News from 2009 APA Conference
STEPPS: A Viable Supplement to Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder
by T. M. Ness, MD
, June 25, 2009
Two randomized controlled trials have shown the Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving (STEPPS) program to be effective in reducing the intensity of core aspects of borderline personality disorder (BPD), Dr Donald Black and social worker Nancee Blum announced at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association held recently in San Francisco. Black summarized, “Data from several studies show that STEPPS reduced global severity as rated by clinicians and patients, borderline personality disorder symptoms, and depressive symptoms.”
Helping Patients Overcome the Fear of Death
, June 16, 2009
The fear of death has been hardwired into all of us, but therapists can help patients with death anxiety by providing powerful ideas along with a powerful human connection, said Irvin D. Yalom, MD, professor emeritus of psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine, California. He is the author of a number of books on existentialism and psychotherapy, and most recently has written Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation May Cause Improvements in Memory
, June 16, 2009
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) produced improvements in key areas of cognition and in short-term verbal memory in patients with major depressive disorder, and no adverse cognitive effects were shown. The results of this research were presented by Mark Demitrack, MD, vice president and chief medical officer of Neuronetics, Inc, and colleagues at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in May.
APA 2009: Military Mental Health Topics at the Forefront
, June 9, 2009
An array of military-related presentations were given at this year’s American Psychiatric Association (APA) conference, addressing the rise of psychiatric issues in returning veterans and their families. These constitute a significant public health problem, according to Mary Helen Davis, MD, a member of the APA’s Committee on Mental Health of Veterans, Active Duty Military and Their Families. “Overall, approximately 20% of active duty and 42% of reserve troops have been identified as needing further mental health assessment and treatment post deployment,” Davis said.
From Colloquialism to Full Recognition: The Evolution of BPD
, June 9, 2009
In response to the resolution made in 2008 by the US Congress that proclaimed May to be borderline personality disorder (BPD) awareness month, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) decided to make BPD a key track of this year’s meeting. Among the several excellent presentations on BPD was Dr John G. Gunderson’s lecture on the ontogeny of the disorder. Having spent the past 30+ years studying BPD, both as a researcher and a clinician, Dr Gunderson of McLean Hospital of Harvard Medical School is an expert on the history of BPD.
Newer Treatments for Schizophrenia: Benefits and Drawbacks
, June 2, 2009
New treatments for patients with schizophrenia may be on the horizon, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in San Francisco. While some of these therapies may help treat the negative and cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia, a few are associated with QTc interval prolongation.
The Joy of Living Versus the Fear of Dying
, June 2, 2009
Cardiovascular disease kills more people worldwide than everything else combined, said Dean Ornish, MD, cardiologist and clinical professor of medicine at the University of California in San Francisco. Dr Ornish is well known for his lifestyle-driven approach to the control of cardiovascular disease. Depending on the extent of personalized lifestyle changes, disease progression can be stopped and even reversed.
Gender Differences Should Be Considered in Treatment of Addiction
, May 22, 2009
The molecular events that accompany drug abuse and addiction are different for women than for men, according to new studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). As yet, little if any of this knowledge has made its way into gender-based differences in pharmacological and behavioral treatments for addiction. But according to some of the speakers, it could and it should.
Gender Identity Disorder: Has Accepted Practice Caused Harm?
, May 19, 2009
As transgender activists protested outside the American Psychiatric Association meeting, speakers at the meeting were presenting on the same topic: gender identity disorder. Some of their words would add clinical weight to the political slogans.
Schizophrenia Risk May Be Higher in Male Offspring of Young Fathers
, May 18, 2009
For almost 10 years, studies have shown that advanced paternal age may be a risk factor for schizophrenia in offspring. However, the risk of schizophrenia may also be higher in male offspring of fathers who are younger than 25 years, according to the results of a study presented at the 2009 American Psychiatric Association annual meeting.
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If You're Going to San Francisco…A Brief Insider's Guide
Natalie Timoshin, May 18, 2009
Over spring break, my daughter Tess went to visit a friend in San Francisco. Because he was working and Tess was left to her own devices for some of the time, Alex put together some itineraries for her that included places to go, what to do when she got there, great places to eat, and recommendations on what to eat. To be included in Alex's list, the outings had to be easily accessible, fun, not touristy, and inexpensive.