- Cullman, Alabama


May 29, 2013

Study finds avatar therapy helps silence schizophrenia's voices



"Quite often a voice is telling them to jump off a bridge or run under a train," he said.

Leff and his colleagues had difficulty recruiting enough people for the 55,000-pound pilot study because he said other doctors were reluctant to refer patients for an unproven treatment. Only 16 of the 26 participants completed the trial, he said. Some were deterred by voices they heard threatening to harm them if they participated.

"The voices, which can be terribly brutal, end up saying to patients, 'if you try this therapy, I'm going to kill you'," Leff said.

The therapy isn't the answer for everyone with schizophrenia, Leff said. Those who heard more than one voice had difficulty concentrating when other voices interrupted. Some patients enjoy their auditory hallucinations, such as a young man Leff didn't treat in the trial because the voice he heard was of a broadcaster commenting on his favorite soccer team.

The Wellcome Trust is interested in the research because mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression remain a significant health burden, said John Williams, head of neuroscience and mental health at the charity.

"One of our major challenges is understanding the brain," Williams said.

The pilot study was funded by the National Institute of Health Research and Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust. The trial funded by Wellcome will enroll as many as 140 patients at least 18 years old at centers in Britain, Vienna and Bologna, Italy. It will primarily measure the reduction in stress from voices, Craig said.

Text Only
  • COMMENTARY: An alternative diagnosis to ADHD: Schoolchildren need more time to move

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that in recent years, there has been a jump in the percentage of young people diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD: 7.8 percent in 2003 to 9.5 percent in 2007 to 11 percent in 2011.

    July 18, 2014

  • Guideline: Most healthy women can skip pelvic exam

    No more dreaded pelvic exam? New guidelines say most healthy women can skip the yearly ritual.

    July 1, 2014

  • Sanofi targets fake Viagra market with non-prescription Cialis

    Sanofi sees an attractive opportunity in the rampant market for counterfeit Viagra: luring men away from dodgy online pharmacies with an over-the-counter version of a competing erection drug.

    June 5, 2014

  • Hospital charges to treat chest pain jump 10 percent in a year

    The charge to treat Medicare patients with chest pain at U.S. hospitals rose 10 percent to $18,568 in just a year, the biggest rise seen among the most common inpatient procedures, according to federal data.

    June 2, 2014

  • Study: Both men and women feel less stress at work than at home

    In a newly released study in the Journal of Science and Medicine, researchers carefully examined the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, of a variety of workers throughout the day. The data clearly showed that both men and women are significantly less stressed out at work than they are at home.
     And the women they studied said they were happier at work. While the men said they felt happier at home.

    May 26, 2014

  • Jobless contend with weight gain as they search for work

    A subject long ignored by policymakers, and one that unemployment counselors are too sheepish to raise with job seekers, the link between bulging waistlines and joblessness is now of intense interest to researchers studying the long-term effects of the country's economic malaise.

    May 12, 2014

  • COMMENTARY: Helmets won't protect your kids from concussions

    When I was a kid, helmets were for motorcyclists. Now I see children wearing helmets when they're scooting down sidewalks, skating, skiing, sledding and playing soccer. Last week one of my friends saw a helmeted kid power-walking in Prospect Park. You can even buy $40 baby helmets on Amazon, because, according to the product description, "babies will always fall taking their first steps."

    May 2, 2014

  • 400px-Cannabis_Plant.jpg How bad is marijuana for your health?

    The Journal of Neuroscience recently published a study linking recreational marijuana use to subtle changes in brain structure. The researchers, led by Jodi Gilman of Massachusetts General Hospital, identified increased gray matter density in the left nucleus accumbens and some bordering areas.

    May 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • American sunscreens need an upgrade

    The last time a new sunscreen ingredient came on the U.S. market, the Y2K bug was threatening to destroy our way of life. Intel had just introduced the Pentium III processor, featuring an amazing 500 MHz of computing power.

    April 24, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014