Autistic traits seen in parents of kids with autism
Studying children with autism and their parents, researchers have found that when a child has autism, his or her parents are more likely to have autistic traits than parents who don’t have a child with an autism spectrum disorder, as measured by a survey used to identify such characteristics.
Partnership envisions novel treatments for mental illness
PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS AFFECT more than 80 million Americans, disrupting their ability to cope with daily living. Left untreated, the individual and societal costs are staggering — including disability, unemployment, substance abuse, physical illnesses, family discord, homelessness, incarceration and suicide.
Drug users switch to heroin because it’s cheap, easy to get
A nationwide survey indicates that heroin users are attracted to the drug not only for the “high” but because it is less expensive and easier to get than prescription painkillers. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis published the survey’s results May 28 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
Scripted scenarios hone the clinical skills of tomorrow’s physicians
Committed to helping medical students become better doctors, there are nearly 70 local professional actors working as standardized patients (SPs) at Washington University School of Medicine. Through this immersive program, students undergo a stunning transformation. By the program’s conclusion, the students will have practiced delivering a terminal diagnosis.
Dr. Robert Cloninger is the recipient of the 2014 Oskar Pfister Award
On behalf of the Board of the American Psychiatric Foundation, Dr. Robert Cloninger is the recipient of the 2014 Oskar Pfister Award. This award honors an outstanding contributor in the field of psychiatry and religion. He will deliver the Pfister lecture during the American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting in New York, New York on May 5, 2014.
New clue to autism found inside brain cells
Researchers at the School of Medicine have learned that the problems people with autism have with memory formation, higher-level thinking and social interactions may be partially attributable to the activity of a receptor inside brain cells, highlighted with green in this image.
Smoking cessation may improve mental health
New research at the School of Medicine shows that people who struggle with mood problems or addiction can safely quit smoking and that kicking the habit is associated with improved mental health.
Panel recommends listing depression as a risk for heart disease
An extensive review of scientific literature indicates that depression should be added to the list of risk factors associated with heart disease. Others include obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking.
New target explored for psychiatric drug development
In a surprising discovery, neuroscientists have found that a breakdown product of cholesterol in the brain may be a target for developing new drugs to treat schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. The naturally occurring molecule known as an oxysterol can interact with receptors not normally associated with current medications used to treat serious psychiatric illnesses.
Alcohol, tobacco, drug use far higher in severely mentally ill
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Southern California have found that rates of smoking, drinking and drug use are significantly higher among those who have psychotic disorders than in the general population. And that finding is of particular concern because individuals with severe mental illness are more likely to die at younger ages than people who don’t have psychiatric disorders.
Rare gene variants double risk for Alzheimer’s disease
A team led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has identified variations in a gene that doubles a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
Department of Psychiatry professor studies how fluctuations in glucose levels can influence the brain
A fascination with science always has been evident and plentiful in Tamara Hershey’s childhood home — from a homemade telescope to sunspot charts to rainfall measurement graphs. As a young girl, Hershey wasn’t sure what area would suit her best, but she always knew she wanted to be a scientist.
Nurturing may protect kids from brain changes linked to poverty
Growing up in poverty can have long-lasting, negative consequences for a child. But for poor children raised by parents who lack nurturing skills, the effects may be particularly worrisome, according to a new study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Unlikely gene variants work together to raise Alzheimer’s risk
Studying spinal fluid from people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that a gene variation that had not been considered risky actually can increase the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease when it occurs in tandem with another gene variant known to elevate risk.
Dr. Barry Hong
At the American Psychological Association meeting In Honolulu on August 2, 2013, Dr. Barry Hong was awarded the Joseph D. Matarazzo Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in Academic Health Centers by the Association of Psychologists in Academic Health Centers and the Society of Clinical Psychology. The award is given to outstanding psychologists whose work in medical school and health settings has enhanced the roles of psychologists in education, research, and clinical care. Dr. Matarazzo, a pioneer in medical/health psychology, served with Drs. Samuel Guze and George Saslow in the Division of Psychosomatic Medicine at Washington University in the 1950’s.
Medication plus talk therapy for anxiety in seniors
A study of older adults has found that combining antidepressants with cognitive behavioral therapy appears to be effective as a treatment for anxiety. Pictured is Eric J. Lenze, MD, professor of psychiatry, discussing therapy options with Diana Simpson.
Brain differences seen in depressed preschoolers
A key brain structure that regulates emotions works differently in preschoolers with depression compared with their healthy peers, according to new research at the School of Medicine. Brain scans of preschoolers with depression revealed elevated activity in the amygdala, shown in the red circle, when compared with scans of young children exhibiting no signs of depression.
Dr. Cynthia Rogers
has been selected to receive the 2013 Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation Award for Research in Depression or Suicide. This award recognizes the best research paper on depression or suicide published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry between July 2012 and June 2013. Dr. Rogers will be presented with the award during ceremonies at the AACAP Annual Meeting in October 2013.
Seeds of discovery
Whether providing pilot funding to gather initial data or final funding for projects heading toward publication, grants awarded by Washington University’s Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS) are ultimately aimed at one goal — supporting medical research that has the highest likelihood of benefiting patients quickly.
Understanding the brain
Our researchers have developed a highly accurate diagnostic tool for autism and are homing in on the disease’s genetic triggers. We are leading worldwide clinical trials to test new drugs that may prevent or halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Investigators at Washington University are leading a coalition of scientists who are undertaking the effort to map the human brain.
Nerve stimulation for severe depression changes brain function
Preliminary brain scan studies conducted by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are beginning to reveal the processes occurring in the brain during stimulation and may provide some clues about how the device improves depression.
Depression in kids linked to cardiac risks in teens
Teens who were depressed as children are far more likely than their peers to be obese, smoke cigarettes and lead sedentary lives, even if they no longer suffer from depression. The research, by scientists at the School of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh, suggests that depression, even in children, can increase the risk of heart problems later in life.
$20 million gift establishes Taylor Family Institute for Innovative Psychiatric Research
Andrew and Barbara Taylor and the Crawford Taylor Foundation have committed $20 million to the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to advance the science underlying the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric illnesses.
Innovative Psychiatric Research At Washington University In St. Louis
Don Marsh talks with Washington University psychiatrist Dr. Charles Zorumski about the Taylor Family Institute for Innovative Psychiatric Research.
The American Psychological Association presented this year’s Presidential Citation award to Dr. Barry Hong
for his outstanding contributions to the revision of the Medical College Admissions Test, MCAT which has resulted in psychology and behavioral sciences receiving as much attention as biology and chemistry in the premedical curricula.
Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience: A Primer
is the second book in 18 months from Charles F. Zorumski, MD, the Samuel B. Guze Professor and Head of Psychiatry, and Eugene H. Rubin, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry. The book details what the growing understanding of neuroscience will mean to future diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric illnesses.