3 Duke Psychiatry Faculty Share their Neuroscience Perspectives on COVID-19

By Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
Geri Dawson, PhD, Nicole Schramm-Sapyta, PhD, and Kevin LaBar, PhD, were among the members of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences Faculty Network who recently shared their neuroscience perspectives on COVID-19.

Dawson: Understanding the unique ways the pandemic affects individuals with autism and how to help

My research has focused on developing methods for early detection and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and understanding brain function and development in individuals with autism. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing unique challenges for people with developmental disabilities, such as those on the autism spectrum. We offer some suggestions and resources. Read more 

Schramm-Sapyta: How the pandemic affects those already dealing with incarceration and mental health issues

I do community-engaged research, working with Durham’s Stepping Up Initiative, Crisis Intervention Team, and Criminal Justice Resource Center.  These groups are particularly interested in improving outcomes for people in Durham who are involved with the criminal justice system and also have mental health issues.  My team of collaborators and students has been analyzing data describing incarcerations and recidivism in this population.  We are also beginning to examine the interactions of this population with Duke Health System, to explore ways that we can improve coordination. Read more

LaBar: Why anxiety and stress related to COVID-19 affect cognitive functions

My lab’s research focuses on how emotions bias cognitive processes in the human brain. We assay emotional reactions using behavioral reports and physiological responses, and we investigate how emotions impact brain function using neuroimaging methods in healthy individuals and in those with psychiatric disorders. Read more

Check out more interviews about COVID-19 with Duke Institute for Brain Sciences Faculty Network members.