Leading Stories, Articles

March 1st, 2010

Increased data connects food and cognitive behavior

By Jennifer E Chase

“Tell me what you eat, I’ll tell you who you are.” When epicurean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote that statement in 1826, he didn’t mean he could literally divine who you were based on what you cooked, but he did imply that what we consume bears on our well being. His inference became the de facto maxim for anyone believing good health requires good food. Today, research is making his “you are what you eat” mantra as much about eating’s effects on our mental health as on our bodies, linking the potential for altering our moods by altering our foods. “I have [More]

March 1st, 2010

Homeless assistance programs are funded again

By Pamela Berard

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) renewed millions in grant funding for homeless assistance programs throughout New England. The funding, announced at the end of December, was part of nearly $1.4 billion to support 6,400 existing programs nationwide through HUD’s Continuum of Care programs. HUD provided the renewal grants to local programs to prevent any interruption in federal assistance. This was the first time HUD announced the renewal and new grants separately, so as not to delay funding to the existing programs. HUD’s Continuum of Care grants are awarded competitively and provide permanent and transitional housing to [More]

March 1st, 2010

APA president outlines priorities for 2010

By Ami Albernaz

Like most assuming a leadership post, Carol D. Goodheart, Ed.D., the relatively new president of the American Psychological Association, has a big agenda. In 2010, she hopes to help devise a useful framework for evaluating psychological service outcomes and to bring awareness to and develop resources for family caregivers. She is testing out a Wiki platform that will help psychologists more easily locate useful resources and even plans to add a few friendly touches to this year’s APA convention, including a “bring-the-family” event and collaborative workshops. A former nurse and longtime health psychologist who lives and practices in Princeton, N.J., [More]

March 1st, 2010

Psychologist/author spotlights hope

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Hope – it’s one of those words that brings to mind different ideas for different people. There are many definitions of hope – from blind faith to a wish for something better, to a certainty that everything will work out for the best. A strictly human emotion, hope is the ability to see a better future, to see a path out of darkness, and, as such, is key to an individual’s survival. For Anthny Scioli, Ph.D., a professor of clinical psychology at Keene State College and member of the graduate faculty at the University of Rhode Island, hope is so [More]

March 1st, 2010

Treating Substance Use Disorders with Adaptive Continuing Care

By James K Luiselli EdD ABPP BCBA-D

Treating Substance Use Disorders with Adaptive Continuing Care By James R. McKay American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2009  Book’s focus will resonate with scientist-practitioners Reviewed By James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D Some people who have substance use disorders (alcohol and drugs) respond positively to brief therapeutic intervention. However, other people are not able to sustain sobriety without intensive long-term treatment. As psychologist James R. McKay states in the introduction to his book, “There is now widespread acceptance that addiction is often a chronic problem characterized by increased vulnerability to relapse that can persist over many years.” McKay wrote the [More]

March 1st, 2010

A tribute to my colleagues

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

For the past several months, I’ve been writing about the impact of the closing of Westborough State Hospital on the lives of patients and staff. It is much too early to know the effect of this event on the grand variables that measure the success or failure of our public policy, of individual discharge plans or of the men and women living with the challenges of mental illness. Yet, as the hospital closes around us, every day brings evidence of our collective human response to uncertainty, change, loss and opportunity. A recent retirement celebration for five staff social workers gave [More]

February 1st, 2010

Surgeries for OCD risky, but offer hope

By Ami Albernaz

For Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder patients who have exhausted all other treatment options, surgery offers great potential and poses great risk. For doctors shepherding along the precarious surgical procedures, successfully balancing the possible risks and rewards for patients will likely determine the future course of the work. Surgery has allowed some OCD sufferers to live a more normal life – to attend college, to travel, to rebuild relationships with family and friends. Yet for others, the side effects can be severe: memory deficits, edema, even seizure disorder. (In many cases, the side effects disappear in time). “We go out of our way [More]

February 1st, 2010

Proposed changes to Vt. legislation address mental health issues

By Phyllis Hanlon

Vermont’s Department of Mental Health (DMH) has proposed some legislative changes in hopes of expediting and simplifying processes involving individuals with mental health issues. One of the existing laws allows voluntary admission for individuals under the age of 14 if they give written consent with the understanding that they will become inpatients and are doing so under no duress. DMH Commissioner Michael Hartman reports some misuse of this practice. “We were seeing situations where six-year olds were signing consent,” he says. “I was given a copy of a consent signed with a crayon.” DMH is suggesting that individuals under the [More]

February 1st, 2010

Stimulus money will fund Rhode Island Early Head Start

By Elinor Nelson

The most vulnerable population in R.I. is about to get a leg up – or at least a tiny percentage of them will. Federal stimulus money totaling $1.6 million will be funding an expansion of R.I.’s Early Head Start program, which will provide for the program to serve another 80 families. But, that still leaves more than 90 percent of R.I.’s most impoverished infants and toddlers without these services. But for those recipients, Early Head Start offers a range of services that can make a difference for a struggling family. “Research shows positive outcomes for these families,” says Rhonda Farrell, [More]

February 1st, 2010

Study shows potential to re-write emotional memory

By Nan Shnitzler

In a new study, researchers have manipulated the brain’s own memory process to extinguish fear. In a series of experiments using only colored squares and skin shocks, a team from New York University and the University of Texas induced a fearful memory and then erased it. Participants remained free of the specific fear memory for at least a year. “It’s the first evidence that emotional memories in humans can be affected without drugs. That’s why it’s so exciting,” says Daniela Schiller, Ph.D., of New York University’s Center for Neural Science and Psychology Department, lead author of the study that appeared [More]