Media Coverage

BestLife cites a UB study showing depressed children with asthma had imbalanced activity in their autonomic nervous system. The story quotes Bruce D. Miller, MD, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics, an author of the study.
An article about new funding to UB’s Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions (CRIA) to examine the possible role of alcohol use disorders in exacerbating the risk of problems with opioid use interviews Kenneth E. Leonard, PhD, professor of psychiatry and director of the CRIA. The research will help determine whether a percentage probability can be assigned for opioid misuse in the alcohol use disorder population, based on certain factors, he said.
Kenneth E. Leonard, PhD, director of UB’s Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions and research professor of psychiatry, was interviewed about a faith-based program in Tennessee to retrain workers for new jobs and new lives after prison and addiction. Leonard said spirituality can help those trying to overcome addiction, but you “can’t just pray these problems away.” “We’ve known since the late 1960s that employment is a powerful predictor of low patterns of alcohol use and better responses to treatment. Similarly, some data suggests that when those addicted to opiates are stably employed and in a relationship with someone who doesn’t use drugs, the outcomes are better,” he said.
Daniel Antonius, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and director of forensic psychiatry, is interviewed about a new YouTube series that faces backlash over the use of the term “sociopath”. Antonius said diagnosing antisocial personality disorder is an involved process that can take 12 hours or more of intimate interviews and extensive questionnaires. “There’s a negative connotation in this interaction,” he said. “There are people out there with personality disorder diagnoses who are successful, and doing good things in the world. This kind of language adds to the stigmatization rather than talking about mental health in a productive manner.”
In a story about mental health care inside the Erie County Holding Center, Erie County Commissioner of Mental Health Michael Ranney discussed reforms undertaken at the Holding Center, noting “one of the very positive things we did was establish a relationship with the university.” The story states that the county contracts with the Department of Psychiatry, which provides services at the holding center and Erie County Correctional Facility. The story quotes Daniel Antonius, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the Division of Forensic Psychiatry, who said, “We see inmates sometimes within a day and sometimes within one to two weeks, so if you compared to the community standard — it's actually pretty quick because in the community you often wait two to three months before you’re seeing a psychiatrist.”
A story on a dinner held by doctors and students from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to talk about health care with community members from Buffalo’s East Side interviews Linda F. Pessar, MD, director of the Center for Medical Humanities and professor emerita of psychiatry. Pessar said that with the population becoming increasingly diverse, it’s important that doctors start listening and adapting. “The entrepreneurial private practitioner practicing at the community in which he or she lives and grew up is a fading idol,” she said. "If we don’t become responsive to community members, we will not practice the medicine we need and hope to practice, and it seems to me that’s the bottom line.”
An article about the role alcohol consumption can play in a relationship reports a UB study showed that heavy drinking wasn’t the problem in couples, unless only one person was doing the heavy drinking, and quotes Kenneth E. Leonard, PhD, research professor of psychiatry and director of UB’s Research Institute on Addictions. “Our results indicate that it is the difference between the couple’s drinking habits, rather than the drinking itself, that leads to marital dissatisfaction, separation and divorce,” he said.
Local and national media are reporting on a study published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation by UB concussion researchers John J. Leddy, MD, clinical professor of orthopaedics, and Barry S. Willer, PhD, professor of psychiatry. Their study found that 21 retired NFL and NHL players exhibited no signs of early onset dementia, which would have been expected if they were affected by the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which has been linked to athletes with a history of concussive or sub-concussive injuries.
Tianeptine is an unapproved antidepressant drug that is believed to have caused an increase in calls to U.S. poison centers. Raphael J. Leo, MD, associate professor of psychiatry, recently published a case study on the drug that noted that blogs advocate use of amounts greater than the recommended daily antidepressant dose in order to achieve “opioid-like effects.” Some people who seek out tianeptine are searching for “a supplement to enhance mood and cognitive function,” he said, adding that he does not think all purchasers “necessarily think of it as an opiate.”
An article on Demi Lovato’s hospitalization after an apparent drug overdose mentions a quote earlier provided on an unrelated story by Kenneth E. Leonard, PhD, research professor of psychiatry and director of UB’s Research Institute on Addictions. “The longer a person is sober, the better his or her chances of staying away from drugs permanently,” Leonard said.
The Access to Psychiatry through Intermediate Care (APIC) program assists families struggling with disabled loved ones by connecting them with key medical and social services, and developing strategies to prevent avoidable emergency room and hospital stays. Michael R. Cummings, MD, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry, helped establish APIC in 2014. The Department of Psychiatry secured a $1.8 million, five-year grant to run the program.
New treatments are helping to break the stigma of mental illness. Michael R. Cummings, MD, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry, said new drugs have opened up new ways to treat people. “So prior to that there were very few treatments for schizophrenia, for bipolar disorder, for severe depression. Essentially individuals that had those conditions were institutionalized in large state hospitals with significant overcrowding and significant understaffing.”
UB’s Health in the Neighborhood course offers first-year students in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences the opportunity to better understand medical disparities and how social determinants can affect people. “If you want to learn about the source of that ambivalence and distrust, to discuss what health care providers can do to improve that, you need to go in without your white coat,” said Linda F. Pessar, MD, a teacher and founder of the course, professor emerita of psychiatry and director of the Center for Medical Humanities. “How can you trust someone who you feel is clueless about your life?”
An article about health disparities in the local African-American community features Linda F. Pessar, MD, professor emerita of psychiatry and founder and director of the Center for Medical Humanities in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Pessar participated in a daylong event in April at the new home of the Jacobs School that was designed to bring awareness to the issue and come up with ways to ignite change, which was sponsored by UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute. “We have over 200 years of built-in distrust with the African-American community,” Pessar said. “We cannot offer care that will be accepted until we spend some time building trust.”
A story on WKBW-TV about a new study that found that loneliness can become a greater health risk than obesity interviews Michael R. Cummings, MD, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry, who said if you’re feeling lonely, basic social exercises like going out to eat with friends and being out where you’re comfortable can go a long way toward taking steps for your health.