News Releases



Use of Anti-Depressant Does Not Decrease Risk of Relapse for Patients with Anorexia Nervosa

Use of the anti-depressant fluoxetine did not help patients with anorexia nervosa who had restored their body weight maintain that weight or reduce their risk of relapse, according to a study in the June 14 issue of JAMA.

Most OCD Patients Don’t Receive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Even though it is Considered First Line Treatment

A new study published in this month’s Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reports that a majority of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) do not receive cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), even though CBT is considered the most effective psychotherapy treatment there is for OCD and has been shown to be an effective OCD treatment either on its own or in conjunction with serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SRIs.

Efficacy of ADHD Drug As a Smoking Cessation Tool: Columbia U & Psychiatric Institute Researchers Launch New Study

Each year an estimated 450,000 Americans lose their lives as a result of smoking. In terms of health-care costs and lost productivity, the expense to the United States is approximately $150 billion each year. The situation is compounded for the 7-8 million adults in the United States who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) where smoking is twice as common as it is in the general population. Smoking cessation treatment is among the most effective approaches for reducing the prevalence of tobacco use and the enormous health and economic consequences of smoking-related diseases.

Children of Depressed Parents at Higher-Risk for Mental Disorders

Results from a 20-year study showing that children of depressed parents are at higher-risk for psychiatric and medical problems are reported in the June issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP), the official journal of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Problem Gamblers Can Bet On Losing More Than They Bargained For At Superbowl XL

Whether it is the thrill-seeker in people or a distorted sense of their own ability to beat the odds, individuals with a gambling problem may find themselves drawn to high-risk behaviors like betting on this year’s Super Bowl even though they may have suffered dearly for their behavior in the past.

WORLD AIDS DAY IS DECEMBER 1ST: A Study of College Students in South Africa Aims To Increase Use of the Female Condom

In “Yesterday,” the South African film about a young married woman who contracts HIV from her husband, the lead character, asked by a clinic doctor whether or not she uses a condom during sex, says simply “But, I am married.” Marriage as it turns out is not enough to protect against HIV/AIDS, a fact all too evident abroad, particularly in countries like South Africa, where prostitution is rampant. To help slow the spread of the virus, researchers in the HIV Center at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University—among the most prolific investigators in the study of HIV—have forged partnerships with counterparts in South Africa.

Task Force Led By John Mann Issues Report On SSRI’s And Suicidal Behavior In Youth

The benefits of treating youth with depression with one antidepressant medication outweigh the increase in risk of suicidal thoughts and nonfatal suicidal behavior found in an analysis of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) database of adverse event reports, according to the findings of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) Task Force Report on SSRIs and Suicidal Behavior in Youth. The report was published today in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, and updates a preliminary report that ACNP released in January 2004.

A Review of Antidepressants Concludes That Patients Just Aren’t Getting the Dose They Need

Your antidepressant may be more effective than you think. Though the most effective treatment for moderately severe depression, many patients often receive a treatment regimen that fails to alleviate their symptoms sufficiently. There is a great opportunity to rethink the issue of treatment, according to a review by Dr. John Mann, Director of the Department of Neuroscience at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University Medical Center. The review, (The Medical Management of Depression) appears in the October 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Changes in the Risk for Major Depression Seen in Landmark Study

The largest study ever done on major depressive disorder and co-occurring disorders provides the most definitive information, to date, of major depressive disorder (MDD) in specific population subgroups, and of the relationship of MDD to alcohol use disorders, drug disorders and other mental health conditions. Published in the October issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, the study highlights new information on the risk patterns for MDD among adults, indicating greater risk for people ranging in age from 45 to 64 years. The study also indicates differences in the relationship of MDD to specific substances of abuse, anxiety and personality disorders, and paints a clearer picture of the rate of MDD among different ethnic groups.

Anxious Kids? Must Mean It’s Back To School Time

As summer draws to a close, some parents may notice the tell-tale signs of school-induced anxiety in their kids. Most kids usually get excited about buying new school clothes and supplies, and look forward to seeing their friends. For others there is marked anxiety about having to face new teachers, meeting new kids and finding the classroom. These feelings may be summed up as a sense of impending doom related to the unknowns of the coming school term.


Results of a study released in this month’s American Journal of Psychiatry suggest that using cannabis or marijuana after treatment for cocaine or alcohol dependence is a significant predictor of relapse to previous drug/alcohol use. The study, which was carried out by Dr. Efrat Aharonovich and other researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University Medical Center, is believed to be “the first such study to address the effects of cannabis use on post-discharge outcome of inpatients treated for alcohol, cocaine, and/or heroin.”

Findings of Pivotal Study of Malnutrition’s Link to Schizophrenia Risk is Replicated by Chinese Researchers

Researchers in the NYS Psychiatric Institute’s Epidemiology of Developmental Brain Disorders Department were the first to demonstrate a link between severe maternal nutritional deficiency and risk for schizophrenia in offspring. The Dutch Hunger Winter of 1944-45 served as the basis of that original study and gave rise to a host of subsequent studies investigating the intrauterine environment’s role in fetal brain development as reflected in subsequent risk for psychiatric disorders in offspring. The results of the Chinese famine study, reported in the August 3 issue of JAMA and the subject of Dr. Richard Neugebauer’s editorial, offer strong support for the findings of the original Dutch study.


NEW YORK, NY (July 8, 2005)—The shocking early morning attacks that took place in London on Thursday, July 7 as people made their way to work on the city’s subways and buses may translate to fear and anxiety in New York. Questions of “Could it happen here?” and “If them, why not us?” may have some wondering when an attack might come and whether or not New York will be ready to respond appropriately and quickly.


The rate of Lyme Disease in New York is one of the highest in the country and you don’t have to spend your days in a lush backyard upstate to be at risk either. Birds are known carriers of the tick as are dogs and mice, making city dwellers just as vulnerable to the illness. Just ask Meg Cabot, best selling author of The Princess Diaries. Ms. Cabot joined Dr. Brian Fallon, Director of the Lyme Disease Program at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University Medical Center, and other writers as well as the Lyme Disease Association (LDA) at a media breakfast on May 18.

New Study Suggests That Maternal Exposure To Parasitic Infection May Increase Risk Of Schizophrenia In Offspring

A study published last month in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests an association between maternal exposure to toxoplasmosis and increased risk for developing schizophrenia in adult children. The study, which evaluated archived blood samples from pregnant women who participated in a large birth cohort called the Child Health and Development Study (CHDS) from 1959–1967, was conducted by researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, in collaboration with the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Plan, Northern California Region.

Study Finds Another Option For Treating Social Anxiety Disorder

Social phobia/social anxiety disorder is the third most common psychiatric disorder after major depression and alcohol dependence. Social phobia, and particularly generalized social phobia, is an excessive and irrational fear of social situations. People with generalized social phobia do not limit their fears to one or two circumstances (a fear of public speaking, for example) but have difficulty in a wide variety of interpersonal situations (striking up a conversation with an acquaintance at a party or speaking up at a staff meeting). For patients there was only one medication option for treatment, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) like paroxetine or sertraline. Now, a study published in the February issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry indicates that venlafaxine extended release (ER) is just as effective a treatment for generalized social phobia as paroxetine, the most commonly prescribed treatment.

Study Shows New Antipsychotic Drug Prevents Brain Loss in Schizophrenia

A new brain imaging study of recently diagnosed schizophrenia patients has found, for the first time, that the loss of gray matter typically experienced by patients can be prevented by one of the new atypical antipsychotic drugs, olanzapine, but not by haloperidol, an older, conventional drug. The study, published in the April 4th issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, also confirmed previous studies that show patients who experience less brain loss do better clinically.

Look No Further; The NY State Psychiatric Institute Has the Experts

How far would you go to get a body to die for? Even when faced with the possibility of dying, some young girls who suffer from an eating disorder are reluctant to end their self-starvation. Eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, affect roughly 5-10% of women. Anorexia has a mortality rate as high as that seen in any psychiatric disorder.


Super Bowl XXXIX is February 6, and serious or compulsive gamblers may very well lose more than money when they place their bets on the outcome of this annual hallmark of football tradition.


According to a study in the December 15 issue of Biological Psychiatry, researchers have shown for the first time that differences in resting brain activity distinguish two distinct schizophrenia subgroups, namely those with a family history of the disease and those without. Dr. Dolores Malaspina, the lead investigator and a research psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University Medical Center, said that though the heterogeneity of schizophrenia patients is well-established and previous studies have shown symptomatic and physiologic differences between the subgroups, no other study has until now used neuroimaging to compare resting brain activity in the two groups.


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Dec. 13, 2004—The inability to identify the smell of lemons, lilac, leather and seven other odors predicts which patients with minimal to mild cognitive impairment (MMCI) will develop Alzheimer’s Disease, according to a study presented today at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) annual meeting. For patients with MMCI, the odor identification test was found to be a strong predictor of Alzheimer’s Disease during follow-up, and compared favorably with reduction in brain volumes on MRI scan and memory test performance as potential predictors.

It’s a Party and They’ll Cry If They Want To; How Anxiety & Depression Can Steal the Holiday Spirit

Thanksgiving has come and gone and quicker than you can say “turkey drunk” we start to obsess about Christmas and New Year’s Eve. That may mean a laundry list of chores to do and holiday preparations to wrap up in time for family visits, parties with friends or trips out of town. For some that’s what the holiday season is about and it’s a challenge that they look forward to. For others, the stress is unbearable. The season and its emphasis on getting together with family and friends is only a strong and painful reminder of their own loss or separations.


NEW YORK, NY, November 1, 2004
– Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., will join Columbia University Medical Center in January as chairman of the Department of Psychiatry in the College of Physicians and Surgeons. At that time, he also will join the New York State Office of Mental Health, serving as director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) and head of the Lieber Center for Schizophrenia Research, housed on the Columbia campus.

Understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Because many symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be present in normal children at an early age, it should only be diagnosed after a thorough professional evaluation, according to child and adolescent psychiatrist Laurence Greenhill, M.D.


An explosion of poker on television and the Internet will create a new generation of young addicted gamblers, according to the Director of Columbia University Medical Center’s (CUMC) Gambling Clinic.


A depressed patient walking into a doctor’s office for the first time will most likely be prescribed an SSRI antidepressant to abate symptoms. There is about a 50% chance that the patient will return to that doctor’s office having failed to get any relief from the medication. This is the state of depression treatment today when psychiatrists, limited by the lack of laboratory tests to aid treatment selection, run the risk of frustrating patients to the point of non-compliance. But change may be on the horizon.