Network faithful know that Dr. Dennis Embry (a member of the CMHNetwork Advisory Council) has long been promoting the use of Omega-3 fish oil for the long-term prevention of psychosis. One of the studies that Dr. Embry has often cited is one that was funded by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey several years ago, that showed promise in the preventable effects of fish oil. For as long as I have known Dr. Embry, he has been calling for Dr. Torrey to move forward with the study.
Lo and behold, last week, the Treatment Advocacy Center, which is headed up by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, made the following announcement in their newsletter:
- From the Treatment and Advocacy Center Newsletter
Five years ago, an international team of researchers reported that a 12-week course of omega-3 reduced the risk of early psychotic symptoms progressing to schizophrenia in a study of 81 high-risk adolescents and young adults. The study took place over the course of a year. But now the researchers report the preventative effects of the fish oil intervention may last even longer (“Longer-term outcome in the prevention of psychotic disorders by the Vienna omega-3 study,” Nature Communications).
Only 10 percent of the individuals in the omega-3 group of participants went on to develop a psychotic disorder in a seven-year study period compared with 40% of the group receiving a placebo, say authors G. Paul Amminger et al.
The omega-3 participants were also less likely to be prescribed antipsychotic medications or to meet diagnostic criteria for severe mental illnesses during the follow-up period. The majority of the people that received omega-3 were employed full-time at follow-up and no longer experienced psychotic symptoms at the end of the study period, according to the report.
“If the finding that omega-3 prevents transition to full-blown schizophrenia is replicated, this would be a major breakthrough in preventing this debilitating illness,” according to Treatment Advocacy Center founder Dr. E. Fuller Torrey.
The Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI) funded the original study by Amminger et al. in 2003 as well as the follow-up study. SMRI currently is funding three additional studies of omega-3 in Australia and Europe and a trial of the use of omega-3 for individuals with bipolar disorder.
SMRI is a supporting organization of the Treatment Advocacy Center, whose mission includes promoting the development of innovative treatments for and research into the causes of severe and persistent psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Note to CMHNetwork readers: E. Fuller Torrey is the Associate Director of Research for the Stanley Medical Research Institute.
Okay, Dr. Torrey and Dr. Embry, time to move this forward. The Children's Mental Health Network is calling on the two of you to work together to get this treatment protocol listed on the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. Collectively, you have a rare opportunity to show true collaboration between a prevention scientist (Dr. Embry) and a research scientist who has dedicated his life to treating individuals with the most severe forms of mental illness (Dr. Torrey).
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President & CEO
Children's Mental Health Network