Ask an Expert

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 >
Dennis Charney, M.D., Expert on brain resilience
Q. Are there coping factors to help deal effectively with stress?
A. In their 20 years of treating and studying trauma survivors, Drs. Dennis Charney and... 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. 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 >
Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D. - brain & behavior research expert on mental illness
Q. How will new technologies help patients with mental illness?
A. Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University received the Goldman-Rakic... 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 >
Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D. - Brain and behavior research expert on schizophrenia
Q. 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 >
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 >
Jay N. Giedd, M.D. - brain & behavior research expert on schizophrenia
Q. How common is relapse after stabilization in schizophrenia?
A. Jay N. Giedd, M.D. of the National Institute of Mental Health received the Ruane... More >
Patrick F. Sullivan, M.D., FRANZCP - Brain & behavior research expert on suicide
Q. I think it’s wonderful that you got a consortium of scientists to work together to find answers on schizophrenia. What progress do you expect in the next five years?
A. In July 2014, the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium published a landmark paper that... 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 >
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 >
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 >
Marc G. Caron, Ph.D. - brain & behavior research expert on schizophrenia
Q. Are there new medications for schizophrenia in the works?
A. Marc G. Caron, Ph.D., of the Duke University Medical Center received the Lieber... More >
Patrick F. Sullivan, M.D., FRANZCP - Brain & behavior research expert on schizophrenia
Q. My husband’s sister has schizophrenia and I’m afraid that if we have children they could be affected too. How high is the risk of this happening?
A. In general, large and carefully conducted studies tell us that the absolute risk is... 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 >
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 >
Kafui Dzirasa, M.D., Ph.D. - brain & behavior research expert on schizophrenia
Q. What is the next big breakthrough in schizophrenia research?
A. Kafui Dzirasa, M.D., Ph.D., of Duke University Medical Center received the Sidney R... 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. Where will the breakthroughs come in treating schizophrenia?
A. “The single biggest thing that would aid research in mental illnesses and the... More >
Jay N. Giedd, M.D. - brain & behavior research expert on schizophrenia
Q. How common is childhood-onset schizophrenia? What advice can you give a parent?
A. Jay N. Giedd, M.D. of the National Institute of Mental Health received the Ruane... 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 >

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