Ask an Expert

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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 >
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 >
John H. Krystal, M.D.
Q. What are exciting new areas of research in PTSD?
A. “Understanding how the brain recovers from stress – the neurobiology of resilience... More >
John H. Krystal, M.D.
Q. Where will the breakthroughs come in treating PTSD?
A. “Uniting molecular genetics with brain imaging and psychopharmacology - these sorts... More >
Eric R. Kandel, M.D. - Brain and behavior research expert on PTSD
Q. There is a lot of talk about how to improve memory, but what about erasing traumatic memories from the brains of people that have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? Is this possible, and if so, do you recommend it?
A. I do not like the idea of erasing memories. I think we can provide someone with... More >
John H. Krystal, M.D.
Q. How long does PTSD last?
A. Length of time varies. According to our diagnostic manual, one must have symptoms... More >
John H. Krystal, M.D.
Q. What would 'recovery' of PTSD look like?
A. “To be resilient to things they were having trouble coping with … What treatment... More >
Kerry Ressler, M.D., Ph.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on ptsd
Q. Knowing that trauma can occur at any time to anyone, is there any way to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?
A. We don’t know with certainty, but the leading ideas are related to the idea of... More >
Kerry Ressler, M.D., Ph.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on ptsd
Q. What happens if someone has “blocked out” the specifics of a trauma—or it happened so long ago that the details are fuzzy—but they have the behavioral symptoms of PTSD? Is it still possible to treat them?
A. Yes, they will still respond to pharmacotherapy. Right now, SSRIs remain the first... More >
John H. Krystal, M.D.
Q. September 11th is a traumatic date – what do you recommend to manage the stress?
A. It is true that we seem to be bombarded with news related to disasters and social... More >
Kerry Ressler, M.D., Ph.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on ptsd
Q. What do you see as the most promising development for PTSD on the horizon?
A. I think the new developments that are the nearest are likely those that prevent PTSD... More >
Fred R. Volkmar, M.D.
Q. What would ‘recovery’ from Autism be like?
A. “They’re headed to a path of being independent and self sufficient as adults,... More >
Fred R. Volkmar, M.D.
Q. Where will the breakthroughs come in treating Autism?
A. “As we understand more about basically closing the loops … from genes to brain and... More >
Fred R. Volkmar, M.D.
Q. What are exciting new areas of research in Autism?
A. “We’re interested in developing new ways to study social development in Autism, new... More >
Fred R. Volkmar, M.D.
Q. What is Asperger’s Syndrome?
A. “Children, mostly boys, who had horrible social vulnerabilities, but good verbal... More >
Fred R. Volkmar, M.D.
Q. What are the general symptoms of autism?
A. “Social troubles … for example in a conversation like we’re having now, a person... 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 >
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 autism
Q. With regard to your research finding of an epigenetic signature of autism, can you tell me what this means for early diagnosis and treatment?
A. Presently, our findings have no implications yet for early diagnosis and treatment.... More >
Jay N. Giedd, M.D. - brain & behavior research expert on autism
Q. My daughter was diagnosed with autism at age 22. Is this common?
A. Jay N. Giedd, M.D. of the National Institute of Mental Health received the Ruane... More >
John H. Krystal, M.D.
Q. How can a doctor or counselor help me feel less afraid or tense?
A. Many people are troubled by thoughts and feelings that they do not feel comfortable... 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 >
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 >
Robert C. Malenka, M.D., Ph.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on anxiety
Q. Are there ways to alleviate stress before the damage is done to the melanocortin circuit you speak about?
A. There are many, many ways to alleviate stress but the particular approaches an... 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 >
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. My 10-year-old daughter is showing signs of anxiety. Can this become a full-blown anxiety disorder?
A. If the anxiety is within what is generally expected when a child is under stress,... More >

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