Boosting amino acid derivative may be a treatment for schizophrenia

Many psychiatric drugs act on the receptors or transporters of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. However, there is a great need for alternatives, and research is looking at other targets along the brain’s metabolic pathways. Lack of glycine betaine contributes to brain pathology in schizophrenia, and new research from the RIKEN Center for Brain Science (CBS) shows that betaine supplementation can counteract psychiatric symptoms in mice.

Betaine comes from a normal diet but is also synthesized in the body where it contributes to metabolism in various ways, including as an anti-inflammatory agent. Levels of betaine (glycine betaine or trimethylglycine) in the blood plasma of patients with schizophrenia has previously been found to be low, which suggested it is a possible therapeutic target.

In the new study, mice missing the Chdh gene, which is involved in making betaine, showed depressive behaviors and greatly reduced betaine levels in both the brain and blood. Betaine levels in the brain recovered when the it was given to the mice as a supplement in drinking water, demonstrating that betaine can pass through the blood-brain barrier.

Full story at Science Daily

Schizophrenia: Restoring brain circuitry to improve symptoms

Researchers pin down the faulty brain circuitry that drives negative symptom severity in schizophrenia and look at noninvasive methods of targeting and “repairing” this breakdown.

Schizophrenia is a mental health condition with characteristic symptoms that include delusions and hallucinations. It also has numerous negative symptoms, such as flat affect (lack of emotional expression), anhedonia, monotone speech, and avoiding social interaction.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, this condition is among the top 15 causes of disability across the world.

Full story at Medical News Today

Vitamin D deficiency increases schizophrenia risk

Some research suggests a link between low vitamin D levels and a person’s risk of developing schizophrenia. New evidence indicates that this notion may be correct.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, schizophrenia is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.

Symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and cognitive problems characterize schizophrenia.

So far, however, researchers have been unable to find out exactly what causes this condition.

Full story at Medical News Today

What to know about phantom smells (phantosmia)

Phantosmia is the medical word used by doctors when a person smells something that is not actually there.

Phantosmia is also called a phantom smell or an olfactory hallucination. The smells vary from person to person but are usually unpleasant, such as burnt toast, metallic, or chemical smells.

Problems with the nose, such as sinusitis, or conditions of the nervous system or brain, including migraine, stroke, or schizophrenia can cause phantosmia.

In this article, we look at the causes and symptoms of phantosmia, when to see a doctor, and how to differentiate phantosmia from related conditions, such as parosmia.

Full story at Medical News Today

Could these food supplements help treat psychosis?

When added to standard early-stage treatment, certain food supplements may help to alleviate symptoms of psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia.

This was the conclusion of a systematic review of data from eight trials involving hundreds of young people who received treatment during the early stages of psychosis.

The review was led by Dr. Joseph Firth, who is a research fellow with the NICM Health Research Institute at the University of Western Sydney in Australia and an honorary research fellow at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.

Full story at Medical News Today