Friday, December 13, 2013

APA Hosts Congressional Briefing on Schizophrenia Research

Yesterday on Capitol Hill, APA, along with the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus and the American Brain Coalition, hosted a briefing titled, “Update on Schizophrenia: Applying Science, Stopping the Stigma, Improving Lives,” which highlighted the latest research on treatments for schizophrenia.

“As we struggle to adequately address mental health in this country, it’s essential that Congress have better understanding of the causes and consequences of schizophrenia and address the associated stigma," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), co-chair of the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus. "Only through research and collaboration by groups like the National Institute of Mental Health and the many members of the American Psychiatric Association can we find the proper ways to improve the lives of those who suffer from this disease through early action."

Schizophrenia experts at the briefing included APA President Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D., who discussed the link between psychiatry and neuroscience and how it may lead to the development of diagnostic tests to help predict the likelihood of schizophrenia episodes in those at greatest risk. Lisa Dixon, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Center for Practice Innovations at Columbia University, discussed her research in the National Institute of Mental Health-funded study, Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE), a project trying to reduce the long-term disability that can result from schizophrenia so that people with the disease may lead productive and independent lives. Laurie Flynn, former executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and parent of an adult child with schizophrenia, addressed the challenges of securing services for a loved one from the family’s perspective, including the limits of current treatment options and financial burdens.

APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., who moderated the briefing, emphasized that “the cost of mental illness in the U.S. is some $99 billion each year, and scientific advances such as those presented today have the potential to greatly enhance patient care as well as reduce future health care expenditures.”

To read more about the briefing click here. For more information on schizophrenia and recent research, see the Psychiatric News article "‘60 Minutes’ Interviews APA President on Schizophrenia."


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