In Sunday’s New York Times, Dr. Eric Kandel Writes About the Biology of Mental Illness

Dr. Eric R. Kandel, Brain Research Expert
Eric R. Kandel, M.D.

Foundation Scientific Council member, Eric R. Kandel, M.D., highlights the necessity―as well as the increasing sophistication of―a scientific approach in understanding the biological function and dysfunction of the human brain, our most complex organ. We are far from understanding brain disorders in the way we understand disorders of the liver or heart, he argues, but empirical evidence and knowledge are growing. He speaks of the development of a “new science of mind” where neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry come together so that we understand not only the biological functioning (and/or dysfunction) of the brain, but also how that sets in motion our thoughts, emotions and actions.

Throughout the article, Dr. Kandel refers to specifc research from NARSAD Grantees Helen S. Mayberg, M.D. and Aaron T. Beck, M.D., as well as Matthew State, M.D., Ph.D., the recipient of the 2012 Ruane Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Research.

Read the piece in the New York Times.

Article comments

There are increasing evidences that favor the prenatal beginning of schizophrenia. These evidences point toward intra-uterine environmental factors that act specifically during the second pregnancy trimester producing a direct damage of the brain of the fetus. The current available technology doesn't allow observing what is happening at cellular level since the human brain it is not exposed to a direct analysis in that stage of the life. In 1977 we began a direct research of the brain of fetuses of schizophrenic mothers in order to finding differences at cellular level in relation to controls. In these studies we have observed within the nuclei of neurons the presence of complete and incomplete viral particles that reacted in positive form with antibodies to herpes simplex hominis type I [HSV1] virus, and mitochondria alterations. The importance of these findings can have practical applications in the prevention of the illness keeping in mind its direct relation to the aetiology and physiopathology of schizophrenia

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