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June 13, 2018 by Nassir Ghaemi, MD, MPH | Medscape

Why I Left Academia

Or Why Academia Left Me

Going to the ‘Dark Side’

(Medscape) – A few years ago, while attending a research conference, I inquired with a friend, a prominent professor from Sweden, about our mutual colleague, a young, bright psychiatrist with a great research career ahead of him. “He’s gone to the Dark Side!” was his reply.

I had not heard this term before in this setting. Images flew across my mind. Did the young man have a psychotic break? Did he get sick? Was he in jail?

Confused, I asked my friend what he meant. Laughing, he clarified, “He went to work for the pharmaceutical industry!”

Oh, that Dark Side.

It’s a term that I continued to hear when, a few years ago, I myself took a position in the pharmaceutical industry. It appears that those of us in the industry had taken the description so to heart, however jokingly, that we felt comfortable applying it amongst ourselves.

“Welcome to the Dark Side,” a colleague in industry emailed me when I told him about my new job at a biomedical research group in the United States that conducts early drug discovery work. Even my coworkers within this group would refer jokingly to our colleagues in the company’s European headquarters (where they conduct the large phase 3 trials) as the Dark Side, who in turn would use the term to refer to the commercial marketing team.

The prevalence of this term represents an easy dichotomy, pitting the Machiavellian scheming of industry against the unsullied Ivory Towers of academia. However, after 25 years and a solid career in academia, I came to see it as its own sort of Dark Side, where the drive for self-preservation outweighed actual progress.

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May 16, 2018 by Reuters Staff | Reuters Health News

Depression, Anxiety Worse in Patients With IBS Than Those With IBD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Comorbid symptoms of anxiety and depression are worse in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) compared to those with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a new meta-analysis shows.

“Although the prevalence of depression was similar between IBS and IBD patients, the study found that depression and anxiety was more severe in IBS patients compared to IBD patients,” Dr. Qin Geng of China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing and his colleagues note in the Journal of Affective Disorders, online May 4.

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January 1, 2018 by Julia Rucklidge, PhD & Bonnie Kaplan, PhD | MadInAmerica

Micronutrients for ADHD Symptoms in Children

Our last blog reported on a study that found that a combination of micronutrients was effective in reducing aggression in children struggling with behavioural problems. Given that this finding replicated several previous studies over the last two decades, we wondered why the cumulative results weren’t impacting clinical practice.

Julia’s lab just published still another study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry confirming the importance of nutrients in reducing aggression, this time in children presenting with ADHD.

So what did this latest study find?

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December 12, 2017 by Jessica Pratt, EXCELLENCE Editor

MindFreedom International Will Use Advocacy Training to Aid Mental Health Recovery & Change Public Discourse

Contact: Jessica Pratt                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Communications Manager                                                         December 12, 2017


(Wilsonville, OR) – MindFreedom International, headquartered in Eugene, Oregon, will create web-based resources designed to empower, inspire and give individuals with lived experience of mental health challenges the skills they need to be effective leaders in the community. This online resource will draw on the collective wisdom of its members and affiliates, most of whom identify as psychiatric survivors, and include two webinar trainings, a series of videos and a pocket handbook.

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November 30, 2017 by Jessica Pratt, EXCELLENCE Editor

Filmmaker and Historian Team Up to Change How Mental Health Care is Taught, Practiced

Contact: Jessica Pratt                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Communications Manager                                                         November 30, 2017

(Wilsonville, OR) – Award-winning director/producer Lucy Winer has teamed up with author and Distinguished Professor of History Nancy Tomes at Stony Brook University to create an innovative digital learning site for health care students and professionals. The site will consist of an extensive video archive and online curriculum that aims to build awareness of the past and instill attitudes and values essential to a mental health care system grounded in the principles of recovery.

“This project is important because it will allow residents the opportunity to look at and discuss issues that are often not included in psychiatric training. These profound glimpses into the past highlight how our mental health care system has evolved and underscore the importance of building a future where patient-centered and recovery-oriented care is central to the work we do as mental health providers,” said Melissa Arbuckle, MD, PhD, Vice Chair for Education and Director of Resident Education in the Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University.

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November 24, 2017 by Jessica Pratt, EXCELLENCE Editor

Award-Winning Columbia Med Center Psychiatrist Lisa Dixon Secures New Grant for Care Innovation

Contact: Jessica Pratt                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Communications Manager                                                         November 24, 2017

(Wilsonville, OR) – Principal investigator Lisa Dixon, MD, MPH, Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and Director of the Division of Behavioral Health Services & Policy Research and the Center for Practice Innovations at the New York State Psychiatric Institute will head up a new project to test enhancing one site of the OnTrackNY program with family engagement and support services which draw on the Needs Adapted and Open Dialogue models with the goal of improving treatment and recovery outcomes.

Photo of Lisa Dixon, MD

Lisa Dixon, MD

OnTrackNY was developed to treat young adults within two years of experiencing an episode of psychosis. The project is a collaboration with OnTrackNY at The Mental Health Association of Westchester and will be the latest adaptation of the Finnish Open Dialogue model to be tested in the United States. It will offer a family therapy option that brings together the person at the center of concern and members of their social network to navigate crises and assist in treatment planning.

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November 17, 2017 by Jessica Pratt, EXCELLENCE Editor

Fort Collins Doctor Teams Up with CSU Professor to Test New Options for Young People in Distress

Contact: Jessica Pratt                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Communications Manager                                                         November 17, 2017


(Wilsonville, OR) – Principal investigator Dr. Shannon Hughes at the Colorado State University School of Social Work will collaborate with psychiatrist Scott Shannon at The Wholeness Center, an innovative mental health clinic in Fort Collins, to test a novel, 4-month program aimed at helping young adults, aged 18-26, understand and navigate their mental health challenges without psychiatric labels or medications.

Headshot of Shannon Hughes, PhD

Shannon Hughes, PhD

They aim to shift conversation away from an exclusively medical understanding of mental and emotional distress towards a holistic, self-development approach that values body, mind, social connections, and spirituality. Over the course of the program, these young people will learn about emotional distress and a variety of proven non-medical approaches for working through it, participate in peer support groups, receive counseling on nutrition and lifestyle, and explore opportunities to form social connections in the community through activities such as art, sports and clubs.

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November 10, 2017 by Jessica Pratt, EXCELLENCE Editor

OHSU psychologist wins Foundation grant to study micronutrient treatment of ADHD in young people

Contact: Jessica Pratt                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Communications Manager                                                         November 10, 2017


(Wilsonville, OR) – Principal investigator Jeanette Johnstone, PhD, Instructor & Licensed Psychologist in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University will head up an 8-week randomized controlled trial to evaluate the use of a broad-spectrum micronutrient to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in young people. The treatment consists of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants and the study is the first of its kind based in North America.

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October 3, 2017 by Jessica Pratt, EXCELLENCE Editor

New grant boosts hearing voices approach in USA

Contact: Jessica Pratt                                                       FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Communications Manager                                                            October 3, 2017


(Wilsonville, OR) – A pioneering approach to understanding voices, visions, and other extreme states will now be available to more Americans, thanks to a $300,000 grant to the Hearing Voices Research and Development Fund.

For more than 25 years, the Hearing Voices Network – an international collaboration of professionals, voice hearers, and their families and friends – has been working to develop a peer-support based approach to help those coping with distressing voices, visions, and other anomalous experiences. It enables voice hearers – even those who have been chronically disabled – to come to terms with their voices or to silence them altogether. One in ten people will hear voices at some point in their lives, and for many, this experience can be terrifying and isolating. The most common treatment in the US is a long-term course of ‘antipsychotic’ drugs, which are often ineffective and can have unwanted side effects. Only now are real alternatives starting to become known here.

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September 27, 2017 by Jessica Pratt, EXCELLENCE Editor

Courageous Mental Health Film Premieres October 15 at Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles

CRAZY has been selected to screen Saturday, October 14th at the NYC Mental Health Film Festival ( and Sunday, October 15th at the Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles (

The one hour documentary tells the story of a young man diagnosed with schizophrenia, who goes off his meds because he is afraid of their side effects. His decision unleashes a series of personal, legal and medical conflicts that reveal how we think about and how we treat “severe mental illness.” The high stakes drama is the only film to explore Assisted Outpatient Treatment, dangerousness, mental health rights and consumer choices, issues hotly debated among stakeholders, the press and the legislatures.

Yana Jacobs, Chief of Development for the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care will be talking on CheddarTv on October 12 about the problems CRAZY highlights and the new kinds of treatment solutions FEMHC is working on.

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