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Dr. Joshua Gordon Named NIMH Director

Joshua A. Gordon, MD, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and research psychiatrist at New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI), has been appointed Director of the National Institute of Mental Health. He will begin his new position in September 2016.

Can You Get Addicted to Sunbathing?

July 18, 2016 – One expert, Dr. Frances R. Levin, explains the difference between being addicted and just making poor choices. Studies have shown that the older a person is before beginning exposure to a harmful behavior, generally the lower the incidence of addiction and its severity. “So even though sunbathing is not yet considered an addiction, we know a lot of sun is bad for us, so I like the idea of not letting 15-year-olds on a tanning bed,” Dr. Levin says.

U.S. Shrink Supply May Be Shrinking

July 17, 2016 – In the July issue of Health Affairs Co-author Dr. Harold Pincus told MedPage Today that more medical school students were going into psychiatry in the 60s and 70s, but there’s been a “generational shift and this proportion has declined. Thus, psychiatrists are not being replaced at a sufficient rate.” He offered two potential reasons for this shift: “First, psychiatrists are one of the lowest compensated specialties,” he said.

Smell Test May Predict Early Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

NEW YORK, NY, July 26, 2016 – Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), New York State Psychiatric Institute, and NewYork-Presbyterian reported that an odor identification test may prove useful in predicting cognitive decline and detecting early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Their two studies, presented at the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference in Toronto, Canada, suggest that the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT) may offer a practical, low-cost alternative to other tests.

Significant Pain Increases the Risk of Opioid Addiction by 41 Percent

NEW YORK, NY (July 22, 2016)—What do we really know about the relationship between the experience of pain and risk of developing opioid use disorder? Results from a recent study – the first to directly address this question – show that people with moderate or more severe pain had a 41 percent higher risk of developing prescription opioid use disorders than those without, independent of other demographic and clinical factors.

These results, from researchers at Columbia University Medical Center, were published today in American Journal of Psychiatry.

Computers Can Predict Schizophrenia Based on How a Person Talks

...Most of the time, people don’t actively track the way one thought flows into the next. But in psychiatry, much attention is paid to such intricacies of thinking. For instance, disorganized thought, evidenced by disjointed patterns in speech, is considered a hallmark characteristic of schizophrenia. Several studies of at-risk youths have found that doctors are able to guess with impressive accuracy—the best predictive models hover around 79 percent—whether a person will develop psychosis based on tracking that person’s speech patterns in interviews.

How do you recognize a long-lost friend?

How do you recognize a long-lost friend?

Aug 19, 2015 - You spot a familiar face on the street and rack your brain over where you might have seen him. And then it dawns on you. That is an old high school friend you haven't seen in years.
But how does the brain manage to make this connection from a crowd of strangers walking past?

Want a safer, more prosperous world? Invest in mental health

Want a safer, more prosperous world? Invest in mental health

Could Too Many Refined Carbs Make You Depressed?

Aug 7, 2015 - The study involved more than 70,000 women aged 50 to 79. The findings, the investigators said, only show an association between "refined" carbs and elevated depression risk, rather than a direct cause-and-effect relationship. "[But] it is already well known that people who suffer from depression tend to crave carbohydrates," said study author James Gangwisch, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry with the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York City.

A Grief So Deep It Won't Die

August 14, 2015 – Complicated or prolonged grief can assail anyone, but it is a particular problem for older adults, because they suffer so many losses — spouses, parents, siblings, friends. “It comes with bereavement,” said Dr. Katherine Shear, the psychiatrist who led the Columbia University study. “And the prevalence of important losses is so much greater in people over 65.” In a review in The New England Journal of Medicine earlier this year, Dr.


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