January 2015 News Updates

Updates January 2015

Department Intern, Ien Li, a Finalist in Intel Science Talent Search

Ien Li, a senior at Jericho High School and an intern in the Department of Psychiatry's Center for Understanding Biology using Imaging Technology, is one of 40 finalists nation-wide in this year's Intel Science Talent Search. Ms. Li was a 2014 Simons Fellow who was mentored by Christine DeLorenzo, PhD on a project titled Statistical Modeling of Major Depression: Bridging the Gap between Brain and Behavior. Finalists will travel to Washington, D.C. for the judging process and meeting with top scientists and national leaders. Winners will be announced at a gala awards ceremony on March 10.
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David Hsu, PhD Joins Faculty

Neuroscientist David Hsu, PhD has joined the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry as a tenure-track Assistant Professor to study the biological mechanisms that underlie social distress and reward. Dr. Hsu was hired as part of an interdisciplinary cluster hiring initiative of the Center for Affective Neuroscience of Depression and Anxiety (CANDA), which is designed to bring scholars from Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neurobiology together to study depression and anxiety in humans and animal models.
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A Biomarker for Major Depressive Disorders in Males

A study by Department Chair Ramin Parsey, MD, PhD and Christine DeLorenzo, PhD, Director of the CUBIT lab, and colleagues identified a biomarker with high sensitivity and selectivity for Major Depressive Disorder in males. The article, titled Quantification of the Serotonin 1A Receptor Using PET: Identification of a Potential Biomarker of Major Depression in Males, was published on line in Neuropsychopharmacology. Joshua Kaufman, of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, was lead author.
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Estimating Non-Specific Binding Without a Reference Region

An article by Todd Ogden, PhD, Francesca Zanderigo, PhD and Ramin Parsey, MD, PhD published in the journal NeuroImage describes a new method for estimating non-specific binding in positron emission tomography (PET) studies without using a reference region. The method uses information from several regions of the brain simultaneously to model PET data, reducing the risk of biased estimation. The article is titled Estimation of in vivo nonspecific binding in positron emission tomography studies without using a reference region.
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A Dimensional Approach to Emotional Disorders

A study by Roman Kotov, PhD and colleagues used a new instrument which combines the strengths of a clinical interview with dimensional assessment to clarify the structure of internalizing emotional disorders in adults. They identified three dimensions: distress, fear and bipolar, and demonstrated consistency over a 2 month interval and between clinical and non-clinical samples. The study, titled The structure and short-term stability of the emotional disorders: a dimensional approach, was published in Psychological Medicine, 12 December 2014.
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Opioid System Responses to Social Rejection and Acceptance in People with Major Depressive Disorder

David Hsu, PhD and colleagues reported the results of a study comparing the responses of the endogenous opioid system to social rejection and acceptance in patients with major depressive disorder with responses in healthy controls. In a previous study, Dr. Hsu and colleagues presented evidence demonstrating that the brain responds to social rejection in the same way that it responds to physical pain – by releasing its own opioids to dampen feelings of being “hurt.” In this study they expand their finding to show differences in response between people with major depressive disorder and healthy controls. People with major depressive disorders showed reduced opioid release in brain regions regulating stress, mood and motivation, as well as slower emotional recovery, when exposed to social rejection. The article, titled It still hurts: altered endogenous opioid activity in the bran during social rejection and acceptance in major depressive disorder, was published in the 20 January 2015 issue of Molecular Psychiatry.
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CPEP Case Study by Medical Student Michael Locher Accepted for Publication

Fourth year medical student Michael Locher is the lead author of a case study accepted for publication by The Primary Care Companion. The case concerns a 15-year old who was brought to the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program with acute psychosis after being treated with Infliximab for Crohn's disease, the first case of its kind reported in the medical literature. The patient was successfully treated with an atypical neuroleptic. Assistant Professor Al Alam, MD coauthored the report.

Society of Biological Psychiatry Chairman's Choice Award

Christine DeLorenzo, PhD, director of the Center for Understanding Biology using Imaging Technology (CUBIT) , has been selected to receive a Chairman's Choice Award from the Society of Biological Psychiatry. The award will be presented at the society's annual meeting in May 2015 in Toronto. In his letter of nomination for the award, Dr. Ramin Parsey cited her original research into an important glutamate receptor implicated in depression and her success as the director of CUBIT. "Dr. DeLorenzo is a role model for junior researchers and has helped to educate the next generation on using imaging methods in psychiatry research," Dr. Parsey said.

Two Articles by Victoria Rundberg-Rivera

In an article published in Child & Adolescent Psychopharmacology News, E. Victoria Rundberg-Rivera, MD and colleagues reported on psychotropic medication use by high school special education students with serious emotional disturbances. Their study revealed that 67% of the students were taking psychotropic medications and that nearly half of them were taking more than one medication. Comparisons with previous studies by Richard Mattison, MD and Gabrielle Carlson, MD, among others, suggest that the rates of psychotropic medication prescribing have increased dramatically. The article is titled Psychotropic Medication Use in Secondary School Special Education Students.

In a second article, in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, Dr. Rundberg-Rivera and colleagues reported high levels of participant satisfaction with the TOSCA study, a multisite study of risks and benefits of adding risperidone to a stimulant and parent training in the treatment of severe aggression in children with ADHD. The article is titled Participant Satisfaction in a Study of Stimulant, Parent Training and Risperidone in Children with Severe Physical Aggression.