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University of Iowa researchers have discovered a new form of neurotransmission that influences the long-lasting memory created by addictive drugs, like cocaine and opioids, and the subsequent craving for these drugs of abuse. Loss of this type of neurotransmission creates changes in brains cells that resemble the changes caused by drug addiction.
A University of Iowa study confirms that pathological gambling runs in families and shows that first-degree relatives of pathological gamblers are eight times more likely to develop this problem in their lifetime than relatives of people without pathological gambling.
Scientists probing the link between depression and a hormone that controls hunger have found that the hormone's antidepressant activity is due to its ability to protect newborn neurons in a part of the brain that controls mood, memory, and complex eating behaviors. Moreover, the researchers also showed that a new class of neuroprotective molecules achieves the same effect by working in the same part of the brain, and may thus represent a powerful new approach for treating depression.
Over the past few years, the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine has sponsored two groups to participate in this innovative program. Four of the six members of the second group (pictured above), who just completed the program in January, were from the Department of Psychiatry: Drs. Alison Lynch, Jennifer McWilliams, and Carolyn Turvey and Betsy Hradek, an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner. Garen Carpenter, Interim Chief of Staff with hospital administration, was the fifth member of this group.
It's a key step in raising awareness of cultural psychiatry. Dr. Nicole del Castillo works in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at UI Hospitals and Clinics. Beginning in 2011, she earned the honor of being a member of the Minority Fellowship Program courtesy of the American Psychiatric Association (APA)/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Eating disorders take many different forms, impacting lives in unique ways. Thankfully, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics offers individualized care supporting the needs of anyone on the journey through their eating disorder struggle.
There is good evidence from studies of families and twins that genetics plays an important role in the development of alcoholism. However, hundreds of genes likely are involved in this complex disorder, with each variant contributing only a very small effect. Thus, identifying individual risk genes is difficult.
Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia often run in families, but identifying specific genes that increase a person's risk for these complex disorders has proved difficult. Now scientists from the University of Iowa and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have discovered—by studying the genetics of two families severely affected by eating disorders—two gene mutations, one in each family, that are associated with increased risk of developing eating disorders.
Internationally recognized UI Health Care schizophrenia expert, Nancy Andreasen, MD, PhD, recently published important new findings in the American Journal of Psychiatry in an article titled Relapse duration, treatment intensity, and brain tissue loss in schizophrenia: a prospective longitudinal MRI study. This study confirmed serious implications for antipsychotic dosing in the treatment of schizophrenia, and also warns of potential repercussions of antipsychotic use in treatment of other psychiatric disorders.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a slow-progressing neurological illness for which there is currently no treatment or cure. HD is one of few heritable diseases that inevitably follow a very basic, autosomal-dominant genetic pattern.