent to mental health courts, modeled after the more than 500 drug courts nationwide that offer substance abuse counseling over prison time.

"That day in court I could have said, 'Here you go, here's your jail sentence,'" McCooey said, recalling Hudson's case. "But you've got to go beyond."

See Full Story

Posted by szadmin at 7:26 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2005

How Mental illnesss hits Multiple Generations

This weekend's Seattle times has an excellent story of how one family was impacted by mental illness in multiple generations;

The story talks about how "Carolyn blames many of her family's problems on mental illness. But they could just as easily be blamed on job loss and a depressed economy, on government cutbacks, or the difficulty of accessing what mental-health services remain. She could blame the hospital that didn't think Bryan was sick enough, or the system that allowed him to acquire a handgun with ease. Others might simply blame Bryan.

But this story isn't about blame. It's about a family — well-educated, middle-class, loving and generous — and what happened when they lost their footing."

See the full story:

Seatle Times; Multiple Generations fo Mental Illness

Posted by szadmin at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

Brain Scans for Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

Brain Scans May Soon Be Used for Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

A recent presentation by John D. Port, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America suggests that Magnetic resonance spectroscopy may be used in the near future to diagnose bipolar disorder because of the distinct differences and abnormalities in the brain chemistry of patients with bipolar disorder.

In the presentation, Dr. Port suggested:

"We hope to eventually refine this into a clinically useful test that could shave years off a patient's time to diagnosis,"

Physicians "clearly [need] a tool to help diagnose bipolar disorder. We hope this technique will prove helpful by identifying metabolic markers of the disease," he said, as reported in Family Practice News.

To complete the resarch, Dr. Port and his team utilized a 3T long-bore MR scanner, which had double the scanning resolution compared to devices used in prior studies on bipolar disorder. As part of the study, the research team scanned the brains of 21 study participants that had previously had clear diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and 21 healthy volunteers matched for age, sex, and dominant hand. The bipolar patients had not previously taken any medications for their bipolar disorder and free of substance abuse.

As part of the research, they scanned the brains for approximately 1 hour which allowed them to do scanning analysis of 14 regions of the brain, and five metabolites within the brain tissue.

Compared with healthy individuals, bipolar patients had significantly different levels of certain metabolites in two brain areas that control behavior and movement.

In the right frontal white matter, myoinositol was significantly increased, and in the right lentiform region, N-acetylaspartate, glutamate/glutamine, and creatine were significantly decreased in bipolar patients, compared with healthy normals, he told Family Practice News.

The brain scanning analysis also allowed them to distinguish between different severities of bipolar disorder.

For example, it was reported in Family Practice News that "Patients with bipolar I illness had significantly lower choline levels in the left caudate region of the brain, compared with patients with bipolar II illness and bipolar illness not otherwise specified (BP-NOS)."

The researchers suggested that the pattern of brain abnormalities and locations formed a "fingerprint" of bipolar disorder and its various subclassifications.

Dr. Port and his team are plannint to develop a diagnostic test that will improve the speed and accuracy of diagnosis and help determine which treatment would be best for a given person.


Family Practice News

Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting

Posted by szadmin at 10:12 PM | Comments (1)

April 24, 2005

Risperdal for Bipolar Disorder 1

From a Marketing Release from Janssen Pharmaceuticals:

RISPERDAL® (risperidone) has now been approved as monotherapy in Canada for the acute management of manic episodes associated with bipolar I disorder.

People with bipolar disorder may experience extreme changes of mood, swinging from deep depression to acute mania – excessive excitement, hyperactivity and sometimes, delusions and hallucinations. These manic episodes can lead to dangerous risk-taking behaviour. According to an American study, nearly 40 percent of people with untreated bipolar mania abuse alcohol and drugs.2 Job loss, divorce and even suicide are common consequences of the illness.2,3,4

"Manic symptoms can be difficult to treat," said Dr. Roger McIntyre, head of the Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit, University Health Network. "The goal in treating mania is to provide safety and immediate control of symptoms. I've seen that successful management of mania reduces impairment and disruption in bipolar disorder. This new indication for RISPERDAL® means that patients have a new effective treatment option that provides rapid relief of these manic symptoms."

Clinical Trial Information

Evidence from three studies demonstrates that RISPERDAL®, taken alone, provides significant, rapid relief of manic symptoms associated with bipolar I disorder as early as three days after starting therapy. The treatment also was well tolerated by patients.5,6,7

In one double-blind study conducted over 12 weeks,6 438 patients experiencing a manic episode associated with bipolar I disorder were randomly assigned to take risperidone ( RISPERDAL® ), haloperidol or placebo for the initial three weeks. During the three-week period, both RISPERDAL® and haloperidol improved manic symptoms to a significantly greater degree than placebo, as measured by the Young Mania Rating Scale ( YMRS ). However, fewer of the patients taking RISPERDAL® experienced side effects such as extrapyramidal symptoms than those taking haloperidol.6 Extrapyramidal symptoms are a collection of symptoms that include trembling, decreased motor function or activity ( eg. muscle stiffness ) and body restlessness.8,9

During the studies, RISPERDAL® was well tolerated at the dose range of 1 mg to 6 mg per day. The majority of side effects were mild to moderate. Depending on the study, the most frequently reported side effects included somnolence ( sleepiness ), extrapyramidal symptoms and hyperkinesia ( a condition of excessive muscular activity ).5,6,7,10

RISPERDAL® is approved in more than 100 countries for a variety of conditions. In Canada, it also is approved for schizophrenia and for inappropriate behaviour caused by aggression and/or psychosis in severe dementia. RISPERDAL® is the most widely prescribed anti-psychotic in Canada.

About Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a disease of the brain characterised by extreme shifts between depression ( episodes of severe sadness and/or hopelessness ) and mania ( episodes of extreme "highs" and energy ).11 Previously referred to as manic depression, bipolar disorder affects approximately one percent of the adult population in Canada.12

In Canada, untreated mood disorders have a major economic impact through related health care costs and lost work productivity12.

About Janssen-Ortho Inc.

Janssen-Ortho Inc. is a brand-name pharmaceutical company headquartered in Toronto with a broad range of medications used in psychiatry, neurology, dementia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, pain management, women's health, infectious disease, gastroenterology and urology.

1 RISPERDAL® and RISPERDAL® M-TAB™ Product Monograph, March 29, 2005. RISPERDAL® is indicated as monotheraphy for the acute management of manic episodes associated with Bipolar I disorder. The efficacy of RISPERDAL® in the treatment of acute Bipolar mania was established in three three-week placebo controlled trials. The safety and effectiveness of RISPERDAL® for long-term use, and for prophylactic use in Bipolar disorder has not been evaluated. Physicians who elect to use RISPERDAL® for extended period should periodically re-evaluate the long term risks and benefits of the drug for the individual patient.

2 Hirschfeld RM, Lewis L, Vornik LA. Perceptions and impact of bipolar disorder: how far have we really come? Results of the national depressive and manic-depressive association 2000 survey of individuals with bipolar disorder. J Clin Psychiatry. 2003; 64:161-74.

3 Calabrese JR, et al. Impact of bipolar disorder on a U.S. community sample. J Clin Psychiatry. 2003; 64:425-32.

4 Goodwin FK, Jamison KR, editors. Manic Illness. New York: Oxford University Press; 1990.

5 Hirschfeld RM, Keck PE, Kramer M, et al. Rapid antimanic effect of risperidone monotherapy: a three-week multicenter, double blind, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Psychiatry. 2004;161:1057-1065.

6 Smulevich AB., Khanna S, Eerdekens M, Karcher K, Kramer M, Grossman F. Acute and continuation risperidone monotherapy in bipolar mania: a three-week placebo-controlled trial followed by a nine-week double-blind trial of risperidone and haloperidol. European Neuropsychopharmacology. 2005;15:75-84.

7 Khanna S, Vieta E, Lyons B, Grossman F, Kramer M. Risperidone monotherapy in acute bipolar mania. World Psychiatric Association International Thematic Conference. Diagnosis in psychiatry: integrating the sciences, Vienna, Austria, June 19-22, 2003. ( Accepted British Journal of Psychiatry 2005 ).

8 Risperidone ( systemic ). Drug Information for the Health Care Professional Vol 1., USPDI 22nd ed. MICROMEDEX Thomson Healthcare; 2002.

9 Stimmel GL. Schizophrenia. In: Herfindal ET et al, editors. Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. 5th ed. Maryland: Williams & Wilkins; 1992. p. 944-956.

10 Stedman's Medical Dictionary. 24th ed. Maryland: Williams & Wilkins; 1982.

11 Goodwin FK, Jamison KR. Manic-depressive illness. New York: Oxford University Press; 1990.

12 Health Canada. A report on mental illness in Canada. October 2002.

More Information: Janssen-Ortho, Inc.

Posted by szadmin at 6:49 PM | Comments (6)

April 21, 2005

Slimy Drugs for Bipolar

A blog called "SciScoop" has an interesting entry on some new approaches that companies are taking towards drug discovery for bipolar disorder:

"UK scientists are digging around in slime moulds in the hope of finding novel drugs for treating "manic depression", more properly known as bipolar disorder. They have developed a new screening technique using the "slime mould" - a microbe that lives in leaves and dung on forest floors.

Their breakthrough in using one particular slime mould species, Dictyostelium represents the first possible alternative to the current, accidental discovery, approach to drugs for this disorder.

The team reports details of its findings in the May 2005 issue of Molecular Pharmacology".

Read the full article at: Slimy drugs for bipolar disorder

Posted by szadmin at 12:14 AM | Comments (1)

April 18, 2005

Author to Speak on Child Bipolar Disorder

Noted Author to Speak on Childhood Bipolar Disorder

Press Release - 4/14/2005 7:58:00 AM

Paul Raeburn, the father of two children diagnosed with a mental illness and author of "Acquainted With the Night: A Parent's Quest to Understand Depression and Bipolar Disorder in His Children," will be the keynote speaker at the Families Together 10th Anniversary Conference held on May 1 and May 2, at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Albany, NY.

"Paul Raeburn's appearance at the Families Together Annual Conference will provide families, youth and providers with a first person testimonial on childhood mental health disorders and more importantly provide another step toward eliminating the stigma of we often face," says Paige Macdonald, Executive Director for Families Together, a parent-run organization offering support and information for families of children with special emotional, social and behavioral needs.

Paul Raeburn's son, Alex, was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after leaving his fifth-grade classroom in an inexplicable rage. He was hospitalized three times over the next three years, until he was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder by a psychiatrist. This ended a painful period of misdiagnosis and inappropriate drug therapy. Then Raeburn's younger daughter, Alicia, was diagnosed as suffering from depression after episodes of self-mutilation and suicidal thoughts. To save his children's lives, Paul used all the resources available to him as a science reporter and writer to educate himself about their diseases and various drugs and therapies available to help his children.

"Raeburn provides an enormous amount of useful information about diagnosis and treatment. He importantly also provides hope," says Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD, professor of psychiatry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Millions of families are often alone in coping with the ordeal of children's mental illness, unaware of how many others are struggling, too. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, almost 21 percent of U.S. children ages 9 to 17 have a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder that interferes substantially with school, family, community activities and other aspects of daily life. Of these children, fewer than one in five receive needed treatment. With early detection and appropriate treatment, chances are excellent that most children with mental health needs can recover and lead healthy lives.

The conference will also kick-off the nationally recognized Children's Mental Health Week, which is observed May 1 thru May 7 this year. The goal of Children's Mental Health Week is to increase public awareness about children's mental health.

Information about the annual conference can be found at

Posted by szadmin at 6:47 AM | Comments (0)

Detecting Bipolar Genes

DNA microarrays used to detect Bipolar Genes

While lithium treatment has proven to be a godsend for many of the two million Americans with bipolar disorder, it is not without its downside. People on the drug may develop hypothyroidism, tremors, cognitive impairment, and excessive thirst and urination and gain weight.

However, better treatments for bipolar disorder depend on a better understanding of the still-mysterious mechanism by which lithium damps the highs and lows of the disorder. Now, researchers led by Philip Brandish of Merck & Co., Inc., and Edward Scolnick of the Broad Institute (formerly of Merck and Co., Inc.) have identified genes whose activity appears to be switched on by lithium, suggesting more direct targets for drugs to treat the disorder.

Lithium is known to inhibit the production of an important cellular switch, called inositol monophosphate, so the researchers set out to find genes that were activated by this inhibition. They treated slices of rat brain with lithium chloride as well as a chemical that depletes inositol. The also treated other slices with the two chemicals, but added inositol.

The researchers used DNA microarrays--so-called "gene chips"--to detect genes that were unequivocally activated when inositol was depleted in the brain slices.

They discovered several genes that they concluded "suggest new directions toward the treatment of bipolar disorder."

The behavior of one such activated gene, called GPR88, has been found to be associated with a rat model of mania, they said. This gene codes for a protein that is an "orphan receptor"--that is, its cellular function in sensing external chemical signals is unknown.

The researchers also found that the gene called AD-CYAP1 was upregulated in the treated brain slices. This gene codes for a signaling molecule called PACAP in the brain and is known to be close to a chromosomal region that genetic studies have shown to be associated with a higher risk of bipolar disorder.

PACAP protein is found throughout the central nervous system, said the researchers. They cited studies demonstrating that mice in which the gene is knocked out show hyperactivity and defects in their circadian (day-night) behavior--both also characteristic of humans with bipolar disorder. Also, in animals, lithium has been shown to affect such circadian behavior. The protein also has been found to affect the activity of a key neurotransmitter, dopamine, in the brain, said the researchers. What's more, they found two other genes--PAM and GCH--that are involved in producing PACAP to be upregulated in the treated brain tissue.

Brandish and his colleagues said that such findings "suggest a coordinated upregulation of genes leading to increased dopamine signaling. In the light of the recent clinical data and human genetic linkage, it is tempting to speculate that PACAP night be a therapeutic effector of lithium in bipolar disorder."

They concluded that "the data presented here warrant further investigation of PACAP signaling in the brain and of the orphan receptor GPR88 as potential new targets in bipolar disorder."

Philip E. Brandish, Ming Su, Daniel J. Holder, Paul Hodor, John Szumiloski, Robert R. Kleinhanz, Jaime E. Forbes, Mollie E. McWhorter, Sven J. Duenwald, Mark L. Parrish, Sang Na, Yuan Liu, Robert L. Phillips, John J. Renger, Sethu Sankaranarayanan, Adam J. Simon, and Edward M. Scolnick: "Regulation of Gene Expression by Lithium and Depletion of Inositol in Slices of Adult Rat Cortex"

The researchers include Philip E. Brandish, Ming Su, Daniel J. Holder, Paul Hodor, John Szumiloski, Sang Na, Yuan Liu, Robert L. Phillips, John J. Renger, Sethu Sankaranarayanan, and Adam J. Simon of Merck & Co., Inc.; Robert R. Kleinhanz, Jaime E. Forbes, Mollie E. McWhorter, Sven J. Duenwald, and Mark L. Parrish of Rosetta Inpharmatics LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck & Co. Inc.; and Edward M. Scolnick of The Broad Institute (formerly of Merck and Co., Inc.). Conflict of Interest Statement: The authors are employees of Merck & Co., Inc. and potentially own stock and/or hold stock options in the company.

Source: Press Release from:

Publishing in Neuron, Volume 45, Number 6, March 24, 2005, pages 861-872.

Contact: Heidi Hardman
Cell Press

Posted by szadmin at 6:43 AM | Comments (1)

April 15, 2005

6th Intl. Bipolar Conference


June 16-18, 2005
David Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh, PA

The brochure on this conference states:

Each of the five previous International Conferences on Bipolar Disorder has represented a unique opportunity for researchers, clinicians, and advocates from around the world to share new information on the pathophysiology, assessment and treatment of bipolar illness, as well as on psychobiological and psychosocial vulnerability factors, and recent findings in epidemiology and clinical course.

The meeting attendance has now grown so large that we are moving it to Pittsburgh's stunning new convention center on the banks of the Allegheny River. The amount of new research in bipolar disorder is so
extensive that we are changing the format of the meeting to include multiple concurrent sessions in addition to the six plenary sessions on rational polypharmacy, neurobiology, the bipolar spectrum, the burden of bipolar disorder, diagnosis and treatment, and the interplay between advocacy and research.

The conference will be held June 16, 17, and 18, 2005. As in the past, poster sessions will be held on the evenings of June 16 and 17. The well received "Rapid Communications" sessions will also
be repeated this year.

Presentations during the first two days of the conference will be technical and geared toward academic researchers and research-oriented clinicians. Psychiatrists, psychologists, neuroscientists
and pharmacologists interested in bipolar disorder should find the content of this first phase of the conference useful in their research and practice.

The third day of the conference, which will include a plenary session on diagnostic and treatment advances, an advocate/researcher ialogue, and advanced psychotherapy workshops focusing on cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, and interpersonal psychotherapy, as well as additional workshop sessions, will be appropriate to udiences that include psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, and other mental health care workers, as well as individuals who have bipolar disorder and their families.

Several of the Saturday workshops will be focused on issues relevant to advocacy for bipolar disorder

At the close of the program, participants should be able to:
1. Describe new approaches to the pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy of bipolar disorder.

2. Distinguish between the issues related to short and long-term treatment of bipolar depression.

3. Explain key issues from the update on neuroscience and clinical advances in bipolar disorder.

4. Discuss the life-span implications of bipolar disorder.

For more information on the conference, or to register, see:


Posted by szadmin at 7:18 PM | Comments (0)

International Review of Bipolar Disorders, April 2005, Lyon, France

The Fifth International Review of Bipolar Disorders will be held from 20th-23th April 2005 in Lyon, France. The conference theme is "The Art of Caring for Bipolar Patients"

For more details, see the conference website

Posted by szadmin at 4:42 AM | Comments (1)

Bipolar Disorder and Famous

Ophrah Winfrey featured bipolar disorder on her April 5th show featuring TV stars Maurice Benard and Linda Hamilton. Singer/musician Shawn Colvin was also featured on the show and talked about her experiences with depression.

Short clips from the show:

"Maurice Benard sizzles as Sonny Corinthos, the gorgeous star of ABC's hit soap opera "General Hospital." In real life, the devoted family man has been married to his sweetheart, Paula, for 14 years, and they live a quiet life in Los Angeles with their two daughters. But Maurice's life isn't as picture-perfect as it seems. Every day behind the scenes, Maurice battles a mental illness that once left him violent, suicidal and, at its worst, locked inside a mental institution wondering if he'd ever get out."

WINFREY: So were you on medication at the time that you became violent and threatened...

Mr. BENARD: I'd been off it for two years.... And the pressure of getting "General Hospital" and doing this dark character, that's why, you know, I...

WINFREY: You took yourself off. This is what's interesting to me. So many people, I've heard, were on medication, doing really fine, then you start to feeling great, and then you take yourself off.

Mr. BENARD: Yeah.

WINFREY: Why? Yeah, why?

Mr. BENARD: Because you start feeling like you don't need it, you can do without it. And then--but I remember what happens if I don't take it.
Linda Hamilton

Remember when Linda Hamilton burst onto the big screen in the 1984 blockbuster "Terminator" opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger? A few years later, she became a star on the small screen in the hit series "Beauty and the Beast." But it was when she reprised her role in "Terminator 2" that Linda Hamilton, leaner and meaner than ever, became the epitome of the strong, sexy woman of the '90s. She fell in love and married "Terminator" director James Cameron, and they became fixtures on the red carpet.

But away from the spotlight, Linda was living a personal hell. Volatile, violent relationships, panic attacks and alcohol and drug abuse. Today Linda, a single mother of two, is revealing the truth behind her private battle, a lifelong struggle with mental illness.

WINFREY: Today Linda Hamilton is speaking publicly about her manic depression that went undiagnosed for most of her life.

(Excerpt from videotape)

Ms. LINDA HAMILTON (Has Bipolar Disorder): And I know that my parents found me beating a puppy with a stick when I was five. I'd remembered ever since then that horrible tale of, you know, beating a precious soul with a stick, and that's pretty much the way my life went.

WINFREY: For Linda Hamilton, a lifelong battle with mental illness began early.

Ms. HAMILTON: My whole childhood was lost to me.

To see a video clip, or order the entire transcript - see:

Opray Winfrey: Depressed, Mentally Ill and Famous

Posted by szadmin at 3:52 AM | Comments (2)

Bipolar Foundation Courses

A press release from the CABF this week noted the following:

Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation Receives High Marks
for Its Online Courses and Materials for Parents, Teachers
Pilot Program in Illinois Provides Successful Model for
School Districts Throughout U.S.

WILMETTE, Ill., The Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation [CABF] has received overwhelming praise from parents and schools for its online learning program for educators and parents. Learning takes place in a "virtual classroom" with course content available 24 hours a day. The series of 6 week courses for parents informs them about the symptoms and educational rights of children with bipolar disorder. Additionally, the 9 week course for educators guides them in providing proper accommodations, in the least restrictive environment, to ensure stability and academic success.

CABF's educational courses are managed by Donna Gilcher, Ed.D. Dr. Gilcher has taught and administered in a variety of school settings for the past 17 years, including mainstream and special needs schools and she is the parent of a child with bipolar disorder. With the success of its pilot program in IL, CABF plans to extend the program to include every state in the U.S.

CABF's education resources include an interactive CD-Rom "What is Pediatric Bipolar Disorder? A Resource for Educators," a brochure for educators [],

"Educating the Child with Bipolar Disorder" [

Posted by szadmin at 2:07 AM | Comments (2)

Vitamins for Bipolar

While I suspect the claim that vitamins can help for psychiatric disorders (especially for Omega 3 vitamins - a group of vitamins that have had quite a bit of academic research support for helping in brain disorders, from such places as Sheffield University in the UK).

All the research I've seen, however, on things like vitamin C, Niacin, etc. - in treatment of mental illness have all turned out negative (we have some of both the positive and the negative info on the "Other Treatments" web page. Specific information on EMpowerplus and Synergy & Truehope is here.

This month Discover Magazine covers some of this issue in an article titled "Vitamin Cure - Can common nutrients curb violent tendencies and dispel clinical depression?"
I'll find this line of research much more interesting when there is some third party validation in high quality studies done by reputable researchers, and not just some anecodal evidence from a group of pig farmers who look like they could make a lot of money off the whole business, even if nobody is helped.

And, despite their claims that they are not making any money from this $70 bottle of vitamins - if you look at the typical bottle of vitamins I purchase - I'm paying a lot less than $70 month. For that high a price they have to have very good research backing up their extraordinary claims - and they don't (in my view) have that yet.

Also disturbing to me is the fact that given the untested nature of the product, and that they seem to be encouraging people to go off their well-tested and proven medications. This would seem to open them up to a high risk of legal action if - as frequently happens when people go off their medications - something bad happens to a person who follows their directions. Of course, the company is based in Canada, so I suspect that it could be a difficult and expensive approach to seeking damages in such a hypothetical case.

The article ends by saying:

"Both scientists have had a tough time securing government support for their psychiatric research. EMPowerplus has yet to be approved for sale in Canada, and Health Canada, the agency that regulates food and drugs in that country, has sued Truehope for advertising the product to Canadians who might wish to import it. "The manufacturer has not provided us with scientific evidence that the drug is safe and effective," says Jirina Vlk, a spokeswoman for the agency. Hardy and Stephan, in turn, have sued Health Canada for blocking shipments at the border. Health Canada initially denied Kaplan permission to pursue a randomized study of the supplement in 100 bipolar patients, although Kaplan already had funding from the Alberta government. That decision was reversed in 2004, after the agency established a new division dedicated to overseeing supplements and natural health products.

Meanwhile in the United States, Popper and Kaplan recently secured approval ... to conduct an even larger clinical study of the supplement. Other scientists think this is long overdue. "It's something that needs to be investigated," says L. Eugene Arnold, a psychiatrist at Ohio State University who plans to explore the use of zinc to treat ADHD."

See the Full article for more information.

Posted by szadmin at 1:26 AM | Comments (8)