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IL-6 plays the role as a physiological neuromodulator involved in dopaminergic, serotonergic and other neurotransmissions. The aim of the present association study was to examine the effect of the G/C -174 polymorphism of the IL-6 gene on disposition to alcoholism.
We investigated the relationship between the G/C -174 polymorphism of the IL-6 gene and alcohol dependence in 281 alcoholics and 242 control subjects.
The significant difference in G allele frequency between alcoholic group (0.52) and control group (0.59) was found (P < 0.03).
To our knowledge, this is the first finding providing evidence for an association between alcoholism and the polymorphism of the IL-6 gene. The background of the relationship between the IL-6 gene and alcoholism is discussed.
It is controversial whether Borna disease virus (BDV) infects humans and causes psychiatric disorders.
The relationship between BDV infection and schizophrenia with deficit syndrome was investigated.
Using the Schedule for the Deficit Syndrome, 62 schizophrenic in-patients were selected from three psychiatric hospitals. RNA was extracted from peripheral blood mononuclear cells and analyzed using nested reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction with primers to detect BDV p24 and p40.
Results and conclusions:
BDV transcripts were not detected in samples from any of the 62 schizophrenic patients. These data do not support an etiologic association between BDV infection and the deficit form of schizophrenia.
The isoprenoid pathway was assessed in 15 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The pathway was also assessed in individuals with differing hemispheric dominance to assess whether hemispheric dominance has any correlation with these disease states.
The isoprenoid metabolites – digoxin, dolichol and ubiquinone – RBC membrane Na+-K+ ATPase activity, serum magnesium and tyrosine/tryptophan catabolic patterns were assessed. The free radical metabolism, glycoconjugate metabolism and RBC membrane composition were also assessed.
Membrane Na+-K+ ATPase activity and serum magnesium levels were decreased while HMG-CoA reductase activity and serum digoxin levels were increased in CFS. There were increased levels of tryptophan catabolites – nicotine, strychnine, quinolinic acid and serotonin – and decreased levels of tyrosine catabolites –dopamine, norepinephrine and morphine – in CFS. There was an increase in dolichol levels, carbohydrate residues of glycoproteins, glycolipids, total/individual glycosaminoglycans (GAG) fractions and lysosomal enzymes in CFS. Reduced levels of ubiquinone, reduced glutathione and free radical scavenging enzymes as well as increased lipid peroxidation products and nitric oxide were noticed in CFS. The biochemical patterns in CFS correlated with those obtained in right hemispheric dominance.
The role of hypothalamic digoxin and neurotransmitter-induced immune activation, altered glycoconjugate metabolism and resultant defective viral antigen presentation, NMDA excitotoxicity and cognitive and mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of CFS is stressed. CFS occurs in individuals with right hemispheric dominance.
This study examined the spectrum of subjective experiences which patients attribute to the use of antipsychotic medication.
We collected interview data and answers to structured questions based on a comprehensive checklist in 77 patients using various types of classical or atypical antipsychotic drugs.
The responses of the patients could be categorized into psychological and somatic domains. The psychological domain could be subdivided into emotional, cognitive and sociability domains. The somatic set could be subdivided into activation and physiological domains.
Our data reveal that the same effects may be experienced in either a positive or a negative way by different patients. We conclude that existing scales for measuring subjective effects of antipsychotic medication are incomplete.
Research findings on the relationship between cognitive functioning and psychiatric symptoms in schizophrenia have yielded inconsistent results. Although several models were postulated linking cognition and symptoms, the most recent studies point in the direction of cognition and symptoms being relatively independent disease processes.
The hypothesis that cognitive decline and psychiatric symptoms are independent disease processes was tested.
The relationship between cognitive functioning and clinical symptoms was examined in a large sample of 100 schizophrenia patients.
The hypothesis was largely confirmed.
No convincing evidence was found that symptoms and cognition were related.
With the increased accessibility of the CT scanner, psychiatrists managing schizophrenia and first-episode psychosis have incorporated this imaging technique into their diagnostic work-up. This practice has been reinforced by published criteria for CT scanning in psychiatric patients suggesting that cranial CT should be used as a screening tool to exclude intracranial pathology in all patients with a first presentation of schizophrenia or first psychotic episode.
This study reviews the performance of these criteria.
This consisted of a 3-year retrospective case-note audit, using published criteria, of all male in-patients with an established diagnosis of schizophrenia who had a cranial CT during the review period.
The efficacy of the published criteria is not supported. In addition, non-specific abnormalities on cranial CT are related to duration of illness and not age in this sample.
There is a need to establish new and clinically meaningful approaches for the use of cranial CT and similar technologies in clinical psychiatry. Cranial CT performs poorly as a universal screening tool in this population. The decision to use such imaging techniques should be made on a case-by-case basis using all available clinical evidence.
Capgras syndrome (CS), the most common type of delusional misidentification syndrome, is the delusional belief that significant people in the patient's life have been replaced by identical doubles. Capgras syndrome is thought to be a rare syndrome which commonly occurs in a psychotic context.
The objective of this study was to estimate the 5-year prevalence rate of CS in a university hospital in-patient setting and determine associated etiological and sociodemographic factors.
All patient files and medical records were reviewed in detail for the presence of Capgras syndrome. The sociodemographic variables, clinical manifestations, and psychiatric and medical diagnoses of patients who fulfilled clinical criteria for Capgras syndrome were recorded for statistical evaluation.
The retrospective evaluation of patient files in 920 cases admitted to our psychiatric in-patient unit over 5 years revealed that 12 patients fulfilled the criteria for Capgras syndrome. The crude prevalence of Capgras syndrome in this population during 5-year period was 1.3% (1.8% for females, 0.9% for males). Schizophrenia (50%) was the most common psychiatric diagnosis in these patients. Only two patients presented with an organic etiology underlying Capgras syndrome.
The results of this study indicate that Capgras syndrome is not a rare syndrome, and commonly occurs during the course of either functional or organic psychotic illness. Age seems to be an important predicting factor for the etiology of psychosis underlying Capgras syndrome.
Recognition memory dysfunction has been frequently reported in schizophrenic populations, and has been linked with the development of delusions and thought disorder. A range of neuropsychological abnormalities have also been documented in the biological asymptomatic relatives of patients with schizophrenia; however, recognition memory has not been one of them.
This study was carried out in order to investigate: (i) verbal and facial recognition memory in terms of accuracy and false alarm rates; and (ii) contributions from the episodic and semantic memory systems to recognition memory, in the biological asymptomatic parents of a reported schizophrenic patient and a set of male and female psychotic controls.
Gender differences failed to emerge between the psychotic controls on any of the recognition measures (discrimination accuracy, response bias, hit and false alarm rates, ‘remember’ and ‘know’ recognition memory decisions). However, there was evidence of recognition dysfunction in the female relative, and to a lesser extent, in the male. Both parent's recognition memory performance profiles were marked by a pathologically elevated false alarm rate, and an increased dependence ‘remember’ judgements, i.e. input from the episodic memory system, to drive recognition memory decisions.
These findings are discussed in the context of models of episodic and semantic memory impairment in schizophrenia.