Brain Matters
Blog

On October 29, 2021, we held our International Mental Health Research Virtual Symposium.

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ADVICE ON MENTAL HEALTH: Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

While affecting millions of American adults, personality disorders (PDs) are infrequently discussed. Our Q&A with BBRF grantee Dr. Anthony Ruocco, focuses on the most prevalent PD, borderline personality disorder (BPD). He helps clarify its symptoms, explains what research suggests about it biological underpinnings, and offers advice about treatments.

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Rethinking Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders (EDs) are among the most prevalent psychiatric disorders yet also among the most misunderstood. Dr. Cynthia Bulik, a BBRF Distinguished Investigator, explains her research indicating that anorexia nervosa, the most deadly ED, is also a disorder of the body's metabolic system. This research, which may also be extended to other EDs, is leading to new treatment ideas.

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ADVICE ON MENTAL HEALTH: What Research Tells Us About Cannabis Use — And What Parents Should Consider

The trend to legalize cannabis is not yet accompanied by a solid body of research that would assure the parents of an adolescent, for example, that the use of cannabis from an early age is harmless. Indeed, some recent research suggests that at least some young users may be at considerable mental health risk if they regularly ingest high-potency cannabis. Dr. Martin Paulus, a researcher and expert on how substance use affects the brain, explains what we know and don't know, and offers advice for parents of adolescents.

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Highly Individualized Deep-Brain Stimulation Helps a Patient With Severe Treatment-Resistant Depression

We write about a novel idea to address brain-based disorders that has moved from theory to bedside in only 3 years. Called closed-loop neuromodulation, it involves using electrical stimulation—delivered via an implanted deep-brain stimulation (DBS) device—at a precise location in the brain. The stimulation occurs intermittently throughout each day for only seconds at a time, and only at moments when a sensor placed in another part of the brain detects a specific EEG brain-wave pattern linked with the onset of a patient’s depressed moods.  In its first clinical test, a treatment-resistant patient experienced a remission.

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