Study warns of antipsychotic stroke risk

A study in the British Medical Journal has suggested that patients with dementia should not take antipsychotic drugs because of an increased risk of having a stroke.

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine discovered that of the 6,700 men and women whose medical records they studied, those who took antipsychotics were 1.7 times more likely to have a stroke; the risk was much higher if people had dementia.

Responding to these findings Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive of the mental health charity Sane, said that while the drugs were capable of transforming lives, different patients reacted differently to their side-effects.

She said: “This study should remind us all that antipsychotics are powerful drugs which can both be essential for some people, while carrying other risks.

“This is another warning that all antipsychotics should be prescribed with great thought and be subject to rigorous follow-up.”

Study suggests that children of older fathers have higher risk of bipolar
A Swedish study into bipolar disorder has found that the older a man is the more chance he has of fathering a child with the illness.

Up until now research has linked other mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and autism, with the offspring of older fathers.

Now, a report in the publication Archives of Psychiatry, suggests dads over the age of 29 have an increased chance of having children susceptible to the condition.

Researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute stated the reason may be due to ageing sperm.

Unlike women, who are born with all their eggs, men make new sperm throughout their adult life.

However, this process, which involves copying DNA, is prone to error as men age.

The study has been welcomed by a number of mental health organisations although they stress that the complex range of factors that make people prone to illnesses like bipolar (which affects half a million people in the UK) means more research is required.

Other than a family history of psychotic disorders, few risk factors for the condition, which causes dramatic mood swings, have been identified.

Carers should be paid more says report
A report by MPs has criticised the lack of financial help given to Britain’s six million unpaid carers.

Carers are estimated to save the British taxpayer £87bn a year.

However, despite these savings, many carers believe they are not treated fairly claiming their current weekly allowance of £50.55 is too low.

Now a report by the Commons Work and Pensions Committee has urged the Government to give carers more financial aid by stating that more state help is of “critical importance”.

The committee has recommended a “two tier” approach to state help combining income replacement and pensions protection for carers unable to work (or only able to work part-time) as well as compensation for extra costs incurred by “intensive” caring.

In addition the committee concluded that the Government should help and encourage carers who want to return to work to do so.

To read the report go to: