Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Leaders Contribute Expertise at APA Annual Meeting

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The impressive line-up of presenters for the American Psychiatric Association (APA) 2013 Annual Meeting this week in San Francisco, CA, features President Bill Clinton, author Elyn Saks, J.D., Ph.D., and the “who’s who” of the psychiatric field, including Brain & Behavior Research Foundation leaders and grantees. The theme of this year's meeting is “Pursuing Wellness Across the Life Span.” Research discoveries were placed front and center in a panel convened by Herbert Pardes, M.D., Foundation Scientific Council President and a research highlights press briefing by Foundation President & CEO Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.. Highlights about their presentations, including opportunities to see videos and webcasts follow.

“Advances in Research” - Panel with Herbert Pardes, M.D., Scientific Council President

Herbert Pardes, M.D.
William E. Bunney, Jr., M.D. David Shaffer, M.B., F.R.C.P. H. Blair Simpson, M.D., Ph.D. Jurgen Unutzer, M.D., M.P.H., M.A. John T. Walkup, M.D.

Herbert Pardes, M.D., Scientific Council President, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation continued a more than decade-long tradition this morning by presenting and moderating a research panel to inform the psychiatric community about cutting-edge mental illness research. “I’ve been leading this panel for a number of years now with the goal of moving new research findings into clinical care as rapidly as possible,” says Dr. Pardes, Executive Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Pardes is former Director of the National Institute of Mental Health and former President and CEO of New York-Presbyterian Hospital. The panel he convened and moderated spotlighted recent findings by these NARSAD Grantees and their teams:

Helen Blair Simpson, M.D., Ph.D., presents “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Cutting-Edge Research and Its Practical Implications,” providing new research clarifying the optimal OCD therapy strategies to consider if a patient is unresponsive to serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications. Click here to view Dr. Simpson's recent webinar on OCD as part of our "Meet the Scientist" Webinar Series.

William E. Bunney, Jr., M.D., presents “Treatment Strategies for Major Mood disorders which are Robustly Effective Within 24 Hours,” reviewing sleep deprivation therapy and ketamine as treatment strategies for major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. 

David Shaffer, M.D., F.R.C.P., presents “Practical Problems in Dealing with the Recently or Potentially Suicidal Teenager,” which includes a review of the latest information on the risks and benefits of various techniques and tools and their effectiveness in identifying, diagnosing and treating suicidality. Click here to read Dr. Shaffer's recent feature in the Foundation Quarterly Publication.


Dilip V. Jeste, M.D. Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D.

   Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., & Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., Address Psychiatry’s Future

Current APA President Dilip Jeste, M.D., a former NARSAD Grantee, and incoming APA President Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., a Scientific Council Member, conveyed excitement about advances being made in psychiatric research. Jeste reflected on a “landmark year” and a future in “positive psychiatry,” which he sees as especially key for the aging population, and explained:

“Studies show that quality of well-being follows a U-shaped curve. It is pretty high in the early 20s, then starts going down and hits the rock bottom around 50—that is the time of midlife crisis. But then people change their jobs or partners, or just their attitudes and behaviors, and the well-being starts going up progressively into their 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. Quality of life and psychosocial functioning depend less on physical health and more on positive psychological traits like resilience, optimism, social engagement, and wisdom…Some of the most exciting neuroscience research during the past two decades has shown conclusive evidence of neuroplasticity of aging…I expect that the future role of psychiatry will be much broader than treating psychiatric symptoms. It will seek to enhance the well-being of people with mental or physical illnesses. That is Positive Psychiatry. We will learn more about brain processes responsible for these traits, and we will seek new ways to promote resilience, optimism, and wisdom, through psychotherapeutic interventions.”

Incoming APA President Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman shared a similar positive outlook for the psychiatric field and its potential as he declared it was “our time”— time for psychiatry to seize on its advantages and realize a long-deferred dream of equity and recovery for people with mental illness.

Listen to an interview with Dr. Jeste and Dr. Borenstein, Psychiatric News’ Editor-in-Chief


Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.

Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein Hosts ‘New Research Press Briefing,’ NARSAD Grantee’s Study a Highlight

Among the 500 scientific research studies being presented at this year’s APA Annual Meeting, a select few were chosen to showcase to the international media in a briefing and question and answer session moderated by Foundation Pres. & CEO Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.

Sparking a great deal of interest were an array of fascinating new studies, including several by young investigators. Topics that caught the media attention included the potential influence of reality TV on development of narcissistic tendencies or disorders; the effect of cyberbullying and bullying on suicidality among youth; the impact of smartphone addiction on adolescents; disparity in healthcare treatment for people with mental illness; the potential of online and email psychotherapy for people who face geographic, cultural and other barriers to accessing professional psychiatric help.

Among the handful of researchers invited to announce findings was NARSAD Young Investigator Grantee James W. Murrough, M.D., of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Building on earlier ketamine research funded in part by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, Dr. Murrough’s latest finding shows that some major depression patients experience a positive response to a single dose of ketamine in a day or less. He underscored the importance of further research into ketamine, which shows promise as a fast-acting treatment. 

A lively question and answer session concluded the event. Dr. Borenstein closed the session by sharing his excitement about the work being done by young investigators—the future of the field. "I feel hopeful about the future of psychiatry listening to these researchers," said Borenstein.

Additional videos from the APA Meeting in San Fransisco can be viewed on APA TV including the "New Research Press Briefing" as well as interviews with Drs. Lieberman and Jeste.