New Perspectives on Schizophrenia
Read, seen, heard 07/09/2015

Le Monde published an article that offers a new perspective on schizophrenia and how to prevent it.

Prevent Schizophrenia? It is an entirely realistic objective according to Professor Marie-Odile Krebs: "We can now offer early treatment, even before the first episode of psychosis. This significantly reduces the risk of falling into schizophrenia. And the challenge for the future is to identify vulnerable individuals, to put more and more effort into preventive action."

Prof. Krebs and her team have developed a unique blood test to screen people at "ultra-high risk" by 22 blood biomarkers (study to be published in the journal Translational Psychiatry). The disease can thus be treated at an early stage using cognitive and behavioral therapy, psychoeducation methods and management of associated disorders and without use of antipsychotic drugs! These prevention techniques are still little used but can give hope when we know that this disease has benefited little from the progress of science in recent years (since 1990 no new molecules have been discovered).


This is a disease that is otherwise always a victim of conventional wisdom. The general public associates schizophrenia with other dangerous mental illnesses. But this should not last forever. There are new elements we can use to better understand and demystify this disease which proves in fact be the result of dysfunctional brain connectivity associated with multiple genetic factors.

Professor Bruno Falissard (INSERM) in collaboration with UNAFAM studies the warning symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder by letting parents and relatives of patients speak. This makes it possible to study the warning signs of developing schizophrenia.

The therapeutic side of cognitive remediation (the psychoeducation technique) works on the principle of rehabilitating impaired cognitive functions. Its objective is professional or social reintegration. As pointed out by Dr. Isabelle Amado (Sainte-Anne Hospital), "cognitive deficits are present in over 80% of patients with schizophrenia, even before the disease appears. This is a serious impediment to their quality of life, a true suffering." This cognitive remediation technique developed by Dr. Adamo (and rewarded in 2014 in the US) is starting to be applied more in France and requires "that patients are stabilized property medically." This program lasts for three months with the aim of rehabilitating the patient. This therapy is adapted case by case and uses many methods. For example, to familiarize patients with everyday life incidents, a path was established in Saint-Anne Hospital where certain tasks must be performed by the patient in the proper order:  shopping, looking for information ... According to Isabelle Adamo "The goal is to move from a treatment obstacle course to a real-life course."

Progress is also possible thanks to animal models. Just a few years ago Thérèse Jay (INSERM Research Director) has developed an animal model of schizophrenia that reproduces the disease connectivity abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex of the hippocampus. This made it possible to more precisely study the environmental factors in the development of psychiatric disorders. The study particularly highlighted the vulnerability of adolescents facing the development of psychiatric disorders in particular linked to the use of cannabis.

Source : Le Monde


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