Trending Clinical Topic: Schizophrenia

Trending Clinical Topic: Schizophrenia

Trending Clinical Topic: Schizophrenia

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Ryan Syrek

January 10, 2020

Each week, we identify one top search term, speculate about what caused its popularity, and provide an infographic on a related condition. If you have thoughts about what’s trending and why, feel free to share them with us on Twitter or Facebook.

From a curious link between pet ownership and disease development to a newly approved treatment option, a wide variety of news helped make schizophrenia this week’s top trending clinical topic. Results of a new study showed that having a pet dog as a child may protect against the development of schizophrenia later in life. Researchers assessed 396 patients with schizophrenia, 381 patients with bipolar disorder, and 594 individuals who comprised the healthy control group. Findings suggested that having a pet dog in the house before the 13th birthday was significantly associated with a decreased risk of receiving a subsequent diagnosis of schizophrenia. This association was not explained by a range of demographic factors that may affect household pet exposure, including age, sex, race/ethnicity, parental education, and place of birth.

The origins and associations of schizophrenia were also explored in a large genome-wide association study of more than 230,000 individuals with psychiatric disorders. Researchers identified 136 variations in genetic code that were seen more frequently in those with such disorders, including 35 never-before-reported hotspots. The results supported findings that are often observed clinically, such as strong links between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Although much more work is still needed, the hope is that identifying certain mutations may lead to more effective treatment.

For adults currently diagnosed with schizophrenia, lumateperone was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The drug is a first-in-class antipsychotic that acts synergistically through the serotonergic, dopaminergic, and glutamatergic systems. The medication is also being developed for use in patients with bipolar depression, behavioral disturbances associated with dementia, and other neuropsychiatric and neurologic disorders.

Finally, a recent commentary reflected on what the recent blockbuster film The Joker says about the cultural understanding of mental illness. The piece not only attempts to explore a diagnosis for the movie’s title character, but it also examines the stigmas associated with schizophrenia, including presumptions about links to violence.

From insights gleaned from the silver screen to positive news about pups, a unique blend of recent news increased interest in schizophrenia, making it this week’s top trending clinical topic.



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Medscape © 2020 WebMD, LLC

Any views expressed above are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of WebMD or Medscape.

Cite this: Ryan Syrek. Trending Clinical Topic: Schizophrenia – Medscape – Jan 10, 2020.

Senior Editor, Medical Students, Medscape Drugs & Diseases

Disclosure: Ryan Syrek has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

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Trending Clinical Topic: Suicide Prevention

Trending Clinical Topic: Suicide Prevention

Trending Clinical Topic: Suicide Prevention

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Ryan Syrek

September 20, 2019

Each week, we identify one top search term, speculate as to what caused its popularity, and provide an infographic on a related condition. If you have thoughts about what’s trending and why, feel free to share them with us on Twitter or Facebook.

An annual effort to raise awareness, information about a rapid treatment option, and several new guidelines helped make suicide prevention this week’s top trending clinical topic. In the United States, September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month. The intention is to help further reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues that can lead to suicide. The suicide rate in America increased 30% from 2000 to 2016. Worldwide, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds.

Some news from Denmark is potentially encouraging. Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) at imminent risk for suicide were shown to have experienced rapid benefit from esketamine nasal spray. More than 450 patients with MDD at risk for suicide were included in two phase 3 trials of the medication, which was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Reduction in suicidal thoughts between the treatment group compared with the placebo group emerged as early as 4 hours after esketamine use and lasted for 25 days. Although these differences were not significant, researchers said that the results were generally encouraging, especially for future studies.

In terms of guidelines for prevention, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense updated clinical practice guidelines for the assessment and management of patients at risk for suicide and published a systematic review of the literature upon which the update is based. The guidelines include algorithms and recommendations for assessment and management that also clearly appraise the strength of the recommendations. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence  also recently released new guidelines to reduce suicide rates and help people affected by a suspected suicide. The guidance suggests an emphasis on prevention partnerships to help those at risk, as well as tailored support for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one or are otherwise affected by suicide.

Although the increased incidence and challenges in providing care can be discouraging, a recent commentary served as a reminder that steps can be taken in healthcare settings to reduce suicide risk in patients. One of those steps is increasing awareness of important information related to suicide prevention, which makes the fact that it is this week’s top trending clinical topic all the more encouraging.



Read more about suicide prevention.

Medscape © 2019 WebMD, LLC

Any views expressed above are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of WebMD or Medscape.

Cite this: Ryan Syrek. Trending Clinical Topic: Suicide Prevention – Medscape – Sep 20, 2019.

Senior Editor, Medical Students, Medscape Drugs & Diseases

Disclosure: Ryan Syrek has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

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