“I don’t think that, without an examination of an individual, one can make an assessment of the person’s psychological profile,” said Maria A. Oquendo, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University who is also president of the American Psychiatric Association. An expert can observe the public behavior of a political candidate, Dr. Oquendo said. “But you really cannot know what is motivating the behavior or what the underlying thought process is,” she said.
There were no links between SSRI exposure in the womb and scholastic or motor disorders in the children, according to Dr. Alan Brown at Columbia University in New York City and his colleagues, who included researchers from the University of Turku in Finland. But as reported in JAMA Psychiatry October 12th, for children whose mothers purchased at least two SSRI prescriptions during pregnancy, the risk of speech and language disorders was 37 percent higher than it was for children whose mothers had depression but didn’t take the drugs and 63 percent higher than for children whose mothers didn’t have depression. “There is a possible association between SSRIs during pregnancy and speech and language delays,” Brown told Reuters Health.
The study, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute, is being led by CUMC researcher Heather Greenlee, MD, PhD.
“The take-home message for patients with coronary artery disease is even if you don’t feel any differently when taking the medications, your very survival may depend upon them,” said lead study author Dr. Paul Kurlansky of Columbia University in New York.
There are not enough primary care doctors to meet the growing demand for services by the million more New Yorkers who have insurance through Obamacare and now nurses – like those at Columbia University’s Nurse Practitioner Group – are stepping up to meet the demand.
For the average healthy adult, meal replacement bars or shakes seem to be beneficial only when they are replacing an unhealthy food item in your daily diet, said Sharon Akabas, associate director of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University. “The question is, what would the person do if they didn’t eat the bar or drink the shake? Would they go to a fast food place and have a burger, fries and sweet beverage instead of the shake? In that case, any health specialist would say, go for the shake,” Akabas said.
Joanne Csete, a specialist in health and human rights at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York, said that the term “current drug users” usually refers to those who have used drugs in the past month. However, the DDB survey counts anyone who has used drugs in the past 13 months, which Csete says could inflate the number of users. “So the president can make up whatever numbers he likes – the survey does not adequately estimate current use,” she said.
The prospects of choline supplementation in pregnancy have piqued medical interest, but also notes of caution. “I think the choline research is really intriguing, and we’re starting to investigate maternal choline levels as well,” says Catherine Monk, an associate professor in psychiatry and obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center. “Some prenatal vitamins do contain it and foods rich in choline are readily available. But we have a lot more research to do before we start recommending it widely.”
Dr. Lawrence Honig, a professor of neurology at Columbia University, told me, “Unfortunately, at this time, we have no proven treatments to affect the course of the disease.” Some patients get small benefits from carbidopa/levodopa, a combination of drugs prescribed for patients with Parkinson’s disease, but most don’t. Various drugs can be used to manage symptoms like drooling, urinary frequency, agitation, insomnia or depression, and “thickeners” can be added to drinks to make them easier to swallow, he said.
Meet Victoria, one of most technologically advanced and highly realistic “patient simulators” on the market. Watch her give birth via emergency c-section, as part of a medical training exercise at Columbia University-New York Presbyterian Hospital. WSJ’s Tanya Rivero reports.
Dr. Angela Christiano, a co-author of the recently published study, had success with Xeljanz when she made it into an ointment and rubbed it on the skin of mice with skin engineered to be like the skin of bald men. The ointment was rubbed on the right side of the mice and not on the left, and the results are plain to see. Though she thinks men might have the same success with an ointment, she said the trick is that it has to penetrate properly. Compared with the paper-thin skin of mice, human skin is “much thicker, and it’s oily, and it’s deep, and it’s got a fat layer — so there’s a lot to think about when making a good topical formula,” said Christiano, assistant professor of molecular dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center.
Dr. Wendy K. Chung, the director of the clinical genetics program at Columbia University Medical School, has spent years working with children with neurological development issues. She said people with microcephaly need care beyond childhood. “They need support their entire lives,” she said.
According to an associate professor of psychiatry and obstetrics from Columbia University, Catherine Monk, we should introduce therapy as part of routine preventive care on a universal level to offset that stigma. Her recommendation is based on research she and her colleagues have done on the effects of depression on women and their fetuses. The results suggest that, in fact, there’s a third pathway by which the risk of mental illness travels in families. “It’s not just shared genes or how children are raised in their environments — it’s how the woman is feeling during pregnancy,” she says.
In practical terms, if a depressed mother did not take antidepressants, her child’s risk of being diagnosed with a speech or language disorder would be about 1%, but if she took an SSRI, it would increase to 1.37%, explained Dr. Alan Brown, lead author of the study and a professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center. “When you have relative risks that are 1.37, they’re considered to be low. But because so many people are exposed — 6% to 10% of mothers are exposed (to antidepressants) throughout the world — it’s increasing the public health burden,” Brown said, explaining that this burden amounts to more expenses.
“It is no longer sufficient to take a wait-and-hope approach,” Nicholas Tatonetti, a Columbia data scientist and one of the authors of the paper, said in an interview. “Our study demonstrates that we may be able to take a more active strategy for drug combination safety.”
“Other studies have also demonstrated that antibiotics can have a ‘herd’ effect – in other words, that antibiotics can affect people who do not themselves receive the antibiotics,” said lead author Dr. Daniel Freedberg of Columbia University Medical Center in New York.
Herbert Irving, a co-founder of the food services giant Sysco Corporation and a philanthropist who donated more than $300 million to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, died on Oct. 3 at his home in Manhattan. He was 98.
Dr. Julia Glade Bender, an associate professor of pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center, said that the reductions in death rates were the result of lessons learned in clinical trials that had led to small changes in practice. “Many hope for cancer breakthroughs, or cancer moonshots,” she said. “But it’s a series of well-conceived trials where we’ve studied minor changes in standards of care which add up over decades to substantial gains in survival.”
Researchers have discovered stem cells that could be harnessed to create new cartilage in the jaw. The cells were found from the temporomandibular joint, or the TMJ, which connects the jaw bone to the skull. When Columbia scientists manipulated those stem cells in mice with TMJ degeneration, the joint began to heal and new cartilage began to grow. The findings are a first step toward a treatment for patients with TMJ disorders, which can cause pain and difficulty chewing. Currently, the only treatments are surgery or palliative care to alleviate a patient’s symptoms. The work will be published in Nature Communications.
“Our approach narrows down the list of potentially interesting regulatory genes involved in periodontitis,” study lead Panos Papapanou said in a press release. “This allows us to focus on the handful of genes that represent the most important players in the process rather than the whole transcriptome.”
The results are exciting because they are the first to point to a genetic preference for certain kinds of foods, says Claudia Doege, who studies obesity at Columbia University. “We know that 40 to 60 percent of obesity is inherited but it has been very difficult to find which genes drives these cases,” she said.
“But that has always been a mystery,” says Stefano Fusi, a theoretical neuroscientist at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute. “What we wanted to understand is whether we can take advantage of the complexity of biology to essentially build an efficient [artificial] memory system.” So Fusi and his colleague, Marcus Benna, an associate research scientist at the institute, created a mathematical model that illustrates how the human brain processes and stores new and old memories, given the biological constraints of the human brain. Their findings, published today in a paper in the journal Nature Neuroscience, demonstrate how synapses in the human brain simultaneously form new memories while protecting old ones—and how older memories can help slow the decay of newer ones.
Dr. Michael Rosenbaum, an obesity researcher at Columbia University, explained: “Inevitably, you get these comments, ‘I know how to cure obesity. All you have to do is eat less.’ The idea that obesity is a disease has not caught on. The idea that once you have lost weight you are cured is wrong. Obesity is the disease that keeps on giving.”
Denise Kandel, a professor of sociomedical sciences at Columbia University and a pioneer in the study of gateway effects, teamed up with her husband Eric, a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist, to look at nicotine. Their study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2014 and titled “A Molecular Basis for Nicotine as a Gateway Drug,” found that mice primed with nicotine had a substantially greater preference for cocaine than a group of mice given only water.
“While exciting, there appear to be problems with the study,” wrote Dieter Egli of Columbia University Medical Center in an email. Egli said he sees possible abnormalities in the embryos Zhang created, which he says reinforces why the FDA should be overseeing such experiments.
The limited information in the abstract left many wanting more. “Right now it’s just, ‘We have done it.’ It’s a claim,” says Dieter Egli, a stem cell biologist at Columbia University. Unanswered questions included what type of ethics review the IVF procedure received (the abstract notes an Institutional Review Board approved the experiment, but did not specify whether it was in Mexico or elsewhere), what medical follow-up the child would receive, whether this was the first time the group had performed the technique, and whether previous efforts were unsuccessful and went unreported.
It’s World FTD Awareness Week, spotlighting frontotemporal dementia, a serious ailment affecting the middle-aged. Don Newhouse, president of Advanced Publications, lost his wife, Suzi, to the disease, and his brother, Si, was recently diagnosed as well. Newhouse shares his story with TODAY’s Matt Lauer, and psychiatrist and neurologist Dr. Ted Huey explains that while Alzheimer’s disease affects the elderly, FTD typically manifests between ages 55 and 65. Learn the four main symptoms you should look out for.
Instead of rehashing all the reasons you’re #NeverTrump or #NeverHillary, you could “focus mindfully on the message of the candidate that you support,” said Dr. Colleen Cullen, a psychologist at Columbia University Medical Center. Or — and Cullen acknowledges this might particularly difficult this year — you could try and understand the other candidate’s point of view “as nonjudgmentally as possible,” even if he or she won’t get your vote. You might also just accept the situation for what it is, Cullen said: “recognizing that whether you like it or not, these are our two candidates.”
Dr. Califano is the Clyde and Helen Wu Professor of Chemical Systems Biology at Columbia University and the co-founder of DarwinHealth. Dr. Bosker is the CEO and co-founder of DarwinHealth and CEO of CMEducation Resources.
It’s called alopecia areata. The autoimmune disease causes the body to attack hair follicles making it fall out in clumps and patches. The disease affects up to 7-million Americans. “It’s a lot of people, all ages — childhood, adults, males, females, genders, races equally,” Dr. Angela Christiano, Columbia University Medical Center said.
Victims of trauma might experience insomnia, irritability, hyper-vigilance, or a loss of or gain in appetite, said Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, professor and chairman of the department of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. They might be easily startled by loud sounds. “These are effects that will linger for some period of time,” he said.
The researchers were able so far to evaluate just 70 percent of the health-related indicators called for by the UN. It may not be pretty, but “we have no chance of success if we can’t agree on what’s critical,” said Linda Fried, dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.
Scientists have uncovered tantalizing clues about the underpinnings of autism, but those findings haven’t translated into drugs to treat key aspects of the condition. “We do not have treatments that relate in any way to what causes autism spectrum disorder, or that really relate to what’s happening in the brain,” says Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and associate professor of psychiatry at Columbia University. “There are no quick fixes.”
“People often have moral judgment in this area,” Marc Bessler, who was among the first physicians in the nation to perform a bariatric surgical procedure laparoscopically, in 1997, told me. “But I don’t think that’s helpful. Our relationship to food is strange. We still don’t fully understand how things like refined sugars are affecting us.”
“We do not know the optimal amount of sleep needed to minimize the risk of heart disease,” but people who get less than seven hours a night or more than nine hours may be more at risk than their peers who fall somewhere in the middle of that range, said lead statement author Dr. Marie St-Onge of Columbia University in New York City, in an email.
Although an HIV filter could have the benefit of letting HIV-positive people meet others — avoiding potentially awkward and stigmatizing conversations — it also could have a dark side: creating a false sense of security, said Dr. Eric Schrimshaw, associate professor of sociomedical sciences at Columbia University.
In Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures, Eric R. Kandel, the noted brain scientist, states that painting—from the Renaissance until fairly recently—sought to create the illusion of the three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional canvas. What makes this sort of painting convincing is not its realism or its naturalism. What is distinctive, rather, about what Kandel calls figurative art is that it affects the visual system in much the way that the depicted events and figures do or would. Painting in this tradition moves us, he argues, for the same reason that the world moves us.
Dr. Stephen Morse, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, told ABC News in an earlier interview that health officials will likely look at past outbreaks of dengue fever to understand how long a Zika outbreak will last. The dengue fever virus is in the same family of viruses as the Zika virus and spread by the same mosquito species, though it causes different symptoms and is not sexually transmitted.
Vincent Racaniello of Columbia University has done groundbreaking research on reconstructing the DNA of viruses (sort of like microbial “Jurassic Park”). The method was used to re-create the spectacularly lethal influenza behind the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, which killed between 50 and 100 million people. Why re-create such a monster? “Influenza is a particularly thorny virus that comes back over and over again. There’s always the possibility that a particular strain may come back,” he tells Kurt Andersen. “The 1918 [strain] was so deadly, knowing about it prepares scientists if it should ever come back.”
Dr. Vincent Racaniello is a polio expert by trade and training who, like hundreds of scientists around the globe, dropped what he was studying earlier this year to focus on the emerging threat of Zika, a virus few people had ever heard of before it became a worldwide epidemic. He isn’t trying to cure the disease. He won’t develop a vaccine. And it’s unlikely he will discover any new therapies. But Racaniello, like so many of his peers, believes Zika may offer a unique opportunity to study an unusual virus and its effect on the developing brain.
“Adding low-dose propranolol to depression treatment could potentially block an SSRI’s deleterious effect on bone mass,” said Dr. Patricia Ducy, an associate professor of pathology and cell biology at Columbia University Medical Center, said in a press release. “[This] may be particularly important for peri- and postmenopausal women since they are already at risk of developing osteoporosis.”
Asa Abeliovich, a pathologist and neurologist at Columbia University who was not part of this study, says the paper effectively links these two genetic routes to Parkinson’s: the garbage disposal problem and the toxic accumulation that occurs when cellular energy plants go awry. Abeliovich, however, thinks it is still speculative to conclude these problems are also to blame for the noninherited cases of Parkinson’s.
The award announced Tuesday went to John Flanagan of Harvard Medical School, Carol A. Mason of Columbia University, Carla Shatz of Stanford University and Christine Holt of Cambridge University.
Dr. Lipkin is a professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
“Over the last several years there has been an increase in prescription of antidepressants,” said Mark Olfson, a professor of psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center and the lead author of the study. “In that context, many people assumed that undertreatment of depression is no longer a common problem.”
A study by Columbia University Medical Center researchers this year found that enrollment is highest in western states with older, less restrictive programs and lower in more recent “medicalized” programs like the one in New York. Minnesota, which has a program similar to New York’s, has enrolled nearly 2,800 patients since its program started a year ago.
Columbia University neuroscientist Eric Kandel has spent the bulk of his career trying to understand memory and how we remember. Rather than probing the human brain, much of his work has focused on a maroon marine mollusk. The sea slug, known as Aplysia californica, has giant, balloon-shaped nerve cells that lend themselves well to studying how they link up and how changes in their connections might underpin learning, memory and behavior.
“Roger, in his brilliant ingenuity, figured it should be possible to play with it,” Charles S. Zuker, a former colleague who is now at Columbia, said in an interview. “He would do the simplest, most clever experiments to get at some of the most fundamental questions in contemporary biology.”
“There are challenges in aligning depression care with patient needs,” said the lead author, Dr. Mark Olfson, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. “Extending the use of simple screening tools in primary care is a good first step. Most adults who screen positive for depression don’t receive any treatment.”
Changes in what is considered an ideal body type, “some of which are coming from the West, are influencing where China is now,” said Kathleen Pike, executive director of the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia University. “But China has its own set of dynamics occurring that results in increasing risk.”