October 15, 2013


Prechter honored with Mike Wallace Award

Ora Pescovitz, U-M’s Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and CEO of the U-M Health System, presents the Mike Wallace Award to Wally Prechter

At the Depression Center’s National and Scientific Advisory Board (NAB/SAB) meeting earlier this month, NAB member Wally Prechter was honored with the Mike Wallace Award, which recognizes an outstanding individual who has personally and publicly demonstrated exceptional commitment, courage, support, and leadership in a manner that is consistent with the center’s mission to conquer depression, bipolar disorder, and related illnesses. Prechter established the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund at the University of Michigan in memory of her late husband more than a decade ago, and since then she has been a tireless advocate in the pursuit of a cure for bipolar disorder. Learn more about her story through this powerful video.

Greden honored for work advancing the lives of those with disabilities

Depression Center Executive Director John F. Greden, M.D., is this year’s recipient of the James T. Neubacher Award, which recognizes individuals who demonstrate extraordinary commitment in supporting equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities. U-M’s Council for Disability Concerns established the award in 1990 as a memorial to Jim Neubacher, a U-M alumnus who was a columnist for The Detroit Free Press and an advocate for acceptance of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life.

A little-known fact: worldwide, depression is the leading cause of disability!

Greden will receive the Neubacher Award during the council’s Investing in Ability Week, a series of events designed to increase understanding of people with disabilities and disability-related issues. Depression is one focus of the week’s activities, which this year share the theme "Invisible Disabilities – Hidden Stories."

Barrett-Becker receives 2013 Ouida Clinical Scholar Award

Barrett-Becker (2nd from left) pictured with 2013 Ouida
Lecturer Jay Giedd and Andrea and Herb Ouida

Congratulations to Ellen Barrett-Becker, Ph.D., a postdoctoral psychology resident in the Department of Psychiatry, who is the 2013 recipient of the Todd Ouida Clinical Scholar Award. The Ouida awards are designed to further the work of outstanding young researchers working in childhood anxiety and depression. Barrett-Becker’s research focuses primarily on the role of trauma and loss in the development of mood disorders, posttraumatic stress, and other psychological problems in children and their parents. Read more...

Murphy wins 2013 MacArthur 'genius grant'

Susan Murphy, Ph.D., a University of Michigan statistician who is poised to make a significant impact on the field of personalized medicine through work focused on improving treatment decisions for chronic illnesses such as depression and substance abuse, has been named a 2013 MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The MacArthur Fellows Program celebrates and inspires the creative potential of individuals through no-strings attached fellowships. Murphy is one of 24 “exceptionally creative individuals” – including artists, social innovators, scientists, and humanists – named to the 2013 class. She is a member of the Depression Center, the H. E. Robbins Professor of Statistics, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and a research professor in the Institute for Social Research. Read more...



What older Americans should know about depression

Doctors often miss the signs of depression in people over 65 because older adults may exhibit different symptoms than those that typically show up in younger people. Health care professionals must also differentiate between depression’s symptoms and those of other illnesses common in an older population such as dementia, stroke, and other conditions that can impact brain function. But what is clear is that depression is not just a normal part of the aging process, and help is available to improve the quality of life for people living with depression no matter what their age. Helen C. Kales, M.D., professor of psychiatry, researcher at the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System, and a Depression Center member, was quoted in a recent article from AARP about the most important things that seniors should know about this illness.

Brain may ease pain of social rejection

U-M research over the last decade has shown that when people feel physical pain, their brains release chemicals called opioids into the space between neurons, dampening pain signals. New U-M research has now produced the first evidence that this same natural pain killer system kicks into gear to protect us from the hurt of social rejection (which itself has been found to trigger very real physical symptoms and illness, according to research led by another Depression Center member, Ethan Kross, director of U-M’s Emotion and Self-Control Laboratory). The new findings, recently published in Molecular Psychiatry by Depression Center members David Hsu, Ph.D., and Jon-Kar Zubieta, M.D., Ph.D., may enhance our understanding of depression and social anxiety, including how people with higher resiliency may be less vulnerable to social distress. Read more...

Postpartum resources for new moms

Following the shooting death of a woman involved in a car chase in the heart of the nation’s capital earlier this month, questions began to swirl around the 34-year-old mother’s mental health history. In an article about the incident in Metro Parent Magazine, Depression Center member Kate Rosenblum, Ph.D., interim director of the Women and Infants Mental Health Program, spoke about the prevalence of postpartum mental illness (depression may affect 10-15 percent of women, while postpartum psychosis after the birth of a child is far rarer), and some of the resources available to new moms and their families.

Mental health: College sports’ hidden ailment

Will Heininger (C) at the 2013 DoCC conference

Will Heininger is a former defensive tackle who graduated from U-M in 2011 as a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and four-time Academic All-Big Ten award winner. At the 2013 Depression on College Campuses conference, Heininger discussed his personal experience in overcoming depression while at U-M. He also recently spoke with Only a Game, an NPR sports news show from WBUR in Boston, about the often hidden problem of mental health issues in athletics.  "I'm passionate about these issues and don’t want anyone else to have to go through what I went through, but also want people to know that it’s part of being human – and especially can come with the stressors you have as a student athlete," Heininger told WBUR. "In sports... you put your head down and tough it out. And with mental illness – and a lot of other things in life – that doesn’t work."  Read the full interview...

Building the best brain

When we're born, our brains aren’t very organized. Every brain cell talks to lots of other nearby cells, sending and receiving signals across connections called synapses. But as we grow and learn, things get a bit more stable. The brain pathways that will serve us our whole lives start to organize, and less-active, inefficient synapses shut down. But why and how does this happen? And what happens when it doesn’t go normally? A team of U-M neuroscientists, including Depression Center member Hisashi Umemori, M.D., Ph.D., a research assistant professor at the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute and assistant professor of biological chemistry, has reported important findings about how brain cells called neurons keep their most active connections with other cells, while letting other synapses lapse. This research could aid in the understanding of autism, schizophrenia, and intellectual disability. Read more...

Technology, behavior, and mood the focus of annual Prechter Lecture

The Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund’s Annual Lecture on October 28 will explore the theme of "Managing Moods – The Human Computer Interface.” Featured speakers include:

Continuing education credits are available for social workers and psychologists. Register now!



IMPACT highlights Depression Center accomplishments

IMPACT, the Depression Center’s annual activity report, chronicles significant initiatives, innovations, and milestones over the past year in the areas of research, outreach, education, and clinical translation. View the report online, or request a hard copy.

Unique needs deserve unique solutions: UPDATE newsletter

Just as no two people are exactly alike, no two people will experience depression or bipolar disorder in exactly the same way. We believe that everyone affected by these illnesses deserves personalized support and targeted solutions, and we are getting closer to realizing that goal each day.  The fall issue of UPDATE, the Depression Center’s quarterly newsletter for patients and families, looks at several examples of how advances in prevention and treatment are being implemented in ways that can make a difference in individual lives. View the full issue here, or request a hard copy.

Bipolar research updates from the Prechter Fund annual newsletter

  • Pilot projects paving the way for new breakthroughs...
  • Bipolar longitudinal study and repository reach new milestones...
  • The healing power of ECT for treatment-resistant depression...
  • How diet patterns may affect mood...
  • Why my support matters – from a long-time Fund supporter...

These stories and more are featured in the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund’s annual newsletter. Read more...



October 21-25: Investing in Ability Week at U-M, a series of programs and activities designed to increase awareness and understanding of people who have disabilities and disability-related issues. This year’s theme is “Invisible Disabilities – Hidden Stories,” and depression is one of the featured topics.

October 23: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

October 23: Department of Psychiatry's Autism Spectrum Disorders Program Parent Education Seminar - College Bound Students with ASD - Planning & Provisions

October 25: Shifting Faces of ADHD: A humbling journey from psychiatrist, to dad, and back again
By the U-M Office of Services for Students with Disabilities, featuring Tom Fluent, M.D., medical director for Ambulatory Psychiatry

November 6: Family Education Workshop

November 12:  Bright Nights Community Forum
Genetic Testing for Autism and Psychiatric Disorders in 2013: A Rapidly Moving Target

November 13: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

November 27: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

December 4: Family Education Workshop

December 11: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups


October 18: Depression Center Colloquium
Connections between Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder: An Overview

October 28: 7th Annual Prechter Lecture: Managing Moods - The Human Computer Interface

November 14: Depression Center Colloquium
Mental Health Interventions to Support Military Families

December 6: Depression Center Colloquium
Circadian Regulation and Mood Disorders



ELLA Jewelry Party

Jewelry designed by Liz Guz will be featured, and 50% of the proceeds benefit the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund.  Sunday, November 10 from 12-5pm at the home of Kathy Ashton-Miller (a member of the Depression Center Community Volunteer Committee), 1314 Iroquois Place, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. The public is welcome to attend; please email kbergman@umich.edu with questions.

We welcome suggestions about the content and format of this publication – please email lhutchen@umich.edu with your feedback.




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