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NAMI Pittsburgh South
Join us for our next meeting on Wednesday, February 18 at 7:30. We will
meetings are held on
be watching “Shadow Voices.” A synopsis from the “Shadow Voices” website is
the third Wednesday of
as follows: “This program offers an inside look at what it is like to live with a each month (excluding
mental illness and how individuals and their families find their way through the month of August)
medical, governmental, societal and spiritual issues. Ten persons from across the at 7:30 p.m. at
U.S. and many sectors of the population with mental illness tell their stories, plus Southminster House.
Southminster House is
experts and advocates in the field add perspectives and insights. Interviewees at 801 Washington
include former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter and former U.S. Surgeon General Road, Mt. Lebanon,
Dr. David Satcher, along with Dr. William Anthony of Boston University, Dr. Joyce directly across the
Burland, director of educational programs for NAMI, and Thomas Bornemann, drive from the Mt.
director of the mental health center at the Carter Center.” Lebanon Public Library.
President: Eileen Lovell.
Vice President and
*********Additional Announcements********* News Editor :
Maria Nychis
INCLEMENT WEATHER GUIDELINES: In the event of blustery weather please
follow the Mt. Lebanon school district guidelines. If school is cancelled for the Mt. 724.989.3832.
Lebanon schools then the NAMI Pittsburgh South meeting will be cancelled. When *********
school is delayed then the meeting will be held. If evening events are cancelled in Mt. Lebanon then the meeting will be cancelled. Your personal safety is important! NAMI McKeesport
Do not travel if you local roads are hazardous! meetings are held on
the second Thursday of
each month at the Main
Start the New Year off right! Sign up for the Family-to-Family Education
Building located on
Program! This free education program is a 12-week course for families and
Penn State University’s
friends of individuals living with mental illness. Trained family members who have Campus in McKeesport.
lived with this experience teach the course. Sponsored by NAMI Southwestern Contact:412. 751.6706
Pennsylvania, and NAMI Pennsylvania, the Family-to-Family curriculum focuses on President: Cindy
serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, panic and anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder, and co-occurring mental illness and addictive disorders. Course *********
participants will acquire coping and communication techniques, strategies for handling crisis and relapses, and will receive up-to-date information on medication, NAMI Southwestern PA
phone: 412.366.3788
research, and guidance on locating services and supports. Classes are starting in
or 1.888.AMI-SWPA
March so register today! Interested parties can contact the NAMI Southwestern
NAMI Southwestern

NAMI PA on the web:

NAMI Connections is a recovery support group program for adults with mental illness of any diagnosis. For those diagnosed with a mental illness, talking with
someone to share coping strategies and insights, as well as problems and ********
concerns, can be an important link in the path to recovery. Each support group is offered through NAMI’s network of local affiliates free of charge. The groups, led National NAMI Help
by trained individuals who are also in recovery, meet weekly for 90 minutes. To Line: 1.800.950.NAMI
find out more please cal the NAMI Southwestern PA HelpLine at 1(888) 264-7972 National NAMI on the
Lack of Grey Matter In Brain Is Linked to Schizophrenia & Bipolar Disorder
A research study led by scientists from the Gregorio Marañón University Hospital in **********
Madrid and the Network of Centres for Biomedical Research in Mental Health Networks (CIBERSAM) shows that adolescents experiencing a first outbreak of St. Clair Hospital
psychosis have lower levels of grey matter in their brains than healthy teenagers. Depression Support
Strangely, this change was seen in patients suffering from various psychoses, including bipolar illness and schizophrenia. The objective of the study was to examine and locate differences in the volume of grey matter in the brains of healthy people (controls) and individuals diagnosed with psychotic outbreaks in infancy or adolescence. The researchers broke such psychosis down into three sub-groups – schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other psychoses that did not fit into either of the other two classifications. The study, published recently in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, analysed a sample of 121 people aged between 7 and 18, inclusive. All the patients and controls were examined using magnetic resonance imaging in order to detect any possible changes in the structure of their brains. “The interesting thing was that we found common alterations among those with 412.344.6600 for more
two types of clinically-differentiated psychoses, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and this could help to improve diagnosis of these illnesses,” Santiago Reig, one of the study’s authors and a researcher in the Medical Imaging Laboratory of the Gregorio Marañón Hospital, tells SINC. **********
The study confirmed these lower levels of grey matter, the brain substance in which neurone cells are concentrated. This lack, which was shared between the Chartiers M/H M/R
schizophrenia and type 1 bipolar illness sufferers, means the functions of this part Center’s Family Support
of the brain are “somehow atrophied”. In addition, the technique used by the experts can pinpoint the location of these alterations. For example, “patients with early psychotic outbreaks (before the age of 18) showed alterations in the medial prefrontal gyrus region of the brain, which controls processes such as cognition and the regulation of sensations”, says Reig. Improving diagnosis
NAMI Southwestern PA
“Anything that helps to detect alterations shared between distinct pathologies can Board Meetings
help in the development of drugs and in finding common characteristics between these different diseases,” the researcher tells SINC. “Results like these are fundamental for the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses,” he adds. However, it is important not to draw any causal link between alterations in this area of the brain and the appearance of these pathologies. Psychiatric illnesses need more complex diagnosis. What the research does show, however, is that the majority of people with schizophrenia and type 1 bipolar illness do suffer from this lack of grey matter and the majority of healthy people have normal levels of this “We still do not know whether this loss of grey matter is caused by the illness or not,” says Reig. This is just one more piece of the puzzle to help in understanding common features of psychiatric illnesses. “Maybe relating these developments with other new findings will one day help us to solve the riddle of psychiatric illnesses,” 412.366.3788.
Anxious Older Adults May Benefit From Antidepressants
Many older adults worry a lot. Almost one in 10 Americans over age 60 suffer from an anxiety disorder that causes them to worry excessively about normal things like health, finances, disability and family. Although antidepressant drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can improve anxiety symptoms in younger adults, little has been known about their effects in older people. In the largest study of SSRIs in older people with anxiety disorders, a team of psychiatric researchers found the drug escitalopram (Lexapro®) improved anxiety YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
symptoms and quality of life. Results are reported in the Jan. 21 issue of the IF YOU NEED

Journal of the American Medical Association. WITH ANY TYPE OF
Patients in the study had Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), a condition of FOLLOWING
chronic, difficult-to-control worry. Associated symptoms include insomnia, fatigue, ORGANIZATIONS ARE
"A person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder spends, on average, about 40 hours a ALANON 412.572.5141
week worrying, so it's almost like having a full-time job," says principal investigator Eric J. Lenze, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry at Washington University Allegheny County
Telephone & Mobile

School of Medicine in St. Louis. "They worry about very real things, but the inability Crisis Team
to put those worries out of their minds makes the condition disabling." Older adults with anxiety disorders are typically either not treated or prescribed Allegheny County Peer
sedative drugs known by trade names such as Valium® and Xanax®. Sedatives Support & Warmline
can relieve anxiety, but their long-term use in older adults is linked to falls and cognitive impairment. SSRI drugs are thought to be a safer alternative, but it wasn't clear if they could reduce anxiety in this age group.
Allegheny County
Lenze led the study while at the University of Pittsburgh. His team studied 177 Consumer Action
people over the age of 60. Average age was about 73. Response Team (CART)
Half received the SSRI drug escitalopram, and the rest took an inactive placebo. Participants took one pill per day. If their symptoms didn't improve after four weeks, a second pill was added. In patients receiving the drug, taking two pills Allegheny County MH
increased the dosage from 10 mg. to 20 mg. The higher dose more effectively Emergency Line
After 12 weeks of treatment, 68 percent of patients taking escitalopram had Allegheny County Jail
improved. About 51 percent of those taking the placebo showed improvement. Forensic Service
"We found improvements not only in anxiety and level of worry but also in functioning," Lenze says. "Many people who took the drug felt they were better Allegheny County
able to carry out daily role activities related to their work or family life." Ombudsman
Interestingly, the researchers also noted that escitalopram helped some patients
Bipolar and Manic
Depressive Support
"We noticed if their blood pressure was normal, it stayed the same. If they had high blood pressure, it got better," he says. "It's a preliminary finding, and more research is needed, but it suggests that anxiety treatment in this age group can The main side effect of escitalopram in this study was fatigue and sleepiness. That surprised the research team because the drug is not a sedative; however, the symptoms usually went away after a few weeks, and the drug was well tolerated 724.775.6304
for more information
Borderline Personality
Although escitalopram helped, Lenze calls the benefits modest. Support Group
"That doesn't mean an older adult shouldn't take an SSRI for an anxiety disorder, but it appears the medication alone usually won't be sufficient," he says. "We're currently conducting a study that combines drug treatment with a type of Community Care
psychotherapy called cognitive behavior therapy." Member Services
That study includes investigators at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of California at San Diego and Washington University. This study treats patients for Lenze believes the long-term nature of the study will provide better answers about Depression & Anxiety
how to effectively treat anxiety in older adults and whether doing so improves
Depression and Bipolar
Support Alliance
"Most older adults with an anxiety disorder never see a mental health specialist," (DBSA) - Meets at
Lenze says. "They are more likely to see a gastroenterologist for GI difficulties or a rheumatologist for muscle pain than to go to a psychiatrist. They may feel stress and worry about things, but some other symptom is what gets them to go to the Lenze, EJ, Rollman BL, Shear MK,Dew MA, Pollock BG, Ciliberti C, Costantino M, Snyder S, Shi P, Spitznagel E, Andreescu C, Butters MA, Reynolds CF III. available on the roof (near Peterson Events Center). Escitalopram for older adults with generalized anxiety disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, vol 301(3), pp. 295- 412. 321.6325 for more
This study was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the John A. Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Psychiatry and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center endowment in geriatric psychiatry. Forest Laboratories,
which holds the U.S. patent for escitalopram, provided the drug and matching
Eating Disorder

Lenze receives research support from Forest Laboratories. Washington University School of Medicine's 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty Families of Children
physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's With Challenging
Hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching, Behaviors
and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked third in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's Hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare. HealthChoices

Hyperactive Brain May Influence Schizophrenia
New imaging studies suggest an overactive brain system may blur internal and external realities among individuals with schizophrenia. Service has a new
program: “RIDE FOR
The traditional view of schizophrenia is that the disturbed thoughts, perceptions FREE WITH MATP.” This
and emotions that characterize the disease are caused by disconnections among the brain regions that control these different functions. But this study, appearing in the advance online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that schizophrenia also involves an excess of connectivity between the so-called default brain regions, which are involved in self- Call (888) 547-6287
reflection and become active when we are thinking about nothing in particular, or (MATP) for more
“People normally suppress this default system when they perform challenging tasks, but we found that patients with schizophrenia don’t do this,” said John D. Mood Support & Manic
Gabrieli, a professor in the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT and one Depressive/Bipolar
Support – Meets at St
Paul's Episcopal Church (Washington Road and “We think this could help to explain the cognitive and psychological symptoms of schizophrenia.” Gabrieli added that he hopes the research might lead to ways of predicting or monitoring individual patients’ response to treatments for this mental illness, which occurs in about 1 percent of the population. Tony at 412.779.5834

Obsessive Compulsive

Schizophrenia has a strong genetic component, and first-degree relatives of Support Groups
patients (who share half their genes) are 10 times more likely to develop the disease than the general population. The identities of these genes and how they PA Health Law Project
The researchers thus studied three carefully matched groups of 13 subjects each: schizophrenia patients, nonpsychotic first-degree relatives of patients and healthy controls. They selected patients who were recently diagnosed, so that differences
The PennFree
in prior treatment or psychotic episodes would not bias the results. Program is a twelve-
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The subjects were scanned by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while resting and while performing easy or hard memory tasks. The behavioral and clinical testing were performed by Larry J. Seidman and colleagues at Harvard Medical School, and the imaging data were analyzed by first author Susan Whitfield-Gabrieli, a research scientist at the MIT Martinos Imaging Center at the The researchers were especially interested recovering, single men and women, single men in the default system, a network of brain regions whose activity is suppressed when people perform demanding mental tasks. This network includes the medial prefrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex, regions that are associated with self-reflection and autobiographical memories and which become connected http://www.familyli
into a synchronously active network when the mind is allowed to wander.
for more information!
Whitfield-Gabrieli found that in the schizophrenia patients, the default system was both hyperactive and hyperconnected during rest, and it remained so as they Physical Health Plans –
performed the memory tasks. In other words, the patients were less able than Member Services
healthy control subjects to suppress the activity of this network during the task. Interestingly, the less the suppression and the greater the connectivity, the worse they performed on the hard memory task, and the more severe their clinical
Recovery, Inc.
“We think this may reflect an inability of people with schizophrenia to direct mental resources away from internal thoughts and feelings and toward the external world
in order to perform difficult tasks,” Whitfield-Gabrieli explained. The hyperactive default system could also help to explain hallucinations and Refer the Uninsured
paranoia by making neutral external stimuli seem inappropriately self-relevant. For Project:
instance, if brain regions whose activity normally signifies self-focus are active while listening to a voice on television, the person may perceive that the voice is their Helpline at (800) 274-3258 or TTY line The default system is also overactive, though to a lesser extent, in first-degree relatives of schizophrenia patients who did not themselves have the disease. This suggests that overactivation of the default system may be linked to the genetic cause of the disease rather than its consequences. The default system is a hot topic in brain imaging, according to John Gabrieli, partly because it is easy to measure and because it is affected in different ways by Research Into the
Causes of

Research Brain Tissue
Donation Info.
Real and Perceived Stigma in Schizophrenia Severe, Widespread
of the poverty level. Hours are M-TH 9am- A global study shows that individuals with schizophrenia both experience and A cross-sectional survey of individuals with schizophrenia from 27 countries by investigators from King's College London, in the United Kingdom, revealed that 43% to 47% of individuals with schizophrenia experienced discrimination in making or keeping friends or maintaining relationships with family members, while 29% experienced discrimination in finding or keeping a job and 27% experienced discrimination in their intimate or sexual relationships. Rebecca LaBovick,
"Discrimination has not been systematically measured before in this group, and we found it was common and severe," principal investigator Graham Thornicroft, PhD, from King's College London, told Medscape Psychiatry. (412) 621.6513 x 101
The study also revealed 2 surprising findings, he noted. First, discrimination is uniform among diverse countries. Second, about 1 in 3 individuals anticipate discrimination in close relationships or job seeking that does not materialize. SURVIVORS OF

"Clinicians need to take these issues very seriously and never offer life-denying statements such as 'you will never work again,' " said Dr. Thornicroft The study is published online January 21 in the Lancet. Well Spouse Support
The Ultimate Stigma
Many patients with mental illness experience stigma caused by other people's lack of knowledge, prejudicial attitudes, and discriminatory behavior. This can lead to impoverishment, social marginalization, and low quality of life. "By comparison with other disorders, mental illnesses are typically more stigmatized, and this has been called the ultimate stigma," the authors write. NAMI VETERANS
Most of the previous research on stigma and mental illness has mainly focused on hypothetical situations. Such investigations, say the authors, emphasize what healthy people might say rather than focusing on the experiences of individuals To measure both experienced and anticipated discrimination — defined as unjust distinction in the treatment of different categories of people — the researchers conducted a cross-sectional survey using face-to-face interviews among 732 people diagnosed with schizophrenia, 1 of the most stigmatizing mental disorders. Participants were drawn from centers that were part of the International Study of Discrimination and Stigma Outcomes (INDIGO) network in 27 countries throughout Trichotillomania
Support Groups
The subjects had a mean age of 39 years, and 62% were men. To address the need for an internationally reliable measure of discrimination, the researchers developed the discrimination and stigma scale (DISC), which was translated and cross-culturally adapted for all study sites. The scale contains 32 items to determine experienced discrimination and 4 items to To determine discrimination, the participants were asked whether they had been treated differently and about a range of work, social, and everyday life situations. ALLEGHENY COUNTY
If they reported discrimination, they were asked to provide a verbatim example. PEER-SUPPORT/
The investigators found negative discrimination was a very common experience in this patient group. In addition, longer duration of illness and receiving compulsory treatment were both associated with higher levels of negative discrimination. Positive discrimination was less common, although 24% of study participants reported positive discrimination in treatment by family, and between 11% and 18% reported positive discrimination for obtaining welfare, housing, and medical comfortable environment where people can go to Of the 69% of participants who reported anticipating discrimination in finding or keeping work, only 33% had actually experienced this type of discrimination. Similarly, of the 60% of participants who reported anticipating discrimination in intimate relationships, only 26% actually experienced discrimination of this type. This finding, say the authors, indicates the importance of including methods that increase self-esteem in stigma-reduction strategies for individuals with mental illness and has important implications for education of employers about mental Chain of Hope - 710
Wood Street, Pittsburgh,
For example, disability discrimination legislation might require additional Maverick – 1005 Fifth
interventions to reduce anticipated discrimination, so individuals with mental illnesses apply for and obtain jobs, they suggest. New Horizons – 616
"As a next step, antidiscrimination legislation needs to be applied to people with mental as well as physical disabilities," said Dr. Thornicroft. Olive Branch – 215
According to the investigators, this study opens the door to a" new arena of research characterizing the nature and extent of discrimination against people with Peoples Oakland – 3433
Need to "Step Up Our Efforts"
PA 15213, 412.683.7140.
Second Hope
"This landmark study encourages us not only to continue fighting stigma in a global coalition, but also to step up our efforts," writes Beate Schulze, MD, from the University of Zurich, in Switzerland, in an accompanying editorial. Wellsprings – 903
There are several key messages that can be derived from this research, says Dr. Schulze, among them, the need for clinical interventions to enhance patients' self- esteem. Further, she writes, there is a need to improve the quality of psychiatric treatment and more closely scrutinize clinicians' attitudes about mental illness and refute "fatalistic notions" about prognosis and treatment. WARMLINE - OPEN
10 AM-10 PM DAILY.
By bringing together structural and cognitive perspectives that have not previously (9276) FOR ANYONE
been combined, the INDIGO study is "breaking new ground" and pointing in new AFFECTED BY MENTAL
Mark your calendar for April 18, 2009
NAMI SWPA’s 8th Annual Conference
Living Longer with Serious Mental Illness
NAMI Pittsburgh South Membership Form 2009
___ Enclosed is my check for $35 for family membership in NAMI Pittsburgh South,
NAMI, NAMI of PA &NAMI of SW PA and their respective publications. Enclosed is my check for $10.00 for the NAMI Pittsburgh South newsletter only. Enclosed is my check for $7.00. I have limited income. Enclosed is my check for a donation of $_____. I am interested in helping with NAME__________________________________________________________ ADDRESS_______________________________________________________ CITY _________________________________STATE _____ ZIP __________ PHONE _________________________ EMAIL ADDRESS________________ Would you like to receive the newsletter via email? _______________________ ____ I would/ would not (circle one) like to have my name, address, email and telephone number in a members’ directory.
Make check payable to: NAMI Pittsburgh South
Send Dues to: Eva Bednar, 5005 Oak Point Drive McKees Rocks, PA 15136
(412) 771-1728 bednarem@comcast,net



WAL-MART / SAM'S CLUB $4 PROGRAM List Effective January 17th, 2007 ( Applies to up to a 30 day supply at commonly prescribed dosages.) Therapeutic Category Drug Name Therapeutic Category Drug Name ANTI INFLAMMATORY BETAMETHASONE DIP 0.05% CREAM 15GMANTI INFLAMMATORY BETAMETHASONE DIP 0.05% CREAM 45GMANTI INFLAMMATORY BETAMETHASONE VAL 0.1% CREAM 15GMANTI INFLAMMATORY BETAM

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