KUDOS AND AWARDS
Polly Gipson, Ph.D., a research investigator in the Department of Psychiatry and a licensed clinical psychologist with a specialization in children and adolescents, has been named the 2011 recipient of the Todd Ouida Clinical Scholar Award. Established in 2002, the awards are designed to further the work of outstanding young researchers working in childhood anxiety and depression.
Across her research and clinical activities, Dr. Gipson maintains a strong commitment to underserved populations, and her overarching goal is to develop a research program in the area of community-based preventive interventions for ethnic minority and low-income adolescents at risk for suicide. The Todd Ouida Clinical Scholar Award will assist Dr. Gipson in collaboratively designing and testing a community-based pilot feasibility study for this population. Read more about Dr. Gipson and previous Todd Ouida Clinical Scholar Awards.
NEW GIFTS SPOTLIGHT
Oscar Stern Award for Depression Research
The Depression Center is very pleased to announce a generous $500,000 gift from local businessman and philanthropist Helmut Stern. The gift establishes an endowed fund that will provide an annual research award for innovative, translational research intended to result in earlier identification of depression or bipolar disorder, more effective treatments, and strategies for prevention. The award honors Helmut Stern’s uncle, Oscar Stern, who was instrumental in helping him obtain a visa to leave Germany for the U.S. in 1938 when Hitler was in power. More information and details on the Request for Proposals for the first Oscar Stern Award will follow within the next few weeks.
IN THE NEWS
On Monday night, the Lions defeated the Bears at home in their first appearance on Monday Night Football in 10 years. Monday also marked the 30th anniversary of the debut of former Lions quarterback Eric Hipple, now an outreach coordinator for the Depression Center. Both ESPN's "Monday Night Countdown" and the pre-game coverage on ABC-7 Detroit (WXYZ) featured interviews with Hipple about his playing days, his moving personal story, and his current work with the Depression Center .
Hipple also spoke last month as part of a panel at a suicide prevention event in Farmington Hills, Mich., which drew an overflow crowd.
Several newly discovered genetic variants may increase the risk of developing bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or both, according to an international research consortium that includes investigators from U-M. The findings significantly advance understanding of what causes the two disorders. Family history, which reflects genetic inheritance, is a strong risk factor for both, and the general assumption is that many genes, plus environmental factors, contribute to disease risk. Members of the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute were part of the team of 250 researchers from more than 20 countries that comprised the Psychiatric Genome-Wide Association Study Consortium behind the effort, and the Pritzker Neuropsychiatric Research Consortium funded the genotyping and initial analyses of the samples contributed by Michigan.
The latest C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health finds that few parents (10 percent) believe their own teens have used alcohol in the last year, and even fewer (5 percent) believe their own teens have used marijuana in the last year. “There’s a clear mismatch between what parents are reporting in terms of their children’s possible use of substances and what teenagers report themselves,” said Bernard Biermann, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and medical director of the U-M Child/Adolescent Inpatient Unit, who worked on the study. The poll received coverage in the New York Times, the Chicago Sun-Times, Ann Arbor.com, and elsewhere. Read the full report here.
Sandra Graham-Bermann, a Depression Center member and a professor of psychology and psychiatry, will participate in a Congressional briefing panel discussion about children and domestic violence on October 12 on Capitol Hill. Exposure to intimate partner violence places children at greater risk for developing problems in behavioral, emotional, social, and cognitive functioning that can impede their optimal development, Graham-Bermann says, and more intervention services for children exposed to family violence are needed. "If we do nothing, society pays a higher price in treating more serious mental health problems, school failure, incarceration of adolescents, and in the ruined lives of adults and possibly even the next generation of children," she says.
A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, based on data from more than 50,000 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study, suggests that daily consumption of 2-3 cups of caffeinated coffee may be tied to a lower risk of depression in women. The study’s authors cautioned that the results needed further exploration before anyone should leap to make recommendations based on the findings of a possible protective effect of caffeine, mainly from coffee consumption, on the risk of depression. Michelle Riba, M.D., M.S., and John Greden, M.D., professors in the Department of Psychiatry and associate and executive directors of the U-M Depression Center, respectively, were quoted in articles in WebMD and Bloomberg News (Riba) and the Huffington Post (Greden) that reviewed the study’s implications.
The Healthy Minds Study, an annual online survey of college students, was referenced in an article about National Depression Screening Day (Oct. 6) in BU Today. The Healthy Minds Study is a collaboration between Principal Investigator Daniel Eisenberg, Ph.D., and researchers in the U-M School of Public Health, the Depression Center, and the Center for Student Studies in Ann Arbor. Pilot funding from an Executive Director’s Innovation Fund Award from the Depression Center served as the key bridge between the Healthy Minds pilot study (conducted in 2005) and its expansion into a major research agenda.
Along with several U-M partners, the Depression Center also offered depression screenings at a number of locations throughout Ann Arbor during its annual screening event on Oct. 6.
An L.A. Times analysis of recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that deaths due to drug overdoses now exceed motor vehicle fatalities. This shift is largely attributable to increases in deaths due to overdoses of prescription narcotics, particularly pain and anxiety medications. The article quoted Amy S.B. Bohnert, assistant professor of psychiatry, who said, "It's a wonderful medical advancement that we can treat pain – but we haven't figured out the safety belt yet."
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Srijan Sen, M.D., Ph.D., was quoted in a Reuters article about the depression drug TC-5214 (developed by Targacept and AstraZeneca Plc.). Currently in late-stage trials, TC-5214 works by targeting neuronal nicotinic receptors — taking a different approach than most new depression drugs today, which work by boosting the chemicals serotonin, or serotonin and norepinephrine. “Developing drugs based on different neural pathways is really important because most of the drugs we have now are derived from the same neural pathways,” Sen said, but noted he was “skeptical” about TC-5214's ultimate success.
The Prechter Bipolar Research Fund’s Annual Lecture on October 3 provided a fascinating, multidisciplinary exploration of the current status of bipolar disorder research. Keynote speaker Andy Nierenberg, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, spoke on “Doing the Impossible Task of Practicing Evidence-Based Psychiatry: Treating Bipolar Depression as an Example,” and several distinguished U-M faculty joined him: Melissa Gross, Ph.D., who spoke on “Embodiment of Emotion: How Feelings Affect Body Movements”; Simon Evans, Ph.D., who presented on “Nutritional Considerations in Bipolar Disorder”; and Melvin McInnis, M.D., principal investigator of the Prechter Bipolar Research Fund, who gave a synopsis of the afternoon’s program. Nearly 200 people attended, including scientists and students, healthcare professionals, members of the community, and donors to the Prechter Fund. Thank you all for coming! Please visit the Prechter Fund’s website to view and download the presentations. You can also now sign-up to receive the Prechter Fund’s monthly e-newsletter.
October 13: Depression Center Colloquium
November 9: 16th Annual Raymond Waggoner Lecture on Ethics and Values in Medicine
November 15: Bright Nights – Partnering for Research: The Search for New Knowledge in Mental Health
November 17: Depression Center Colloquium
November 18: Michigan Summit on Military Families
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