Our People In The News

Long-acting medications for opioid addiction help patients control their future, unreliable selves

In this perspective piece, Keith Humphreys writes about new medications that may offer people addicted to opioids a chance to “bind their future selves to a commitment to stop using drugs.”  Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

Physicians urged to talk to their patients about guns

To keep patients and communities healthy, clinicians need to be able to ask all patients about access to firearms. This blog post references a piece in the Washington Post written by Nathaniel Morris, a resident in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, that addresses the importance of talking about gun violence in mental health.  

#MeToo: Stanford scholars weigh in on social media campaign exposing sexual assault

The #MeToo hashtag social media campaign is spreading awareness of sexual assault. Emma Seppälä, associate director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, and David Spiegel, the Jack, Samuel and Lulu Willson Professor in Medicine and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, provide comment in this post.  

New Stanford study takes steps toward integrating brain imaging into psychiatric care

Stanford researchers have developed a standard metric for healthy brain network functioning that can be compared against individual patients’ scan results. Authors of the study include Leanne Williams, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences; Tali Ball, postdoctoral research fellow in psychiatry; and Andrea Goldstein-Piekarski, Instructor in psychiatry.

The secretive family making billions from the opioid crisis

Keith Humphreys, the Esther Ting Memorial Professor and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is quoted in this article on OxyContin.

What the VA doesn’t get about mental health and drug treatment

This piece examines how federal agencies may have contributed to the opioid epidemic by poorly handling the intersection between drug treatment and mental health services. Mark McGovern, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is referenced here.  

What drove Las Vegas shooter to kill? We don’t know, and it drives us crazy

David Spiegel, the Jack, Samuel and Lulu Willson Professor in Medicine and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, provides comment in this article that examines the motives of mass shooters.

Will better technology solve our sleep sorrows?

Jamie Zeitzer, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, provides comment in this article on using technology to improve sleep.   

Prizes bigger than the Nobel

This piece highlights prominent biomedical awards and mentions a number of Stanford Medicine faculty who have been honored, including Karl Deisseroth, the D. H. Chen Professor and professor of bioengineering and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, who won the Fresenius Research Prize.

2017 NIH Director's Pioneer Awards announced - congratulations Dr. Amit Etkin!

The Pioneer Award provides up to $3.5 million, dispensed over five years, to investigators at all career levels to pursue new research directions and develop groundbreaking, high-impact approaches to a broad area of biomedical or behavioral science. Recipient Amit Etkin, MD, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, researches the neural basis of mental disorders and their treatment. His overarching goal is to transform the diagnosis and treatment of various psychiatric ailments through neurobiology.

Sex and age implicated in autism-related diagnoses

In this Q&A, Kaustubh Supekar, research scientist in the Stanford Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Laboratory, discusses a new study that found sex and age are tied to diagnoses of conditions associated with autism spectrum disorders such as schizophrenia and bowel disorders.

Media, Teens & Mental Health: Quick Tips for Parents

The Peninsula Health Care District, San Mateo Union High School District and Stanford Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing are collaborating on a comprehensive school-based mental health program serving 8,500 students at seven schools.  This blog post, Connected Without Connecting!  Social Media, Teens & Mental Health:  Quick Tips for Parents, is the first in a series of guest blogs by Stanford - featuring Vicki Harrison, Manager for the Center for Youth Mental Health & Wellbeing.

Good news: Fewer and fewer young people are getting incarcerated

In this piece, Keith Humphreys, the Esther Ting Memorial Professor and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, discusses how new policies have helped keep young people out of the criminal justice system.

The deadliness of the opioid epidemic has roots in America’s failed response to crack

Keith Humphreys, the Esther Ting Memorial Professor and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, provides comment in this piece on the U.S. opioid epidemic.

Stanford scholars discuss the benefits and risks of using talking software to address mental health

Stanford scholars Adam Miner, Arnold Milstein and Jeff Hancock examined the benefits and risks associated with this trend in a Sept. 21 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association. They discuss how technological advances now offer the capability for patients to have personal health discussions with devices like smartphones and digital assistants.

Case study: Stanford Medicine seeks to understand burnout through measurement

This piece chronicles Stanford Medicine's efforts to understand and combat physician burnout. Bryan Bohman, clinical professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine, and Mickey Trockel, clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, are mentioned here.  

Here’s why you need TV shows to fall asleep

Jamie Zeitzer, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, provides comment in this article on using TV shows as a sleep aid.

Brain scans may predict future abilities of kids with Fragile X syndrome

In new research, a Stanford-led team has shown that early brain scans may help answer future-oriented questions about children with fragile X syndrome, the most common genetic cause of developmental disabilities and autism. Allan Reiss, the Howard C. Robbins Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and a professor of radiology, and Jennifer Bruno, an instructor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, are quoted in this blog post.

Boosting physician wellness: Lessons from Stanford at Medicine X

A group of medical students, doctors and others met to discuss physician burnout during a small, informal workshop at Stanford Medicine X this past weekend. Marisa Albert, a program director at Stanford Children’s Health; Daniel Murphy, professor of pediatrics; Mickey Trockel, clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences; and Tait Shanafelt are mentioned in this post.

It’s a nationwide opioid epidemic: Do you know what’s in your pill cabinet?

Prescription painkillers that go unused or are not disposed of properly may contribute to the opioid epidemic by leaving them available for abuse by those who were not prescribed them. Keith Humphreys, the Esther Ting Memorial Professor and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, provides comment here.

Complicated: Big Marijuana

Keith Humphreys, the Esther Ting Memorial Professor and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is featured in this podcast that examines the effects of legalizing marijuana.  

How legalization caused the price of marijuana to collapse

In this piece, Keith Humphreys, discusses how legalization is dramatically lowering the cost of marijuana, allowing researchers to observe the correlation between price, legal status and consumption. Humphreys is  the Esther Ting Memorial Professor and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences

Fentanyl: The silent killer creeping into Australia

Deaths from fentanyl, a synthetic opiate drug which is a powerful painkiller and tranquilizer, are increasing in Australia. Keith Humphreys provides comment in this piece.

truth initiative: Business or Exploitation? | Mental Health

The truth Initiative interviewed Dr. Matthew Kendra, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and Dr. Jodi Prochaska, associate professor of medicine, here at Stanford for an ad campaign focused on the tobacco industry and people with mental disorders.  Watch the video for their interviews.

Trump and Tom Price are making it harder to combat opioid epidemic

This opinion piece co-authored by Keith Humphreys discusses how a repeal of the Affordable Care Act would significantly reduce funding to combat opioid abuse. Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

Ketamine is showing early success with treating OCD

In Tonic (VICE.com), Carolyn Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Translational Therapeutics/Rodriguez Lab at Stanford University, discusses the devastating effects of OCD in patient’s lives and her research understanding how ketamine brings about rapid improvement in OCD symptoms. For more coverage:

Depressed but can’t see a therapist? This chatbot could help

Chatbots that can listen, learn and teach cognitive behavioral therapy to humans may be an effective tool to improve mental health and increase accessibility to mental health services. Kathleen Kara Fitzpatrick, clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, who supervised a randomized control trial for one chatbot service, provides comment in this piece.

WV official: Emergency opioid declaration ‘step in the right direction’

This article explores what might happen if the federal government declares the opioid epidemic a national emergency. Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, provides comment.  

New study focuses on astrocytes in brain development

Researchers successfully cultivated a type of slow-maturing brain cell called an astrocyte in a dish. The work was led by Ben Barres, professor and chair of neurobiology, professor of developmental biology and of neurology and neurological sciences, and Sergiu Pasca, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.  For more coverage:

The federal government is systematically undercounting heroin users

In this piece, Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, examines why the federal government underestimates the number of heroin users.  

Dispatch form Lebanon: Refugee children need education, as well as health care

This blog post written by Laila Soudi addresses the urgent, growing humanitarian crisis to support children and adolescent Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. Soudi is a clinical research coordinator in psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

Rise in High-Risk Drinking a Public Health Crisis, New Study Finds

New research published in JAMA Psychiatry shows that rates of high-risk drinking and alcohol use disorder in the U.S. have increased substantially since 2001 and constitute a public health crisis. This segment explored what may be driving Americans to drink more, what treatments are most effective and who’s most at risk. Anna Lembke, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, was featured.

Suicide is much too common among U.S. physicians

In this piece, Nathaniel Morris, a resident in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, discusses the need for additional information about the prevalence of suicide among U.S. physicians.

‘I tried hypnotherapy to deal with my driving phobia – here’s what happened’

This piece references a 2016 Stanford study that showed distinct sections of the brain have altered activity and connectivity while someone is being hypnotized. David Spiegel, the Jack, Samuel and Lulu Willson Professor in Medicine and professor and associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, was the senior author of the research.

Combating California's Opioid Crisis

The current administration has declared the opioid crisis as a national emergency. This segment explored what that means for efforts to combat the epidemic in California where hospitals treat an opioid overdose once every 45 minutes. Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, was featured.

Allow California students the sleep they need

This editorial supports a proposal that requires California middle and high schools to adopt later start times, arguing that student performance and health should be the No. 1 priority. William Dement, the Lowell W. and Josephine Q. Berry Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emeritus, is quoted here.

Here’s what happens if Trump declares opioid abuse a national emergency

This piece considers the implications of declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency. Keith Humpreys provides comment here.

Study: Doctors from lower-ranked med schools prescribe more opioids

A new paper suggests that physician education could play a role in the opioid epidemic. Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, was not involved with the research but provides comment in this article.

Why it’s so much easier to get an opioid prescription in the US than in Europe or Japan

This article compares the growing opioid epidemic in the United States to opioid use in other countries. Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and Anna Lembke, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, provide comment here.  

Confronting a deadly opioid plague that demands more attention

As opioid fatalities are rising, solutions are needed to curtail the epidemic and treat addiction. Keith Humphreys is referenced here.

Prescription opioid epidemic coming to Australia

Opioid abuse in Australia is less widespread in the U.S. Here, Keith Humphreys urges Australians to implement policies to ward off an epidemic.  

Most drunken-driving programs focus on driving. This one worked because it focused on booze.

In this piece, Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, discusses the efficacy of “24/7 Sobriety” program in South Dakota.

Amid opioid crisis, some patients turn to tech alternatives

Anna Lembke, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, provides comment in this piece that examines the use of technology as an alternative to opioids for pain management.  

Carolyn Rodriguez Awarded Gerald R. Klerman Prize Honorable Mention from BBRF/NARSAD

Carolyn Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Translational Therapeutics/Rodriguez Lab at Stanford University, has received the Gerald R. Klerman Prize Honorable Mention for outstanding clinical research achievement from Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF). Dr. Rodriguez was honored for her research showing an experiment drug called rapastinel may have the potential to relive OCD symptoms quickly and with few side effects. To hear more about Dr. Rodriguez’s discovery, listen to BBRF’s Webinar “Toward Rapid Acting Treatments for OCD.”

The epidemic of sleep deprivation: A modern curse

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that more than one-third of the adult population in the U.S. sleeps less than the recommended minimum of 7 hours each night. Emmanuel During, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and of neurology and neurological sciences, discusses sleep deprivation in this post.

Doctors increasingly face charges for patient overdoses

Doctors are increasingly being held accountable when their patients overdose on opioid painkillers they prescribed. Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, provides comment in this article.

‘Psych wards’ aren’t what you think. I’ve seen lives saved there.

In this piece, Nathaniel Morris, a resident in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, addresses the stigmatization and negative stereotypes of inpatient psychiatric units.  

City Visions: Male brain, female brain

Guest host Grace Won explores the difference between the male and female brain, and why this difference matters. Data is emerging about the role of hormones in brain structure and behavior, with surprising implications for our understanding of gender and disease.  Nirao Shah, M.D., Ph.D. - Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences provides commentary.

New Technique Lets Researchers Watch Human Brain Circuits Begin to Wire-Up

Scientists have devised a new system that lets them watch human neurons grown in the lab find and form connections with their signaling partners, an essential process in developing human brains. The processing of “wiring up” is thought to go awry in a number of serious disorders, including autism, epilepsy and schizophrenia – but it’s hard to study.  The new technique, published May 4 in Nature, focused on the connections formed by cells called interneurons.  

NIMH Holds 9th Annual Julius Axelrod Symposium

This year’s Julius Axelrod Symposium was held to honor the recipient of the 2016 Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Julius Axelrod Prize, Dr. Robert Malenka. Over the last three decades, Malenka has made major discoveries that have laid the foundation for our understanding of the physiological properties, molecular mechanisms and functions of synaptic plasticity.  

Southern food festivals grapple with industry tilt toward sobriety

This article discusses how substance abuse is rampant in the food-and-beverage industry and how some popular food festivals are shifting toward sobriety-friendly activities for chefs. Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, provides comment.

Imaging reveals how well PTSD patients will respond to psychotherapy

Amit Etkin and his colleagues have measured brain activity in PTSD patients before and after psychotherapy and found that they could predict how well patients would respond to treatment. For more coverage:

Imaging Pinpoints Brain Circuits Changed by PTSD Therapy: Findings Can Help Target Treatment, Predict Outcomes

Why is it so hard to quit smoking?

This segment explored nicotine addiction and the reasons quitting is so challenging. Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is featured.

Revised GOP health bill doesn’t do enough to combat opioid epidemic, experts say

This article examines how health care policy changes could disproportionately hurt those addicted to opioids. Keith Humphreys is quoted here.

Oxytocin nasal spray may boost social skills in children with autism

Treatment with the hormone oxytocin improves social skills in some children with autism, suggest results from a small clinical trial. The results appeared today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesDr. Karen Parker discusses the findings in the article.

Lynn Koegel, who developed prominent autism therapy, to join Stanford

Lynn Koegel, who developed an early intervention for autism that taps children’s own motivations, will begin work at the School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford on July 1. Antonio Hardan, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, chief of child and adolescent psychiatry and director of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic at Packard, is quoted in this announcement.

Sleep issues tied to more suicidal symptoms in high-risk young adults

Sleep disturbances in young adults at risk for suicide can be a warning sign of worsening suicidal thoughts and behavior, according to new Stanford research. Senior author Rebecca Bernert, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is quoted here and in an article from Medical News Today.  For more coverage:

Disturbed sleep might worsen suicidal thoughts

More than half of opioids prescribed to people with mood disorders

A new study has found more than half of opioid prescriptions are written for people with mood disorders including anxiety and depression, even though people with these disorders are more at risk for misusing opioids. Anna Lembke, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, was not involved with the study but provides comment in this piece, which originally appeared on STAT News.

Can new technologies really help us get a better night's sleep?

Clete Kushida, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and medical director of the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center, discussed this and the current state of sleep during this segment.

Stanford Mental Health Innovation Challenge

The June 2017 Stanford Mental Health Innovation Challenge (SMHIC), a two-day event for incoming tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders, brought together approximately 90 teens from more than 20 different high schools throughout San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The “hackathon-style” design sprint was aimed at deepening participants’ understanding of the mental health challenges that affect San Mateo and Santa Clara counties while developing innovative ideas to tackle these issues.

Important expression of appreciation and announcement: Chief, Division of Sleep Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Dr. Clete Kushida has assumed responsibility as Chief of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Division of Sleep Medicine, effective May 1, 2017.  For more of the announcement from Dr. Laura Roberts, please visit the link above.

Mini-brains bare tortuous trek of cells in Timothy syndrome

A new technique for building a ‘brain in dish’ reveals how neurons move to their proper places during fetal development — and how that process may go awry in people with a genetic condition linked to autism.  Dr. Sergiu Pasca is featured in this article.

Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly

This segment explored California start-ups delivering medical marijuana directly to customers. Anna Lembke, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, was featured.

Forward to 19:20 for the coverage.

Drug policies & neuroscience

Legal and illegal drugs are killing more people than AIDS, yet U.S. drug policies are based on unproven assumptions about addiction. Stanford researchers say neuroscience findings could guide more effective policies and save lives.  Dr. Rob Malenka and Dr. Keith Humphreys are featured.

Addiction experts say GOP proposal to replace Medicaid spending won’t help

Repealing the Affordable Care Act and cutting funding to Medicaid could worsen the opioid epidemic in the United States. Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is quoted in this article.

Why plummeting public support for the death penalty doesn’t mean it’s going away

Support for capital punishment is at a four-decade low among the American public and most states have abandoned the practice. However, it remains a key part of the criminal justice system in a handful of states, Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, writes in this post.  

A new doctor discovers the ‘gritty’ downside of modern medicine

In this piece, Nathaniel Morris, a resident in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, reflects on the downside of modern medicine —  not enough time for patients and too much time with electronic records and insurance requirements.

The podcast that puts you to sleep on purpose

Rafael Pelayo, clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, provides comment in this article about a podcast designed to treat insomnia.

Virtual reality can help alleviate pain

This article explores the use of virtual reality as a pain management treatment. Kim Bullock, clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is featured here.

More people are voluntarily seeking help for marijuana addiction 

As marijuana is increasingly decriminalized and mandatory addiction treatment is decreasing, evidence suggests that more people are voluntarily seeking treatment, Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, writes in this post.

California law spurs reforms after heartbreaking student suicide cluster

Shashank Joshi, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is quoted in this article about suicide prevention policies in California.

Irregular sleep tied to worse grades

New research shows that healthy sleep patterns correlate with better grades for college students. Rafael Pelayo, clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, who was not involved in the research, provides comment in this article.

The opioid epidemic is making the fight against HIV more difficult

Many regions hit hardest by the opioid epidemic are also increasingly affected by HIV, Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, writes in this post. At a summit today, public health experts will discuss the relationship between addiction and infectious disease and strategies to combat them both.

Pursuing parity: A new generation of female faculty is gathering data on why there should be more of them

This is a recent article in the spring issue of Stanford Medicine magazine about efforts to address gender disparities in academic medicine. The article features Laura Roberts, the Katharine Dexter McCormick and Stanley McCormick Memorial Professor and chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

Ketamine: Fresh hope for the treatment of OCD

In this 1:2:1 podcast, Carolyn Rodriguez, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, discusses her recent research on the use of ketamine by patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. She is working to determine why, in studies, the drug has provided relief from symptoms. Paul Costello, the medical school’s chief communications officer, is host. For more coverage:

Inside the heads of men and women: A look at sex-based cognitive differences

This post highlights a recent article in the spring issue of Stanford Medicine magazine that explores the cognitive differences between men and women. The article features Nirao Shah, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and of neurobiology. For more coverage:

Even small opioid dosages can lead to misuse

Many studies have focused on how surgery and chronic pain conditions lead to prescription opioid abuse. But even smaller, shorter doses of opioids carry risks. Anna Lembke, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, provides comment in this article.

Doctor depression, suicide slowly coming out of shadows

Nathaniel Morris, a resident in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is quoted in this piece that addresses physician suicide and the persistent stigma surrounding mental health struggles.

What it is truly like for women doctors: A Stanford resident shares stories of gender in medicine

This blog post highlights a recent Huffington Post piece in which Jessica Gold, resident in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, introduces a new series of essays addressing sexism in medicine.

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