P&S Journal: Fall 1994, Vol.14, No.3
Where is Psychiatry's Mind Today?
Research of Note -- A sampling of P&S psychiatric research
- Dr. Eric Kandel studies the molecular aspects of learning and memory using genetically modified animals. His research has demonstrated that alterations in single genes can have profound effects on how information is stored in the brain and how that altered storage affects the processing of memory by the intact animal. This research shows promise for the development of pharmacological therapies to memory problems, including the normal weakening of memory with age.
- Dr. Denise Kandel studies the natural history, risk factors, and consequences of drug use, particularly the consequences of drug use by parents on the subsequent use of drugs by children. She has found that smoking during pregnancy has a particularly powerful influence on the smoking of female offspring.
- Dr. Myrna Weissman conducts epidemiological studies on children at risk for depression, panic disorder, and opiate addiction and on the genetics of panic disorder. With her husband, the late Dr. Gerald Klerman, she developed and tested short-term psychotherapy called Interpersonal Psychotherapy, which Dr. Laura Mufson is testing for depressed adolescents.
- Dr. Robert Spitzer, who led the development of DSM-III and DSM-III-R, the bibles of psychiatric diagnosis, has been awarded the American Psychiatric Association's prize for his research in psychiatric assessment and diagnosis.
- Dr. Nancy Wexler is the recent recipient of a Lasker Award for her work on the genetics of Huntington's disease, research that is ongoing.
- Dr. Rachel Klein conducts treatment and longitudinal studies of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders, including conduct, anxiety, and mood disorders.
- Drs. Herbert Kleber and Marian Fischman conduct research aimed at the development of new medications to treat substance abuse. Their work evaluates drug-use behavior as well as potential treatments.
- Dr. Richard Mayeux tracks the cause of Alzheimer's disease by integrating clinical epidemiology and molecular biology to identify the relationship between environmental factors and genetics in the development of the disease.
- Dr. Ezra Susser's research is testing the hypothesis that prenatal exposure to flu epidemics can give fetuses a pre-disposition to schizophrenia. He is testing blood samples that were collected from women in the late 1950s, then frozen and stored, and he will try to locate offspring of those women. Dr. Susser also plans to conduct animal and human studies to search for a micronutrient that might provide a predisposition to schizophrenia. Human subjects will include malnutrition victims from a famine winter in Holland.
- Dr. Jack M. Gorman studies the neurobiology and treatment of schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety disorders in adults.
- Dr. David Shaffer's work focuses on understanding and preventing adolescent suicide through epidemiological and large-scale intervention studies.
copyright ©, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center
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