• Study Says Antipsychotic Meds May Literally Shrink Your Brain

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    There are a number of antipsychotic (neuroleptic) medications available. These medications affect neurotransmitters that allow communication between nerve cells. One such neurotransmitter, dopamine, is thought to be relevant to schizophrenia symptoms. All these medications have been shown to be effective for schizophrenia. The main differences are in the potency–that is, the dosage (amount) prescribed to produce therapeutic effects-and the side effects.

    A study published today has confirmed a link between antipsychotic medication and a slight, but measurable, decrease in brain volume in patients with schizophrenia. For the first time, researchers have been able to examine whether this decrease is harmful for patients' cognitive function and symptoms, and noted that over a nine year follow-up, this decrease did not appear to have any effect.

    As we age, our brains naturally lose some of their volume – in other words, brain cells and connections. This process, known as atrophy, typically begins in our thirties and continues into old age. Researchers have known for some time that patients with schizophrenia lose brain volume at a faster rate than healthy individuals, though the reason why is unclear.

    Now, in a study published in the open access journal PLOS ONE, a team of researchers from the University of Oulu, Finland, and the University of Cambridge has identified the …

    Choosing the best medication to prescribe is not always straightforward because people may respond to medications differently. This means that finding the right one for you may involve trying one or more. However, there are some things you and your doctor can consider to work out what type of antipsychotic medication is likely to be most helpful, including whether you have had any physical health problems and what symptoms you experience.

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