Stanford Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Stanford Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences The Stanford Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences has a great tradition of fundamental science, translational and clinical research, subspecialty expertise, multidisciplinary education, and influential leadership.

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Mission: Advancing Science | Clinical Innovation & Service | Educational Excellence | Community Commitment & Engagement | Professionalism & Leadership Our mission is to enable great science, prepare great people, and inspire a great society to create a better future for all whose lives are affected by mental illness as well as neurodevelopmental and behavioral conditions. This overarching goal is predicated on our shared pursuit of discovery across the basic, translational, clinical, and population sciences - and our collaborative efforts to translate new knowledge in our training of scientists and subspecialist clinicians, in supporting the careers of outstanding faculty and learners, and in addressing the needs of communities, local and global.

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A new JAMA Psychiatry study shows the correlation between the integrity of brain white matter and heavy alcohol use amon...
02/04/2021
Heavy alcohol consumption produces 'deleterious' effects on adolescents' white matter

A new JAMA Psychiatry study shows the correlation between the integrity of brain white matter and heavy alcohol use among adolescents. Stanford Psychiatry's Qingyu Zhao, a co-author on the paper, appears in this Healio article.

Heavy alcohol consumption during adolescence appeared associated with deleterious effects on white matter microstructural integrity, according to results of a case-control study published in JAMA Psychiatry. “Widespread [fractional anisotropy] alteration has been observed in adolescents who in...

What is the meaning of healthy? That's what Cosmopolitan UK is trying to answer. Watch this segment to hear from Stanfor...
02/03/2021
Magazine cover starts conversation about true meaning of ‘healthy’

What is the meaning of healthy? That's what Cosmopolitan UK is trying to answer. Watch this segment to hear from Stanford Psychiatry's Sarah Adler about the physiological components behind health.

The United Kingdom’s edition of Cosmopolitan magazine highlights 11 women on “personal journeys to reclaim healthy as their own.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on our mental health, including our ability to focus and be productive. Stanford ...
02/01/2021
7 Strategies to Try If You're Struggling to Work from Home

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on our mental health, including our ability to focus and be productive. Stanford Psychiatry's Francesco Dandekar and Ripal Shah offer advice in this Healthline article.

Try not to beat yourself up if you’re struggling.

In history, there have been times that rival the hardship of 2020 — even if it doesn't feel that way. "This is the worst...
01/29/2021
Is 2020 the worst year ever?

In history, there have been times that rival the hardship of 2020 — even if it doesn't feel that way. "This is the worst year in many people's own experience, in their personal recollection," says Stanford Psychiatry's Mickey Trockel in Redwood City Climate Magazine.

By Elizabeth Sloan Remember the day the sky turned orange? Across the Bay Area Sept. 9, the sun disappeared, temperatures dropped, and it got dark—really d

Looking for a podcast? Check out Stanford Medicine's Best of 2020 series, featuring episodes with Stanford Psychiatry's ...
01/27/2021
Best of 2020: Stanford Medicine's top podcasts - Scope

Looking for a podcast? Check out Stanford Medicine's Best of 2020 series, featuring episodes with Stanford Psychiatry's Keith Humphreys, Anna Lembke and Rafael Pelayo.

In 2020, contributing editor Paul Costello’s top podcasts reflect the challenges of the coronavirus and other timely health care issues.

Want to win at WFH? First, get dressed in an outfit that makes you feel confident. In this Fast Company article, Stanfor...
01/25/2021
3 essential routines you need for a more productive, less stressful 2021

Want to win at WFH? First, get dressed in an outfit that makes you feel confident. In this Fast Company article, Stanford Brainstorm Director Nina Vasan discusses the concept of "enclothed cognition."

Use the start of the year as an opportunity to create new routines that will energize you, elevate your performance, and remove stress from your workday.

Among doctors, depression is more likely than burnout to drive suicidal ideation, research finds. Stigma around mental i...
01/22/2021
When doctors ponder suicide, depression—not burnout—is key driver

Among doctors, depression is more likely than burnout to drive suicidal ideation, research finds. Stigma around mental illness "likely exacerbates the barriers faced by physicians," says Stanford Psychiatry's Nikitha Menon, lead author on the study.

Every suicide is a tragedy. Learn more with the AMA about which factors are most strongly associated to suicidal ideation among physicians.

Why and when student-athletes use social media, rather than how much, has a greater influence on their mental health, ac...
01/15/2021
Context, not screen time, is a better predictor of well-being among student-athletes | WSU Insider | Washington State University

Why and when student-athletes use social media, rather than how much, has a greater influence on their mental health, according to a survey. Stanford Psychiatry's Kelli Moran-Miller, a co-investigator on the study, provides comment in this article.

Why and when students-athletes use social media, rather than how much, has a greater influence on their mental health, according to one of the first wide-scale surveys of social media engagement and well-being in college athletes.

Many people twitch — it's known as a "hypnic jerk" — as they fall asleep. Though there isn't much research on the topic,...
01/15/2021
Sleep Expert Explains Why Your Body Jerks When You Fall Asleep

Many people twitch — it's known as a "hypnic jerk" — as they fall asleep. Though there isn't much research on the topic, Stanford Psychiatry's Rafael Pelayo says that it has to do with the wakefulness of the nervous system.

Lots of people feel their bodies twitch or jerk as they fall asleep and now we know why.

Just one all-nighter can have effects on your health. "People are really bad at estimating how sleep deprivation impacts...
01/14/2021
7 things you need to know before you pull an all-nighter

Just one all-nighter can have effects on your health. "People are really bad at estimating how sleep deprivation impacts their function," Stanford Psychiatry's Andrea Goldstein-Piekarski says.

There are health effects from missing only one night of sleep. Inverse spoke to the experts about whether it is possible to miss a night of sleep safely.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian honored two Stanford Medicine faculty members with supervisor's medals for th...
01/13/2021
County supervisor honors two faculty members for work during COVID-19 pandemic

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian honored two Stanford Medicine faculty members with supervisor's medals for their work during COVID-19. Congrats to Stanford Psychiatry's Steven Adelsheim and colleague Yvonne Maldonado. Thank you for your important work!

Infectious disease expert Yvonne Maldonado and psychiatrist Steven Adelsheim were awarded service medals by Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian.

Meal composition and timing can have an impact on energy during overnight shifts for medical residents. "Nutrition affec...
01/12/2021
Resident physicians: Your diet can help you make it through the night

Meal composition and timing can have an impact on energy during overnight shifts for medical residents. "Nutrition affects our cognition, particularly when we are sleep deprived," Stanford Psychiatry's Maryam Makowski says.

Meal composition and timing can have an impact on cognitive performance and energy during overnight shifts for medical residents. Learn more with the AMA.

A survey showed that sleep deprivation and sleep-related impairment are high among medical residents. The findings send ...
01/11/2021
Physician Sleep Deprivation Linked to Serious Medical Errors

A survey showed that sleep deprivation and sleep-related impairment are high among medical residents. The findings send a vital message to the field of medicine and those who are responsible for training new physicians, says Stanford Psychiatry's Mickey Trockel.

Sleep deprivation in physicians is linked to an increased risk for clinically significant medical errors, with more errors occurring in association with increased sleep deprivation.

Research from a Stanford Medicine team using stem cells could enable scientists to better understand neurological disord...
01/08/2021
Stanford scientists assemble human nerve circuit driving voluntary movement

Research from a Stanford Medicine team using stem cells could enable scientists to better understand neurological disorders that affect movement. Stanford Psychiatry's Sergiu Pasca and the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute at Stanford University are featured in this article.

A Stanford Medicine team used human stem cells to assemble a working nerve circuit connecting brain tissue to muscle tissue. The research could enable scientists to better understand neurological disorders that affect movement.

We're incredibly proud of the remarkable accomplishments of our faculty, and we're looking to grow. Visit https://stan.m...
01/06/2021

We're incredibly proud of the remarkable accomplishments of our faculty, and we're looking to grow. Visit https://stan.md/2Seo5X8 for a list of current openings in our distinguished department.

After being inspired by a Stanford University course, four graduates teamed up to tackle important deficiencies in menta...
01/06/2021
Reimagining mental healthcare from the ground up - Stanford Today

After being inspired by a Stanford University course, four graduates teamed up to tackle important deficiencies in mental healthcare while expanding access and reducing costs. Stanford Psychiatry's Ronald Albucher provides comment in this article.

After being inspired by a Stanford course, four graduates teamed up to tackle important deficiencies in mental healthcare while expanding access and reducing costs.

A new tool, designed by Stanford Psychiatry's Karl Deisseroth and colleagues, fills a need in neuroscience. It's called ...
01/05/2021
New tool for watching and controlling neural activity

A new tool, designed by Stanford Psychiatry's Karl Deisseroth and colleagues, fills a need in neuroscience. It's called FLiCRE and can be sent inside any cell to perform a variety of research tasks, including tagging, recording and controlling cellular functions.

An interdisciplinary team of scientists has created a new molecular tool to help us better understand the cellular basis of behavior.

Stanford Psychiatry's Mickey Trockel is senior author on a paper in JAMA Network Open, which looks at the associations b...
01/04/2021
Depression, Not Burnout, Associated With Greater Suicidal Ideation in Physicians

Stanford Psychiatry's Mickey Trockel is senior author on a paper in JAMA Network Open, which looks at the associations between physician depression, burnout, medical errors and suicidal ideation.

Depression, but not burnout, appears to be associated with greater suicidal ideation in U.S. physicians, according to a study in JAMA Netw...

Looking after a loved one can be both rewarding and stressful. Stanford Psychiatry's Dolores Gallagher-Thompson and coll...
01/04/2021
Self-care for caregivers

Looking after a loved one can be both rewarding and stressful. Stanford Psychiatry's Dolores Gallagher-Thompson and colleague Amy Yotopoulos discuss the importance of self-care for caregivers in this Stanford Medicine podcast.

The physical and emotional demands of caring for a loved one demonstrate a deep commitment, and can be a very rewarding. It is also extremely stressful. Caregivers can experience high rates chronic i

Teen social media use has increased during COVID-19, but it's not necessarily unhealthy. "Many older adolescents have ad...
12/31/2020
Living Life Online: Adolescent Mental Health and Social Media - Psychiatry Advisor

Teen social media use has increased during COVID-19, but it's not necessarily unhealthy. "Many older adolescents have adopted strategies to manage their mental health and balance their usage," says Stanford Psychiatry's Vicki Harrison.

Providers should be aware of the multitude of stressors that adolescents are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social media may also play a role.

We're honored to work alongside so many talented, dedicated coworkers. As the year comes to a close, we want to congratu...
12/30/2020

We're honored to work alongside so many talented, dedicated coworkers. As the year comes to a close, we want to congratulate the faculty and trainees who received awards during 2020! Among the honorees were:

Meenakshi Shivaram who was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society,

Nina Vasan who received the Award for Excellence in Promotion of Learning Environment & Student Wellness from the MD Program Teaching Awards Student Selection Committee of Stanford Medicine,

And Iona Machado and Lisa Ekeanyanwu who received the Fellowship Award from the Association of Women Psychiatrists!

Congratulations!

Many factors affect the quality of your sleep, and now that list includes the environment, experts say. "Climate change ...
12/29/2020
How climate change could chip away at sleep health

Many factors affect the quality of your sleep, and now that list includes the environment, experts say. "Climate change was not … on our radar," says Stanford Psychiatry's Rafael Pelayo in STAT. "I think it should be now."

Some experts predict that heat-related disruptions to sleep will likely get worse in the years to come as nighttime temperatures rise.

Throughout COVID-19, some people have experienced more tension at home. It's hard to reflect on conflict in the moment, ...
12/28/2020
COVID-19 And Anger Go Hand In Hand

Throughout COVID-19, some people have experienced more tension at home. It's hard to reflect on conflict in the moment, but after, "what always helps is to have a pair of helpful ears which can follow our story," says Stanford Psychiatry's Hans Steiner.

Growing evidence suggests COVID-19 is putting stress on interpersonal relationships.

The work we do at Stanford Psychiatry informs clinical practices, systems of care and health policy to reduce disability...
12/23/2020

The work we do at Stanford Psychiatry informs clinical practices, systems of care and health policy to reduce disability, loss of life and stigma. Interested in working with us? Visit https://stan.md/2Seo5X8 for a list of faculty openings!

Each year, we're so proud of our colleagues and the work they've accomplished, but this year, it's a little extra inspir...
12/22/2020

Each year, we're so proud of our colleagues and the work they've accomplished, but this year, it's a little extra inspiring. Join us in congratulating some of the faculty and trainees who have received honors and awards this year. Among them are:

Robert Maleka, who received the V. Sagar Sethi, M.D., Mental Health Research Award from the NC Psychiatric Association,

Neir Eshel, who received the 2020 Bridge to Independence Award from the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative,

Amy Alexander who received the MMI Traditional Interviewer Appreciation Award from the Stanford Medicine Office of Medical Degree Admissions,

And Margaret May who received the 2020 Early Career Development Award from the Association for Academic Psychiatry!

Congratulations to all the award recipients!

People with generalized anxiety disorder can experience a heightened state of fear much of the time. That means that whe...
12/21/2020
Why people with anxiety do so well during a crisis, according to a psychologist

People with generalized anxiety disorder can experience a heightened state of fear much of the time. That means that when there's a real threat, they are "already primed to expend energy to take care of it," says Stanford Psychiatry's Sarah Adler.

My sisters and I called home as soon as we saw my mom’s text that my dad’s fever had spiked. Both our parents had recently tested positive for COVID-19. My dad was so tired, he could barely speak — a possible sign of dangerously low blood oxygen…

Employees have endured a lot this year and untraditional, COVID-19-safe holiday parties aim to thank them. "I have been ...
12/18/2020
Getting Creative for the 2020 Office Holiday Party

Employees have endured a lot this year and untraditional, COVID-19-safe holiday parties aim to thank them. "I have been giving mental health talks for large employers and they're ... saying employee morale is lower than ever," says Stanford Brainstorm Director Nina Vasan.

Because yet another Google hangout is not going to cut it.

Are you putting up holiday decorations early this year? It could be good for your health. "Putting up things that are co...
12/16/2020
Already decorating for the holidays? Psychologists explain how it can relieve stress amid pandemic

Are you putting up holiday decorations early this year? It could be good for your health. "Putting up things that are colorful, things that smell good" gives off a dopamine hit —the feel-good neurotransmitter, says Stanford Psychiatry's Sarah Adler.

HAVE YOU STARTED? People seem to be putting up their decorations early this year, which psychologists believe is a manifestation of the stress and social isolation the pandemic has created. They say there's science to support that the bright colors, familiar smells and nostalgia create happiness in....

Through all of the challenges of 2020, the Stanford Psychiatry faculty and trainees have continued to amaze us with thei...
12/15/2020

Through all of the challenges of 2020, the Stanford Psychiatry faculty and trainees have continued to amaze us with their work. Help us celebrate the award recipients throughout winter break! This year, among the honorees were:

Jason Tucciarone, who was awarded a Psychotherapy Fellowship at the American Psychoanalytic Association,

Ryan Ash, who received the 2020 Outstanding Resident Award from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Csilla Lippert, who received the Award for Excellence in Psychotherapy from Austen Riggs Center,

And Nolan Williams and Alexander Urban, who received 2020 Bipolar Research Awards from One Mind!

Congratulations, all!

Of the 489 AAAS - The American Association for the Advancement of Science fellows named this year, six are from Stanford...
12/14/2020
Six named AAAS Fellows from Stanford and SLAC | The Dish

Of the 489 AAAS - The American Association for the Advancement of Science fellows named this year, six are from Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory! Congrats to Stanford Psychiatry's Nirao Shah, honored for "exceptional contributions to the field of behavioral neuroscience."

Six researchers from Stanford and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in recognition of their “scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.” 489 AAAS Fellows...

We are thrilled to celebrate the Stanford Psychiatry faculty who are among the world's most highly cited researchers in ...
12/11/2020
2020 Top Cited

We are thrilled to celebrate the Stanford Psychiatry faculty who are among the world's most highly cited researchers in 2020. Congrats to Robert Malenka, Michael Greicius, Amit Etkin, Lief Fenno, Vinod Menon, Thomas Sudhof and Karl Deisseroth! This accomplishment is a testament to the ongoing breadth, scope & impact of their work.

In the late 1800s, prominent forensic psychiatrist Allan McLane Hamilton, MD, was a proponent of using nitrous oxide for...
12/11/2020
Nitrous Oxide and Alexander Hamilton’s Grandson

In the late 1800s, prominent forensic psychiatrist Allan McLane Hamilton, MD, was a proponent of using nitrous oxide for diagnostics and therapeutics. Stanford Psychiatry's Matthew Edwards writes about that history, as well as current research, in Psychiatric Times.

A prominent forensic psychiatrist and the grandson of founding father Alexander Hamilton, Allan McLane Hamilton, MD, was a proponent for the use of nitrous oxide for diagnostic and therapeutic use.

Fentanyl has been killing more people on the West Coast than before — sometimes because users don't realize the substanc...
12/10/2020
Street Fentanyl Surges In Western U.S., Leading To Thousands Of Deaths

Fentanyl has been killing more people on the West Coast than before — sometimes because users don't realize the substances are contaminated. "You think you're using [a different drug], but it's actually fentanyl," Stanford Psychiatry's Chelsea Shover says.

New research shows the use of the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl spreading fast in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Seattle. Chinese companies are routing the street drug through cartels in Mexico.

After a suicide cluster in Palo Alto, the community jumped into action to support young people. In Rocky Mountain PBS, S...
12/10/2020
Learning Through Loss

After a suicide cluster in Palo Alto, the community jumped into action to support young people. In Rocky Mountain PBS, Stanford Psychiatry's Shashank Joshi, Steven Adelsheim and Vicki Harrison discuss the self-harm prevention work they're doing across the state of California, including allcove walk-in centers for youth.

How two communities found solutions when faced with teen suicide clusters

To combat the emotional toll of COVID-19, Stanford Psychiatry's Victor Carrion created a program to teach psychological ...
12/08/2020
Weathering the mental health strains of a global pandemic - Scope

To combat the emotional toll of COVID-19, Stanford Psychiatry's Victor Carrion created a program to teach psychological first aid skills to frontline mental health workers. Shaili Jain is also quoted in this Stanford Medicine article.

More than a third of U.S. adults have had symptoms of anxiety and depression during the global pandemic, so Stanford experts are figuring out how to help.

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I have tremendous respect for Stanford’s Department of Psychiatry and the research and care they provide for patients. As a world renowned resource for patients and community psychiatrists in need of an expert second opinion or consultation, I have to say how disappointed I am in the response my family received from Stanford Psychiatry a few weeks ago when seeking a second opinion consultation for my 78 year old uncle who developed seemingly rapid onset severe depression with delusions 18 months ago. His community psychiatrist has been working with him since it began with a hospitalization, medication and ECT therapy with very limited success. He then made a referral to Stanford as an expert consultation is greatly needed. After waiting two months for a response, I received a call from an intake coordinator informing me that they could not provide a consultation for my uncle, as they are overwhelmed with patients in the Stanford system and cannot consult in any patients outside Of their system. My uncle lives in the East Bay and has insurance AND his psychiatrist is in Stanford’s Community network. I understand that Covid has stretched and taxed all health systems but what is the point of having an academic research organization say they can’t consult on a complicated patient whose community psychiatrist has exhausted all traditional means of treatment with very limited success? My fear is that he may face another hospitalization if we cannot get a better understanding of what his diagnosis really is and what else may help him.
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