Schizophrenia symptoms treated with acne antibiotic
There are hopes a popular and cheap treatment for teenage acne could be effective in minimising the symptoms of schizophrenia.
The antibiotic minocycline has already shown promise in a number of international trials, which have been carried out in Japan, Israel, Pakistan and Brazil.
Now the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is investing £1.9 million into another trial of minocycline.
It has been reported in The Independent newspaper that NIHR will start recruiting 175 UK patients who have recently been diagnosed with schizophrenia to take part in the study from next month.
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Scientists and mental health experts believe schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, such as depression and Alzheimer’s, are the result of the inflammation in the brain.
Minocycline is thought to reduce this inflammation, as it contains anti-inflammatory properties and boasts neuroprotective effects.
The upcoming study will see half of the participants embark on a 12 moth course of the acne medication, with the remaining 50 percent being given a placebo drug.
Comparing the results of brain scans that are taken at the start and end of the year-long treatment will then reveal if there has been any reduction in the patient’s amount of grey matter, a common effect of schizophrenia.
Tests will also be carried out to identify if any inflammatory markers in the blood are present.
Speaking to The Independent, the chair of the Schizophrenia Commission, Professor Sir Robin Murray, noted: “Infection or inflammation might be involved in a minority of people with acute psychosis and minocycline might counter this.
“In depression inflammatory markers go up and in Alzheimer's too.”
It was back in 2007 that the potential benefit of minocycline to schizophrenia patients was first recognised.
Through pure chance, the antibiotic was given to a schizophrenia patient in Japan to treat an unrelated infection, but it was quickly discovered his psychosis was improving too.
However, it has been pointed out that the minocycline only alleviates symptoms and is not a cure.
Speaking to the Daily Mail newspaper, the CEO of the Rethink Mental Illness charity, Paul Jenkins, commented: “We welcome the early promise shown by minocycline in treating psychosis in people with schizophrenia.
“Nowhere near enough time or money currently goes into to researching treatments for schizophrenia or other serious mental illnesses.”
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Dubai's new smart neuro spinal hospital: need to know
We take a look at Dubai's new smart hospital.
What: The Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre is a new hospital featuring state-of-the-art technology for spinal, neurosurgical, neurological, orthopaedic, radiosurgery and cancer treatments. The 700 million AED hospital, (equivalent to £138 million), has 114 beds, smart patient rooms, and green spaces for patient rehabilitation, and is four times the capacity of its former premises in Jumeirah. It is also the UAE’s first hospital to have surgical robots.
Where: The hospital is located in the Dubai Science Park. Founded in 2005, Dubai Science Park is home to more than 350 companies from multinational corporations in life sciences, biotechnology and research; over 4,000 people work here each day.
Who: The UAE's Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre was first established in Jumeirah in 2002 by Dr. Abdul Karim Msaddi, as the first as the first "super-specialty" neuroscience hospital.
Why: With advanced diagnosis and robotics, the hospital will provide care across neuroscience, spine, orthopaedics and oncology for people residing in the UAE, as well as international patients.
Prof. Abdul Karim Msaddi, Chairman and Medical Director of the hospital, said: “We are proud to bring world-class healthcare services to Dubai and believe our next-generation hospital will be a game-changer for the emirate’s and the region’s medical industry.
"It will not only significantly increase the availability of specialist neuroscience and radiosurgery treatments and provide better patient care but help attract and develop local and international talent. Investing in the new centre represents our continued faith in the resilience of the region’s economy, as well as a testament to our ongoing drive towards healthcare innovation in the UAE.”