News from Duke Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


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Duke Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the American Psychological Associaiton Annual Convention

July 31, 2015

Duke’s Sarah Lisanby Receives Eva King Killam Research Award from ACNP

Sarah H. Lisanby, M.D., the J. P. Gibbons Professor and Chair for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Professor of Psychology and Neurosciences received the 2014 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) Eva King Killam Research Award on Monday, December 8, at the ACNP Annual Conference.



Durham VA Program Named Second in the Nation

The Durham Veterans Affairs OEF/OIF/OND Program received a silver medal for the Transition and Care Management Team Award, entitled Improve Veterans Well-Being and Develop Trust Partnerships in recognition of the program's superior achievements, initiatives and innovations. The progam is now ranked second in the nation for case management and transition from Department of Defense to VA care. 

Congratulations to the OIF/OEF/OND Program and Program Direcotor, Dr. Bruce Capehart for this special recognition!

Is It Really Dementia?
The New York Times

Have you ever had to watch as a family member or friend is taken by dementia?  If you are like many people, even the thought of a loved one losing their memory can be frieghtening.  Not all memory loss is Alzheimer's disease or dementia, it is sometimes misdiagnosed.  "It probably hapens more often than people realize," says Dr. Murali Doraiswamy. "[Approximately 15 to 25 percent] usually have coditions that can be reversed or at least improved."


Duke's Dan Blazer Receives Distinguished Service Medal from IOM

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) honored Dan G. Blazer, M.D., Ph.D., the J.P. Gibbons Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at Duke University School of Medicine, with the Walsh McDermott Medal for distinguished service over an extended period.


National Depression Screening Day

In support of National Depression Screening Day on October 9, Duke Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences will be holding free depression screenings and distributing mental health information.  Join us at one of two locations, the Duke Bryan Center or the Duke North Cafeteria in the Medical Center, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm for a free depression screening. 

If you are unable to stop by one of our tables, you can set up an appointment with a Duke clinician by calling 919-813-6367 .

Mental Health Legislation: Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act

U.S. Congressman Tim Murphy, a Pennsylvania Republican and author of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 3717), visited Raleigh on Tuesday, August 26, to meet with a panel of experts in the field of mental health care.  During their meeting they discussed how to provide mental health care for the estimated 1 in 4 American adults suffering from a mental health disorder.  Read More

Dr. Redford Williams

Redford Williams Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from International Society of Behavioral Medicine

Redford Williams, M.D., a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and of Medicine, and the director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Duke University School of Medicine, received the Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Society of Behavioral Medicine.

Treating Depression

Depression does not discriminate; it doesn’t care about your age, race, gender, or economic status.  It is a real illness that affects a number of people, but it is treatable.  Read More

$15 Million Award to Go Toward Exploring New Treatments for Autism, Other Brain Disorders

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke Medicine has been awarded $15 million to support an innovative research program that explores the use of umbilical cord blood cells to treat autism, stroke, cerebral palsy and related brain disorders.

The award from The Marcus Foundation, an Atlanta-based philanthropic organization, will fund the first two years of a planned five-year, $41 million project by Joanne Kurtzberg, MD, chief scientific and medical officer of Duke’s Robertson Cell and Translational Therapy Program, and Geraldine Dawson, PhD, director of the Duke Center for Autism Diagnosis and Treatment. Read More


Two Duke Psychiatry Faculty Mentioned at Durham VA Medical Center Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

On May 23, 2014 the Durham VA Medical Center held a ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony as it opened its doors to a new research building. The ceremony consisted of a number of distinguished guests from North Carolina.  Among those mentioned at the ceremony were two Duke Psychaitry and Behavioral Sciences doctors, Drs. Rebekah Fleming and Christine Marx for being leading in their fields of research.  Read more about Drs. Feming and Marx


 Group Support and Education for Mood Disorders

Cynthia Jones was recently featured in Duke Today for leading the Mood Disorders Support and Education Group on Duke's Campus. In the article title, Find Information and Support for Mood Disorders the author, Bryan Roth writes about a Duke employee who has been dealing with depression for thirty years, and how she has found the support and information shared at the group to be helpful as she learns to cope with her mood disorder.   Read More


Learning to Communicate with an Autistic Son: The Suskind Family Story
April 21, 2014

On April 21, 2014, the silent Full Frame Theater on the American Tobacco Campus erupted with Disney-like animation, as Ron Suskind walked into the room. With expressions only possible in full Technicolor animation he begins talking about his experience of learning to communicate with his autistic son through the characters of Disney. For an hour and fifteen minutes the audience was transported through the animated lives of the Suskind family and their journey to connect with their son and brother, Owen. Read More

 Diversity - Duke’s Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA)
February 8, 2014
The Latino Medical Student Association hosted a dinner on Saturday, February 8th at The Great Hall of the Trent Semans Center for Health Education (TSCHE). The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences participated as a sponsor of the gala. This gala was one of the final social events of the LMSA’s Conference this weekend. The Conference ran from February 7-9 and was co-hosted by Duke Medicine and UNC School of Medicine.

Outreach - The Forest at Duke
February 7, 2014
Dr. Lisanby presented the lecture “It’s All in Your Brain: How Neuroscience Revolutionized Psychiatry” to the residents at the Forest at Duke. Some members of the audience included Dr. William Anderson, professor emeritus of the Department of Psychiatry and Dr. Gregory Lockhead, professor emeritus of the Department of Psychology. The Geriatric Behavioral Health Division, headed by Dr. Mustafa Husain, works closely with Geriatric Medicine and the Center of Aging and Human Development to address some of the important clinical and research issues related to the aging population in the community. The Geriatric Behavioral Health Division plans to extend Geriatric Psychiatry Services to these long term care facilities in future.

Probing Polar Bodies to Pick Disease-Free Embryos (Public Library of Science), February 6, 2014
The researchers, Alice Uflacker and Murali Doraiswamy from the Duke Institute for Brain Science collaborated with Svetlana Rechitsky and Ilan Tur-Kaspa from the Reproductive Genetics Institute in Chicago, and Michael Geschwind and Tricia See from UCSF, describe using ARTs to enable a woman whose relatives have a devastating and very rare brain disease to have children free of the family legacy.

A Star's Death Brings Addiction Issues to Light
Next Avenue (PBS), February 5, 2014
Dan Blazer, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, discussed an increase in prescribing opioids for the treatment of pain among baby boomers. In addition, these adults have used illicit and prescription psychotropic medications more than previous generations, on average, Blazer said. “We have a group of individuals who are just used to using drugs,” he says. “It makes it a little easier to go to something like heroin.”

Ethics Questions Arise as Genetic Testing of Embryos Increases
New York Times, February 3, 2014
P. Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, co-authored a case study on a patient who underwent preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to prevent spreading a devastating neurological disease to her children. “In the medical community, the lack of knowledge about PGD is a serious concern,” said Doraiswamy. In his area of brain disorders, there are no guidelines about using the method, even though there are hundreds of inherited neurological conditions.

Blazing Trails in Brain Science
New York Times, February 3, 2014
Allen Frances, MD, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, criticized the current direction of the National Institute of Mental Health. “NIMH is betting the house on the long shot that neuroscience will come up with answers to help people with serious mental illness.” Frances added, “It does little or no psychosocial or health services research that might relieve the current suffering of patients.”

U.S. News ranks Duke Medical Center among nation's top hospitals
News & Observer, January 31, 2014
U.S. News has ranked Duke University Medical Center among the nation’s top hospitals in the publication’s 2013-14 hospital ranking. Duke took the 12th spot nationally and was also rated in the top 10 in several specialties: cardiology, ophthalmology, pulmonology and urology. The ranking places Duke in such company as the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and the UCLA Medical Center.

Group Provides Diapers to Low-Income Mothers
MSNBC, January 25, 2014
The Duke Family Care Program is one of the partners of the Diaper Bank of North Carolina, which organizes diaper drives for low-income mothers.

Yoga: A Natural Antidepressant
Everyday Health, January 23, 2014
Research by Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science was recently referenced in an article on Everyday Health. The article discusses the effects of practicing yoga to help with depression.

"Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) for Genetic Prion Disorder Due to F198S Mutation in the PRNP Gene"
JAMA Neurology, February 03, 2014
Dr. Alice Uflacker, with mentorship from Duke's Dr. Murali Doraiswamy and in collaboration with others, is the first author on a thought-provoking case report describing preimplantation genetic screening. Read the case report itself in JAMA Neurology, and learn more about the individual subject in the NY Times or on CBS News.

DDT Exposure More Common in People with Alzheimer's: Study
Chicago Tribune, January 27, 2014
Kathleen Hayden, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, commented on a study that found people who had been exposed to the pesticide DDT were more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease than those with no traces of the chemical in their blood.

Unraveling Any Weight-Gain Links to Stress, Cortisol
LA Times, January 24, 2014
Managing stress can be a crucial step toward healthy, long-lasting weight loss, according to Duke Psychiatry's Sofia Rydin-Gray.

Murali Doraiswamy: Mental Being Should Be Number One Priority
Huffington Post, January 22, 2014
Duke Psychiatry's Dr. Murali Doraiswamy spoke with the HuffPost Live at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland about the importance of taking care of your mind.

Geri Dawson has devoted a career to autism treatment and research
News and Observer, January 11, 2014
Duke Psychiatry's Dr. Geri Dawson is advancing comprehensive care for children with autism at Duke's new Center for Autism Diagnosis and Treatment.

Study: U.S. Tobacco Control Laws Have Saved 8 Million Lives Over 50 Years
Health Line News, January 7, 2014
Jed Rose, PhD, director of Duke Center for Smoking Cessation, commented on a study that found tobacco control laws have saved eight million lives. While this is good news, he cautioned that the measures that worked in the past may not work in the future.

Smoking Rates Still High Among the Mentally Ill
Med Page Today, January 7, 2014
It may be more difficult for those suffering from mental illness to quit smoking, but Duke Psychiatry's Dr. Joe McClernon shares that smoking as self-medication is not very effective.

Gene Links Stress to Heart Attacks
Bio News, January 6, 2014
The same genetic variant that makes some people more prone to stress has been shown to increase the risk of having and dying from a heart attack, according to a recent study conducted at the Duke Behavioral Medicine Research Center. Researchers can now 'begin to develop and test early interventions for those heart patients who are at high risk of dying', Dr. Redford Williams, the Center's Director, commented.

Sleep: A Mystery at the Crossroads of Neuroscience
SF Gate, January 6, 2014
Murali Dorasiwamy, MBBS coauthored an article with Deepak Chopra, MD on the mystery of sleep, including its relationship to depression.

Media Coverage of Mental Illness and Violence
Huffington Post, January 5, 2014
Jeffrey Swanson, PhD agreed that the seriously mentally ill who are in treatment tend to be no more of a threat to others than those who have no diagnosable disorder. Swanson shared other factors that make someone with a serious mental illness more likely to be violent: a history of past violence, substance abuse and the incidence of violence in the neighborhood in which the subject lives.

White House seeks to tighten gun background checks on mentally ill
LA Times, January 3, 2014
Jeffrey Swanson, PhD commented on new measures to bring more mental health records into the federal background check system for gun purchases. Swanson believes that prohibiting individuals ordered to receive outpatient mental treatment from buying guns probably would not greatly expand the number of people barred from buying guns.

Thicker Brain Sections Tied to Spirituality: Study
Reuters, December 30, 2013
Dan Blazer, MD, PhD commented on a study that found spirituality may offer some protection for the brain for people at high risk of depression because of a family history. "It's an exciting time, because researchers are actively looking at links between the brain, religion and risk of depression."