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. 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 >
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 >
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 >
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 >
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 >
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 >
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 >
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 >
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 >
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 >
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 >
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 >
Huda Akil, Ph.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on depression
Q. In your work with the Pritzker Neuropsychiatric Research Consortium, have you uncovered any new genes that you think might be related to mental illnesses besides major depression?
A. Yes, the Pritzker Consortium is interested in three severe psychiatric disorders—... 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 >
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 >
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 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 >
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 >
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 >
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 >
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 ‘recovery’ for a patient with Schizophrenia?
A. “They have an illness, they may continue to have some level of symptoms, but it’s... More >

Pages