Ask an Expert

Bruce S. McEwen, Ph.D. - Brain and behavior research expert on mental illness
Q. If some people are inherently more able to bounce back from stress, can those traits be acquired by others, or is this just an ability people possess at birth?
A. Resilience is an active process that helps one achieve positive outcomes in the face... More >
Bruce S. McEwen, Ph.D. - Brain and behavior research expert on mental illness
Q. What are you most hopeful about in your research?
A. The potential of harnessing brain plasticity and the power of behavior in changing... More >
Schahram Akbarian, M.D., Ph.D. Scientific Council Member 1993, 2000 NARSAD Young Investigator Grantee 1997 Klerman Prizewinner Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience Chief of the Division of Psychiatric Epigenomics Mount Sinai School of Medicine, expert on mental illness
Q. Is there a time frame for being able to reverse or to stop the insults that occur to DNA?
A. We do not know. To ‘rewrite’ the epigenetic code, or repair insults that occurred to... More >
Bruce S. McEwen, Ph.D. - Brain and behavior research expert on mental illness
Q. Aside from physical exercise and socializing, which you mentioned in your article, are there other things a person can do to increase his or her brain plasticity? Do “brain games” have any effect?
A. Besides regular physical activity and a supportive social network, it’s also... More >
Bruce S. McEwen, Ph.D. - Brain and behavior research expert on mental illness
Q. Can one be measured for brain plasticity and/or brain “damage” resulting from stress?
A. Not really, except in cases of stroke or head trauma. Neuropsychological tests of... More >
Rachel G. Klein, Ph.D., Scientific Council Member, 1995 NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grantee, 2004 Ruane Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Research, Professsor of Psychiatry, New York University Child Study Center, Expert on Childhood mental illnesses including ADHD and anxiety
Q. In your time on the Scientific Council, what is the most promising area of brain and behavior research you’ve seen?
A. Two areas appear most promising. One is that great progress has been made in... More >
Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., Columbia University Medical Center
Q. What is the benefit of early intervention in treating schizophrenia - and how is it possible?
A. “The ability to treat people who develop schizophrenia successfully, produce... More >
Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., Columbia University Medical Center
Q. What is ‘recovery’ for a patient with Schizophrenia?
A. “They have an illness, they may continue to have some level of symptoms, but it’s... More >
Eric J. Nestler, M.D., Ph.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on schizophrenia
Q. Four generations of family, possibly five, have a history that includes severe mental illness. This is not a matter of nurture as we were all raised separately. How common is this? I have chosen to not have children due to this legacy.
A. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon, since all forms of severe mental illness are... More >
Bryan Roth, M.D., Ph.D.
Q. How long will it take to get real improvements in treatment for illnesses like schizophrenia?
A. There are several novel medications in both early- and later-stage clinical... More >
Judith L. Rapoport, M.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on schizophrenia
Q. Is there any way to prevent suspect genes from causing mental illness or to prevent the development of these 'copy-number variants' (CNVs) that have been linked to schizophrenia? Is that a current focus of research?
A. So far, there is no known way to stop copy number variants (CNVs) from forming. But... More >
Judith L. Rapoport, M.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on schizophrenia
Q. What are the most promising areas of research today—and how close are we getting to prevention and cures?
A. Certainly, brain imaging and genetics have the greatest attention in clinical... More >
Daniel Wolf, MD. PhD. - Assoc. Prof. Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine
Q. What are negative symptoms of schizophrenia?
A. "I use functional neuroimaging primarily as a method to study this...allows us to... More >
Schahram Akbarian, M.D., Ph.D. Scientific Council Member 1993, 2000 NARSAD Young Investigator Grantee 1997 Klerman Prizewinner Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience Chief of the Division of Psychiatric Epigenomics Mount Sinai School of Medicine, expert on schizophrenia
Q. There are endless genetic studies for mental illness and yet the treatments don’t seem to be getting better. Why is there still such an emphasis on understanding the genetics?
A. This is an excellent question. Once a disease-associated gene has been found,... More >
Eric J. Nestler, M.D., Ph.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on schizophrenia
Q. Is there a viral or infection component to schizophrenia that could be treated with an antiviral or an antibiotic, especially at first episode?
A. This remains an area of active research. There is currently no definitive evidence... More >
Schahram Akbarian, M.D., Ph.D. Scientific Council Member 1993, 2000 NARSAD Young Investigator Grantee 1997 Klerman Prizewinner Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience Chief of the Division of Psychiatric Epigenomics Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Expert on mental illness
Q. If epigenetics is related to environmental influences triggering a susceptibility to mental illness—do you know particular ones leading to schizophrenia?
A. A number of environmental influences acting on the developing brain are suspected to... More >
Bryan L. Roth, M.D., Ph.D.
Q. How does a personal connection to mental illness impact the work you do?
A. I’m reminded on a daily basis how far we’ve come and yet how far we need to go to... More >
Bryan Roth, M.D., Ph.D.
Q. Is there a link between vitamin D3 deficiency and schizophrenia?
A. There are several studies which have suggested some link between both high and low... More >
Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D. - Brain and behavior research expert on schizophrenia
Q. I know you treat people like my young adult son, who has schizophrenia. None of the experts we consulted asked about his childhood behavior patterns. Is it possible to intervene early to curb severe mental illness later in life?
A. Indeed, we are now beginning to understand that people with neuropsychiatric... More >
Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., Columbia University Medical Center
Q. Where will the breakthroughs come in treating schizophrenia?
A. “The single biggest thing that would aid research in mental illnesses and the... More >
Judith L. Rapoport, M.D., expert on schizophrenia
Q. Do you recommend finding out if your children carry the risk genes that can predispose to different mental illnesses? Is it better to know―and if so, what does one do with that information?
A. There are genes in general which so far have not been helpful to measure in most... More >
Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D. - Brain and behavior research expert on schizophrenia
Q. Have any of the labs that are using your invention CLARITY to more precisely observe the brain after death found things that were particularly surprising in your view?
A. Though CLARITY technology is so new that these kinds of studies have not yet been... More >
Judith L. Rapoport, M.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on schizophrenia
Q. Are there clear, identifying characteristics of the “abnormal timing of developmental events” that can lead to schizophrenia, psychosis, ADHD, etc.? How can parents know if their child has experienced this abnormal development?
A. This is a top research question. Probably there are very early abnormalities even... More >
Rachel G. Klein, Ph.D., Scientific Council Member, 1995 NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grantee, 2004 Ruane Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Research, Professsor of Psychiatry, New York University Child Study Center, Expert on Childhood mental illnesses including ADHD and anxiety
Q. In your time on the Scientific Council, what is the most promising area of brain and behavior research you’ve seen?
A. Two areas appear most promising. One is that great progress has been made in... More >
Robert C. Malenka, M.D., Ph.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on bipolar disorder
Q. Our son lives with bipolar disorder and takes 1,000 mg of Depakote® daily. It doesn’t seem to be working; he remains unmotivated and very anxious. He feels no need to seek therapy do you have any advice on how to get someone to visit a therapist?
A. Helping a friend or loved one understand that they will benefit greatly from seeing... More >

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