Could We Someday Prevent Schizophrenia Like We Prevent Cleft Palate?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Could We Someday Prevent Schizophrenia Like We Prevent Cleft Palate?

Schizophrenia and other severe mental illnesses have significant genetic components and thereby pass to new generations. Preventive treatments targeted to brain development before birth might decrease risk in the generation just being born. One new strategy uses a nutrient choline provided in the mother’s diet, similar to the worldwide use of folic acid to prevent spina bifida and cleft palate in newborns.

Webinar Recording:

Presented by 
Robert R. Freedman, M.D.
Robert R. Freedman, M.D.

Professor and Chairman

Department of Pharmacology

University of Colorado School of Medicine

Scientific Council Member (Joined 2001)

2015 Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research

2006, 1999 Distinguished Investigator Grant


Dr. Freedman's laboratory is concerned with understanding the development of schizophrenia. Using psychophysiological tools such as auditory evoked potentials with patients with schizophrenia and their families, his laboratory identifies individuals who may carry genes which convey risk for schizophrenia. Molecular biological tools such as gene sequencing and in situ hybridization are used to search for the genetic abnormalities in schizophrenia. Facilities range from a laboratory nursery school, where one can observe the development of children of mothers with schizophrenia, to basic science laboratories, where psychophysiological abnormalities can be modeled in animals and studied at the single neuron level.

Robert Freedman, MD, is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and trained at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Chicago.

Moderated by
Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., serves as the President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the largest private funder of mental health research grants. Dr. Borenstein developed the Emmy-nominated public television program “Healthy Minds,” and serves as host and executive producer of the series. The program, broadcast nationwide, is available online, and focuses on topics in psychiatry in order to educate the public, reduce stigma and offer a message of hope. Dr. Borenstein served as Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatric News, the newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association from 2012 - 2023.

Dr. Borenstein is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and serves as the Chair of the Section of Psychiatry at the Academy. He also has served as the President of the New York State Psychiatric Association. Dr. Borenstein earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard and his medical degree at New York University.