Antipsychotic Drugs Shrink Brain Size

Antipsychotic Drugs Shrink Brain Size

February 8, 2011

Researchers have long known that people with schizophrenia have smaller brains by volume than the general population, especially in the “grey matter” structures of the brain which deal with memory storage and higher reasoning. But a shocking new study has revealed that the antipsychotic drugs administered to mental health patients to “treat” them may actually be partly to blame for that brain volume reduction, according to Nature.

The study could have serious implications about the appropriate use of antipsychotic drugs, as well as complicate theories about how exactly these drugs are purported to work.

The research was led by Beng Choon Ho, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan the brains of 211 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia over a 7.2-year period, with an average rate of 3 scans per patient, Ho’s team found that antipsychotics explained 6.6% of the reduction in total brain volume and 1.7% of the change in total grey-matter volume.

Although the study is marred by the lack of a placebo control group (such a control would be unethical, since patients can’t be deprived of the medications they may need), there are a number of facts from the study which reinforce its results nonetheless. For instance, the more antipsychotics that patients receive, the more likely they are to have a decreased amount of grey matter. The study also found that the greatest volume reduction came in those who had been recently diagnosed, meaning they had just started taking their medication.

In other words, the use of antipsychotic medication appears to be directly correlated with the advent of the brain loss.

Further corroboration for these results comes from animal studies, where there are fewer ethical considerations. For instance, one study by neuroscientist David Lewis found that healthy non-human primates given doses of antipsychotics similar to those given to humans showed brain volume reductions of around 10 percent.

“We did not expect to see this,” said Ho. “We’ve been very careful to get it right because of the potential implications.”

One such implication is that the antipsychotic drugs examined in Ho’s research are helping patients by hurting them– a paradoxical fact which ought to caution mental health officials about the real value of these drugs.

According to Lewis, the next step for researchers could be to study people with depression and bipolar disorder, too. Comparing changes in the brain volume of these patients, who are prescribed many other types of psychiatric drugs besides antipsychotics, to the changes among patients from Ho’s study, could spell out just how far these concerns span.

In the meantime, Ho recommends that doctors exercise increased caution whenever prescribing antipsychotics.

“This will reinforce what I have always tried to do with my patients– work with them in finding the lowest effective dose,” he said.

Drugs That Can Cause Brain Damage


Drugs That Can Cause Brain Damage

Drugs That Can Cause Brain Damage

Dr. Mercola
August 3, 2010

Drugs commonly taken for a variety of common medical conditions negatively affect your brain, causing long term cognitive impairment. These drugs, called anticholinergics, block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter.

They include such common over-the-counter brands as Benadryl, Dramamine, Excedrin PM, Nytol, Sominex, Tylenol PM, and Unisom.

Other anticholinergic drugs, such as Paxil, Detrol, Demerol and Elavil are available only by prescription.

Physorg reports:

    “Researchers … conducted a six-year observational study, evaluating 1,652 Indianapolis area African-Americans over the age of 70 who had normal cognitive function when the study began … ‘[T]aking one anticholinergic significantly increased an individual’s risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and taking two of these drugs doubled this risk.'”

Physorg July 13, 2010
Neurology July 13, 2010; 75(2):152-9

Drugs in Drinking Water Killing Our Brains

Recalled children’s Tylenol products were knowingly contaminated


Aspirin kills 400% more people than H1N1 swine flu

Aspirin kills 400% more people than H1N1 swine flu

Natural News
November 20, 2009

The CDC now reports that nearly 4,000 Americans have been killed by H1N1 swine flu. This number is supposed to sound big and scary, motivating millions of people to go out and pay good money to be injected with untested, unproven H1N1 vaccines. But let’s put the number in perspective: Did you know that more than four times as many people are killed each year by common NSAID painkillers like aspirin?

The July 1998 issue of The American Journal of Medicine explains it as follows:

“Conservative calculations estimate that approximately 107,000 patients are hospitalized annually for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-related gastrointestinal (GI) complications and at least 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur each year among arthritis patients alone.” (Singh Gurkirpal, MD, “Recent Considerations in Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Gastropathy”, The American Journal of Medicine, July 27, 1998, p. 31S)

So for every person the CDC claims was killed by H1N1 swine flu this year, common painkillers like aspirin have killed four! Yet you don’t see the CDC, FDA, WHO or mainstream media running around screaming about the extreme dangers of aspirin, do you? All those deaths apparently don’t matter. Only swine flu deaths lead to hysteria.

Understanding risk

According to death statistics tables available on the ‘net, you are ten times more likely to die in a car accident this year than be killed by swine flu.

Nearly 100,000 Americans die every year from adverse reactions to FDA-approved prescription drugs. That’s twenty-five times the number of people killed by H1N1 swine flu (even if you believe the CDC’s numbers). So where’s the big warning about the dangers of prescription drugs? Why isn’t the CDC warning Americans about an “epidemic of dangerous drugs” that poses a far greater threat to your health?

The answer, of course, is that health authorities want to push people to buy vaccines that are about to become worthless (they’re only good before swine flu fizzles out). And the only way to sell more vaccines to people who don’t need them is to hype up a bunch of scare stories by citing bold statistics that make H1N1 swine flu seem really, really dangerous.

But the flu is no more dangerous than aspirin. In fact, H1N1 swine flu may be safer than aspirin.

Here’s another quote from the New England Journal of Medicine:

“It has been estimated conservatively that 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur among patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis every year in the United States. This figure is similar to the number of deaths from the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and considerably greater than the number of deaths from multiple myeloma, asthma, cervical cancer, or Hodgkin’s disease. If deaths from gastrointestinal toxic effects from NSAIDs were tabulated separately in the National Vital Statistics reports, these effects would constitute the 15th most common cause of death in the United States. Yet these toxic effects remain mainly a “silent epidemic,” with many physicians and most patients unaware of the magnitude of the problem. Furthermore the mortality statistics do not include deaths ascribed to the use of over-the-counter NSAIDS.” (Wolfe M. MD, Lichtenstein D. MD, and Singh Gurkirpal, MD, “Gastrointestinal Toxicity of Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs”, The New England Journal of Medicine, June 17, 1999, Vol. 340, No. 24, pp. 1888-1889.)

Did you catch that? The 16,500 figure for deaths each year doesn’t even include over-the-counter painkiller drugs! If you add in those numbers, you’re probably looking at something closer to 40,000 Americans kills each year by these drugs. And that makes these drugs 1000% more deadly than swine flu (because 40,000 is ten times greater than 4,000).