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Study Helps Confirm Role of Kynurenic Acid in Schizophrenia and Why Smoking Relieves Symptoms

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(Great Neck, N.Y. - June 15, 2009) — Levels of a substance called kynurenic acid (KYNA) are elevated in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid of people with schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease, and KYNA had been suspected of a role in the cognitive dysfunction characteristic of both these disorders.

Now, studies by NARSAD Investigator David Bucci, Ph.D., and colleagues in Dartmouth College’s department of psychological and brain sciences, have shown that elevated concentrations of endogenous KYNA interfere with contextual learning and memory. The findings were reported in the March 19 online edition of the journal Behavioural Brain Research.

In Dr. Bucci’s experiments, rats received injections of solutions of l-kynurenine (L-KYN), the precursor for KYNA. Administration of L-KYN has been shown to produce clinically relevant increases in KYNA concentration. The treated rats exhibited impaired contextual fear memory compared to control rats. In an experiment in which the rats were trained to discriminate between two different training environments, one in which foot shock was delivered and one that was not paired with foot shock, both groups eventually learned the discrimination, but learning was slower in L-KYN-treated rats.

KYNA acts on molecules called nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, the receptors affected by smoking. People with schizophrenia smoke much more than people in the general population, which has suggested that they use nicotine as a form of self-medication. Dr. Bucci and his team have shown that that acute nicotine administration in laboratory rats reduced their KYNA levels.

Dr. Bucci wrote: “It is interesting to consider the possibility that cigarette smoking may be used by those with schizophrenia to attenuate cognitive and sensory deficits. Future studies in rat models should examine the capacity for nicotine treatment to reduce the deficits produced by upregulation of brain KYNA.”

(This article was adapted with permission from Elsevier, publisher of Behavioural Brain Research.)

Link to article: http://www.narsad.org/news/press/rg_2009/res2009-06-15.html

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Hello ladies (and any gentlemen that might be listening in). I was diagnosed Bipolar in 1998, and later the term Schizo-affective was tacked on haphhazardly. I have been a smoker for years, but today, after an "epiphane", I decided to quit. I quit before for 2 months about 5 months ago, but it didn't stick. I fell back into it. Why? Because it filled a gap in my life. I thought I needed it. It activated a small portion of my brain with a mild burst of dopamine, sort of a feel-good drug that the body is meant to produce on its own, in relation to experiences of LIFE that a person undergoes. Bipolar and Schizoaffective patients think they need smokes to calm down or to feel good, because they've been treated so poorly by society- locked away in hospital and medicated like cattle, and for many of them, cigarettes were the only real pleasure they could enjoy in the hospital. They were not allowed to have meaningful and powerful bonds with fellow patients, because the power control freak staff members would not allow it. They would not allow touching, hand-holding, kissing, even sometimes they would prohibit patients from being within a close proximity to one another. Is it any wonder that when they feed smokes to the patients during much awaited for "smoke breaks", that that habit is going to stick with the patient long after they have left the hospital? The patient will have memories of their hospital stays, and will recall how cigarettes were their only form of pleasure, and sometimes food, and when they get out, their perception of reality has been reduced to a fraction of what it once was. They become scared of going into the outside world again, afraid of relating to others in intimate ways, and they don't know what to do to "fix" themselves, because society has labeled them as misfits and treated them as sub-humans. The mentally ill in this world have been repressed too long by the societal chains that are around our necks. And now, I can just see this research getting into the hands of the ELITES in control. Now it will practically become mandatory to smoke cigarettes if this incredibly naive research gets into the movers and the shakers of society- those who want to dumb down the masses, and stupify us with drugs into nothingness while they go about their merry lives, living in comfortable bliss, completely unawares and uncaring that millions of socially repressed individuals are about to take their freedom back- the freedom they lost years ago to the pockets of psychiatrists and doctors for the mentally ill who are perfectly at ease in pumping us to the brim with the latest medical concoction, a russian roulette experiment to see if any of them "take". I'm sick of being treated as a sub-human. Medication is not the answer to our problems. Smoking is not the answer to our problems. The power of LOVE is the answer, and the discernment of those who have "made it through" the system and have arrived on the other side, battered and bruised, but ultimately free to spread their wings and take flight to the heavens. These people can be beacons of light to those still trapped in the system. I was once trapped. And I had no idea how I would get out. But God has not been slow in delivering me from the hell I went through, He has done things perfectly, in his own time, exactly when they needed to be done, so long as I was a willing vessel. Without God to sustain me, and eventually deliver me from the oppressive mental health system, I would have been trapped like so many others, living tiny pleasure to tiny pleasure, just hoping to make it to the next day without falling off the planet entirely. It's time for those with love and compassion to take the place of psychiatrists and uncaring doctors who only care about lining their pockets with cash by doling out as many new meds as they possibly can. We will become our own doctors. The Mentally Ill will be delivered from their bondage, brought back to God, and will take a huge role in healing themselves through the power of faith, the power of proper thinking, the encouragement and enrichment of others in regards to their ideas, their dreams, their life goals. It's time to awaken the sleeping masses, dumbed down by drugs and the oppressive social system that kept us in our own mental prisons. My name is Christopher Moyer. I'm here to help. Nothing more. Quiting smoking, and trusting God to take care of you, will be a first HUGE step in eventually receiving freedom from the multitude of SSRI's, Anti-Psychotics, and other mood "stabilizers" you may be on. Trust God to heal your body and your soul. Take command of your life. Let Go and Let God. If you've found this writing encouraging, helpful, inspiring, or just plain informative, send a link to this site on your Tweets, or post the article on your blogs. We're the ones who are going to heal ourselves, with God's help. Let's all join hands and work together for a better future.
With love and sincerity,
Christopher David Moyer
Skype 530-615-0099

October 14, 2010 - 6:21pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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