Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

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Penn Psychiatry In the News

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2008

Caryn Lerman, PhD is quoted in a Philadelphia Business Journal item about her new study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, finding that some smokers may be genetically prone to concentration and memory problems during quitting attempts. This genetic predisposition poses an added risk of relapse, but Lerman and her coauthor, James Loughead, PhD say the findings pave the way for the development of personalized smoking cessation therapies.
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David Dinges, PhD and Ann Rogers, PhD, RN are interviewed in a Modern Healthcare cover story about recommendations released by the Institute of Medicine which say that medical and surgical residents in hospitals should work no more than 16 hours without taking a mandatory five-hour sleep break, and they should get one full day off a week and at least two back-to-back days off a month.
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ABC 6 investigates electronic Safe Cig products sold at local mall kiosks to see if they are safe for smokers attempting to quit. Doctors say electronic cigarettes are not FDA approved. Andrew Strasser, PhD, assistant professor of Psychiatry, says the product hasn't been thoroughly investigated.
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James Coyne, MD spoke with Mental Health Weekly regarding the JAMA study he co-authored which addresses depression screening for cardiac patients.

Mark Salzer, PhD spoke on NPR’s All Things Considered in a story about students with mental health problems who, in the wake of the shootings at Virginia Tech, have been quickly suspended or expelled from colleges and universities after complaining of serious depression or suicidal thoughts.
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Elizabeth Hembree, PhD spoke with WHYY Radio about the VA’s efforts to bring prolonged exposure treatment to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
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David Dinges, PhD was featured in an article in the Washington Post and several television clips that appeared in ABC News affiliates in Pittsburgh, Boston and Palm Beach regarding the recommendations released by the Institute of Medicine which say that medical and surgical residents in hospitals should work no more than 16 hours without taking a mandatory five-hour sleep break, and they should get one full day off a week and at least two back-to-back days off a month.
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The research of Charles O'Brien, MD, PhD on the opioid receptor blocker, naltrexone, to prevent relapse to heavy drinking in alcohol-dependent patients, is discussed in a feature about the molecular biology and genetics of addiction in the December 2008 issue of The Scientist.
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The Philadelphia Inquirer highlights TMS, a new non-invasive, non-drug treatment recently approved by the FDA for depression, which was tested and is now available at Penn’s Treatment Resistant Depression Clinic. The article features clinical trial participant Ernie Mercer as well as John O’Reardon, MD, director of the Penn TMS clinic.
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Martin Franklin, PhD discussed the mental illness trichotillomania in an ABCNews.com article about an 11-year-old girl in Mumbai, India. The girl was hospitalized with pain in her stomach; surgeons operated and found a foot-long hairball. The mass of hair - known as a trichobozear - is a potentially fatal result of trichotillomania, a condition in which the patient pulls her hair out and, in many cases, eats it.
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Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Rosa DeLauro have announced that they plan to reintroduce legislations in the next Congress that would require nutrition labeling on chain-restaurant menus across the country. In a Newsweek.com article, experts, including Thomas Wadden, PhD, contemplate whether it will really serve as a dietary deterrent or will the public just remain in dining denial.
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The Washington Post looks into the successful treatment of people with severe depression using transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, including two Penn patients, Steve Newman and Garrett Aguilar. John O’Reardon, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry who headed the Penn trial and treated Newman and Aguilar was interviewed in the article.
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David Dinges, PhD, Chief of the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology, spoke with EarthSky.org for a podcast discussing a test to help NASA astronauts gauge fatigue and stress during long missions in space.
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George Woody, MD was quoted in articles by Reuters and HealthDay News (appearing in Washington Post, USNews.com, Forbes.com), noting that longer-term use of a drug that relieves withdrawal symptoms might help young people undergoing treatment for addiction to heroin or prescription painkillers like Oxycontin.
Click for article - Reuters
Click for article - HealthDay/Washington Post

Jason Karlawish, MD and Mark Salzer, PhD both appeared on local WHYY FM radio and NPR commenting on the voting rights of people with cognitive disabilities. Drs. Karlawish and Salzer commented on proper competency screening for those with cognitive disabilities, such as young adults with schizophrenia or seniors with dementia, and ways to help this population be better represented in the polls.
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Scott A. Mackler, MD, PhD appeared on CBS’s 60 Minutes in a story about a new technology which directly links the brain to a computer. Mackler, a neuroscientist and ALS patient, demonstrates how this “brain computer interface” has given him back the ability to communicate with others via a computer generated voice.
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Edna Foa, PhD, professor of Psychiatry, spoke with HealthDay News (posted by USNews.com) about a study which found that more than one in seven female Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking VA medical care reported experiencing sexual trauma during their service.
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David S. Metzger, PhD was quoted in a Philadelphia Inquirer article, regarding the high rate of new HIV cases in Philadelphia. The measures described in the article show that Philadelphians are being infected at a rate more than 50 percent higher than residents of New York City and five times the national average.
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ABC 6 highlights that the FDA has now approved TMS, noting that it was tested in Philadelphia by researchers at the Hospital of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. John O’Reardon, MD said in clinical trials, the therapy has proven to work two- to three-times better than placebo.
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WebMD.com looks at an experimental diet drug that may prove to be twice as effective as currently available weight loss medications if results from an early study are confirmed. Thomas Wadden, PhD tells WebMD that the phase III study should help answer important questions about the safety of the experimental weight loss drug.
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John O’Reardon, MD spoke with the Philadelphia Business Journal about a TMS device approval based on studies conducted at Penn which found that the non-invasive, non-surgical treatment was effective and safe in treating people with depression that did not respond to other treatments. A Penn patient notes that, after 20 years of severe depression, he had given up hope, until this came along.
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The Wall Street Journal spoke with a Penn Behavioral Health patient about his treatment with TMS. "Joe," who didn't want his real name used, was a successful writer until he fell into a severe depression in the 1980s. He was suicidal for years and hospitalized repeatedly. He tried a gamut of antidepressants. "But they made me sleep 18 hours a day," he says. Joe's psychiatrist encouraged him to enroll in a TMS trial. "It's the only thing that worked," Joe says. "Within six weeks, I was officially no longer depressed." Now he is off medication but returns for weekly TMS treatments.
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The Associated Press speaks with another Penn Behavioral Health patient, Steve Newman, about his experience with repeated bouts of depression and successful treatment with TMS treatment in NeuroStar study at the University of Pennsylvania in 2005. This article has been posted by more than 90 outlets including the Baltimore Sun, Newsday, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Steven E. Arnold, MD and Christopher M. Clark, MD spoke with the New York Times about studies suggesting that many Hispanics may have more risk factors for developing dementia than other groups, and a significant number appear to be getting Alzheimer’s earlier.
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Charles O'Brien, MD, PhD was quoted in an article in the Washington Times, regarding the development and basic neuroscience of addiction.
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WHYY Radio notes that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved an alternative treatment for depression. The University of Pennsylvania is one of a handful of locations nationally where Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is available as a treatment, outside of clinical trials. John O’Reardon, MD says the non-invasive therapy sends magnetic pulses through the scalp to stimulate nerve centers in the brain that aren’t working properly.
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An article on WebMD.com highlights that the first transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) device received FDA clearance October 8th, 2008. Michael Thase, MD says he's seen meaningful benefit in patients he's treated - a benefit also seen in clinical trials.
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Reed Goldstein, PhD, psychologist at Hall-Mercer Community Mental Health Center at Pennsylvania Hospital, was quoted in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer on the increase in levels of anxiety among average Americans as the worries add up: Wall Street, the war, the election, the credit crunch and housing values.
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Daniel Langleben, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, spoke on St. Louis radio station KMOX's "Reality Check" show and discussed new brain imaging technology that may be able to tell when someone is lying, although it may not be ready for use in uncontrolled or incomparable settings (i.e. court cases).
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Helen Luu, social worker and team leader of the Southeast Asian Mental Health Program at Hall-Mercer Community Mental Health Center at Pennsylvania Hospital, is quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer regarding gambling addiction among the Asian community, in light of the city’s plan to build a casino on the edge of Chinatown.
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In a Cleveland Plain Dealer article, Daniel Langleben, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, discusses the potential for the utilization of fMRI scanners in lie detection.
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Anthony Rostain, MD, MA, Professor of Psychiatry, discusses the characteristics and scientific research regarding adult ADD and ADHD in a segment on Univision’s Aqui y Ahora newsmagazine television show. Dr. Rostain’s patient, Jaime Montealegve, a Penn student, is also interviewed and speaks about his current treatment for ADD.

Ruben Gur, PhD, Director of the Penn Brain Behavior Laboratory, discusses the role functional MRIs can play in examining behaviors such as deception with Advanced Imaging Magazine.
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In an article from Science News, David Dinges, PhD, Chief of the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology, explains that Dopamine may naturally increase when a person is sleep-deprived as a way to counteract a revved-up drive to sleep. Sleep deprivation affects some people profoundly, impairing their ability to pay attention and lengthening their reaction times, Dinges says.
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According to the Associated Press, an Erie woman charged with helping plot an elaborate bank robbery that ended with the death of a pizza deliveryman who was wearing a bomb around his neck is not mentally competent to stand trial, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. At the hearing, Robert L. Sadoff, MD, clinical professor of Psychiatry, testified that Diehl-Armstrong "absolutely" has bipolar disorder. He has known her since the 1980s and said she's had the condition for a number of years.

Wade H. Berrettini, MD, professor of psychiatry and genetics, was quoted in an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, regarding a study which found that teenagers may start smoking because of peer pressure, but they become addicted to nicotine in part because of their genes.
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Daniel Weintraub, MD was quoted in the Chicago Tribune, regarding a recent study which found that more than 13 percent of patients taking a particular class of drug called dopamine agonists to treat Parkinson’s disease, sold under brand names including Mirapex and Requip, experienced dramatic changes in behavior, with some developing gambling problems, heightened sexual interest or compulsive spending and eating habits where there had previously been no sign of such disorders.
Click here to view an excerpt or access the archived article (off-site link)

In a Baltimore Sun article about a 3-D simulator in which soldiers see, hear and smell the rigors of combat to help ease war-induced stress, notes that more empirical evidence is needed to determine efficacy and account for cost of this type of exposure therapy. Edna Foa, PhD, who works with PTSD patients - including soldiers - in both the U.S. and Israel, says the images in virtual therapy might be too generic to effectively elicit patients' own memories.
Click here to view an excerpt or access the archived article (off-site link)

John O’Reardon, MD spoke with WHYY and discussed how TMS - transcranial magnetic stimulation - delivers pulses to the brain to activate circuits that are not functioning properly in people with certain mood disorders, including depression. Penn researchers are investigating this technique, along with other techniques including DBS and VNS.

Daniel Weintraub, MD spoke with HealthDay/Washington Post about a new study conducted by the Department of Psychiatry which found that people taking dopamine agonists to treat Parkinson's disease are three times more likely to have impulse-control disorders such as compulsive gambling, buying and sexual behavior. The study was presented at the Movement Disorder Society's 12th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders.
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Charles O'Brien, MD, PhD, Vice Chair of Psychiatry, is quoted in a Washington Post article discussing new guidelines for "Helping Patients Who Drink Too Much” proposed by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. O’Brien says that “most doctors don't know how to make the diagnosis [of alcoholism] and don't really try to do anything about it until it is so easy to diagnose that all you have to do is glance at the patient.”
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David Dinges, PhD, Chief, Division of Sleep and Chronobiology, discusses the role that sleep plays in psychiatric health on a rerun of a 60 Minutes segment aired earlier this year. He mentions that a cumulative sleep debt affects how people react to situations such as driving.
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Caryn Lerman, PhD, deputy director of the Abramson Cancer Center and director of the Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center, was on WHYY FM discussing her latest research which helps reveal why it is easier for some people to quit smoking than others. Dr. Lerman and colleagues discovered how to identify several novel gene variants that provide clues to the basic biology underlying nicotine dependence and the ability to cease smoking.

In an investigation into health care insurance coverage for people diagnosed with Anorexia nervosa, Wade Berrettini, MD, Director of the Center of Neurobiology and Behavior, says that to deny care for anorexia nervosa because it is ”not a biologically-based illness” is to make a grievous error that puts people with a serious illness at risk. A New Jersey health insurance company recently overturned its decision and provided a $250,000 settlement to a woman with Anorexia nervosa. He appeared on WPIX-TV in New York.

J. Russell Ramsay, PhD, associate director of the Penn's ADHD Adult Treatment and Research Program, is quoted in a Philadelphia Inquirer article discussing the association between elite male gymnasts and childhood hyperactivity. Dr. Ramsay notes "there are a lot of parents of children with this disorder who see gymnastics, or athletics in general, as a positive way to channel their child's attention."
Click here for an excerpt or to access the archived article on philly.com

David S. Metzger, PhD, research associate professor of Psychiatry and director of the HIV/AIDS Prevention Research Division, was quoted in an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer on his efforts in combating AIDS in China. Dr. Metzger will test "whether a drug that reduces the craving for heroin can also reduce the spread of HIV infection among addicts who share dirty needles".

Research by David Dinges, PhD, professor and chief of the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology and director of the Unit for Experimental Psychiatry - which was published in the Journal of NeuroScience and found that being deprived of sleep, even for just one night, can it make the brain unstable and prone to sudden shutdowns - was cited by an additional 15 national and local outlets including The Osgood File, KCBS-TV in Los Angeles and WBZ-AM 1030 (CBS) Boston.

Robert L. Sadoff, MD, clinical professor of Psychiatry, is mentioned in The New York Times and The Washington Post for providing expert testimony at a competency hearing yesterday in Erie, PA. The hearing was to determine whether or not Margorie Diehl-Armstrong, a woman Dr. Sadoff has known and evaluated since the 1980s, is mentally fit to stand trial on charges that she helped plot an elaborate bank robbery that ended with the death of a pizza deliveryman.

David Dinges, PhD, professor and chief of the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology and Director of the Unit for Experimental Psychiatry, is quoted in an article by Reuters and posted by 30 outlets including MSNBC.com and The Australian. Dr. Dinges discusses a study, published today in the Journal of Neurology, in which researchers suggest that people who are sleep-deprived alternate between periods of near-normal brain function and dramatic lapses in attention and visual processing, making it clear how dangerous sleep deprivation can be while driving on the highway, when even a four-second lapse could lead to a major accident.
Click here for the Reuters, MSNBC.com and Australian article (off-site link)

Thomas Wadden, PhD, director of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders, commented in the Washington Post about a boarding school for overweight kids.
Click for article (off-site link)

John B. Jemmott, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, appeared on NPR discussing ways to prevent HIV transmission.
Click for segment (off-site link)

John O’Reardon, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, appeared on WHYY's Voices in the Family program. Dr. O'Reardon discussed the standard treatments for depression as well as cutting-edge new methods.
Click for interview (off-site link)

Aaron T. Beck, MD, professor of Psychiatry and 2006 Lasker Award recipient, was featured in Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer. Dr. Beck, who turns 87 in two months, is credited for founding “the burgeoning field of cognitive therapy" and shows no signs of slowing down his career. He continues to teach and has five books in the works.
Click here for article (off-site link)

Dr. Albert J. Stunkard was interviewed for an oral history, including his career in psychiatry, the evolution of the Department of Psychiatry at Penn, and his work in obesity.
Click here to download the interview at iTunes U (off-site link)

Wade H. Berrettini, MD, professor of psychiatry and genetics, is quoted in a New York Times article about the growing trend toward reclassifying diseases based on their genetic underpinnings.
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Adrian Raine, DPhil, Penn Integrates Knowledge professor in Psychiatry, was featured in an article in the Penn Current about his research of the brain and genetic basis for crime.
Click for article (off-site link)

J. Karen Martin, BSN, RN, and Helen Luu, team leader of the Asian Behavioral Health program at Hall-Mercer Community Mental Health Center at Pennsylvania Hospital were quoted in the March 17-24 edition of ADVANCE for Nurses on the importance of providing culturally competent care. J. Karen Martin is a nurse for the program.
Click for article (off-site link)

David Dinges, PhD, Chief of the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology, Department of Psychiatry, appeared on 60 Minutes in a two-part segment delving into the science of sleep.
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James Coyne, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, comments on WebMD on his recent study that shows that women carry more of the emotional burden when either one in a couple is diagnosed with cancer.
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John O’Reardon, MD, associate professor of Psychiatry, was quoted in a story that aired on the San Francisco NBC news affiliate about the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation as a treatment for drug-resistant depression.

Gregory K. Brown, PhD, research assistant professor of Psychiatry, is quoted in a New York Times article about the role blogs may have played in the suicide of Paul Tilley, a Chicago advertising executive. Brown said that public humiliation - like the attacks that popular advertising blogs mounted against him in the months before his death - could play a role in suicide because it may contribute to the hopelessness that is often a major risk factor for suicide, but that little is known about how Internet barbs could impact these feelings.
Click for article (off-site link)

Helen Luu, MSW, team leader of the Asian Behavioral Health Program at Hall-Mercer Community Mental Health Center at Pennsylvania Hospital was interviewed on March 3, 2008 on WHYY Radio’s Morning Edition about the stigma around mental health and depression in the Asian community. Hall-Mercer’s Asian Behavioral Health program has been providing services to the Asian community in Philadelphia for 20 years and was the first program of its kind in the region.
Click for interview (off-site link)

A paper by Charles O'Brien, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, is mentioned in a New York Times article about evaluating the suicide risk in a variety of medicines. In a Journal of the American Medical Association paper last year, Dr. O’Brien and Dr. Donald Klein of Columbia University stated that the best way to study the risk of rare side effects was to establish large, linked databases of patients, including medical records and prescription histories.
Click for article (off-site link)

Kyle Kampman, MD, assistant professor of Psychiatry at Penn's Charles O'Brien Center for Addiction Treatment, is quoted in today’s Daily Pennsylvanian in an article about the rise of prescription drug abuse on campus.
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Anna Rose Childress, PhD, Research Associate Professor of Psychiatry, appears in a HealthDay News service article about a NIDA-funded, Penn-led study that found that cocaine-related images can trigger the brain's emotional centers in drug addicts, even if they're unaware that they've actually seen such an image.
Click for article (off-site link)

David Dinges, PhD, Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, discussed sleeping patterns on NPR.
Click for segment (off-site link)

Thomas Wadden, PhD, Director of the Weight and Eating Disorders Center, comments in a USA Today article about the role of family member support during weight loss programs.
Click for article (off-site link)

 


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