Ask an Expert

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 >
Katherine L. Wisner, M.D.
Q. How is depression specific to or different in women?
A. “It’s the same rate of occurrence in boys and girls until puberty, when in puberty... More >
Myrna Weissman, Ph.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on depression
Q. How can I explain my depression to my third-grader? I don’t want to hurt his chances of having good mental health if he knows I’m struggling.
A. The evidence is quite strong that if you can keep yourself in remission, which may... More >
Robert C. Malenka, M.D., Ph.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on depression
Q. Your work is fascinating. It is frightening to think about neurotransmitters in the brain being manipulated to reduce or eliminate depressed behaviors. How do you foresee these malfunctions in brain circuitry and synaptic connections being treated?
A. The hope of all neuroscience researchers is that by defining the malfunctions in... More >
Andrew A. Nierenberg, M.D. - brain & behavior research expert on bipolar disorder
Q. Are there alternative treatments that might help people with mood disorders?
A. Andrew A. Nierenberg, M.D., of Harvard Medical School received the Colvin Prize for... More >
Katherine L. Wisner, M.D.
Q. What would recovery from depression look like?
A. “A woman who is back to her pre-Depression symptom level, with the ability to... More >
Bruce S. McEwen, Ph.D. - Brain and behavior research expert on depression
Q. My sister lives with depression and seems to be having increasing issues with her memory as well. You say that stress and depression can “shrink” the brain. Can antidepressants and/or other treatments reverse that?
A. Chronic depression is associated with shrinkage of brain areas that are involved in... More >
Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D. - brain & behavior research expert on depression
Q. What advice can you offer to people struggling with severe depression?
A. Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University received the Goldman-Rakic... More >
Myrna Weissman, Ph.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on depression
Q. I’ve dealt with depression all my life and I’m worried that my young children may be affected. Is there a test they can take to find out whether they’re at risk?
A. I know of no tests that are better than a good clinical evaluation. While the odds... More >
Andrew A. Nierenberg, M.D. - brain & behavior research expert on depression
Q. Why do some people respond better than others to depression treatments?
A. Andrew A. Nierenberg, M.D., of Harvard Medical School received the Colvin Prize for... More >
Myrna Weissman, Ph.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on depression
Q. There is a history of depression in my family. But how do I know whether my teenage daughter is just moody (like lot of girls her age) or whether she’s actually depressed?
A. Here we need to differentiate between population science and individual care. On a... More >
Dr. Katherine L. Wisner, M.D., expert on post-partum depression
Q. What is the difference between ‘baby blues’ and Postpartum Depression?
A. “Distinction between a very brief, tearful, maybe anxious, uncomfortable 4 or 5 days... More >
Q. What type of blood pressure medication interferes with Antidepressant LImbitrol?
A. 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 >
Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D. - Brain and behavior research expert on schizophrenia
Q. Can you envision ways in which the optogenetics technology that you invented might eventually improve the design or use of psychiatric medications?
A. The major challenge we face in psychiatry is understanding. Psychiatric disease... More >
Huda Akil, Ph.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on depression & anxiety
Q. My daughter is a risk taker and very social, but my son seems shy and more tentative about trying new things. Based on your research, should I be more worried about him developing depression?
A. Thank you for the opportunity to clarify this point. The majority of children who... More >
Myrna Weissman, Ph.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on depression
Q. Why does the incidence of depression go up after puberty? Is it because of hormones?
A. There are good population-based data showing that the onset of depression increases... More >
Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D. - brain & behavior research expert on depression
Q. What are some recent advancements that have been made in depression research?
A. Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University received the Goldman-Rakic... More >
Eric J. Nestler, M.D., Ph.D. - Brain & behavior expert on anxiety
Q. Based off your mouse studies, do you think that the majority of men who are prone to stress and anxiety are fated to have children with the same issues?
A. No. An individual’s risk for a syndrome as complex and variable as depression or... More >
Katherine L. Wisner, M.D.
Q. How important is it to treat depression during pregnancy?
A. “A woman who is depressed in pregnancy is certainly very likely to continue to be... More >
Andrew A. Nierenberg, M.D. - brain & behavior research expert on depression
Q. What options do patients with treatment-resistant depression have?
A. Andrew A. Nierenberg, M.D., of Harvard Medical School received the Colvin Prize for... More >
Robert C. Malenka, M.D., Ph.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on depression
Q. I thought the chemical imbalance theory of depression was a big step forward in treating depression as a bona fide illness. What are the implications of finding that it is out of date and how long until we have new, more effective treatments?
A. There is no doubt that depression is a bona fide illness. Theories are made to be... 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 >
Dr. Katherine L. Wisner, M.D., expert on post-partum depression
Q. Where will the breakthroughs come in the next 10 years in treating depressed women?
A. Dr. Wisner presented at the 2010 Palm Beach Mental Health Research Symposium. She... More >
Huda Akil, Ph.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on depression
Q. I was surprised to see that you mentioned “better eating” as something that can help people with depression re-engage their brain. What kinds of foods should a person with depression eat— or avoid?
A. Broadly speaking, it is important to recall that brain health, be it emotional or... More >

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