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Pittsburgh paper spotlights WSU professor's studies with children of schizophrenics in mental health series

Pittsburgh paper spotlights WSU professor's studies with children of schizophrenics in mental health series

Research by School of Medicine Associate Professor Vaibhav Diwadkar was featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's "Mysteries of Mind," a yearlong series on mental disorders launched in January.

Diwadkar was interviewed about his work with children of schizophrenics for the Jan. 28 article "Researchers take aim at schizophrenia's thinking problems," which looks at cognitive problems in schizophrenia, the source of hallucinations and delusions, early detection, memory problems, connectivity problems, and the hyperactivity of the default network.

The Wayne State team has provided the few studies that actually assess brain network function in adolescents at risk for schizophrenia, Diwadkar said.

He spoke last May at the University of Pittsburgh's biennial Services for Early Treatment of Psychosis Symposium, along with others from the University of Pittsburgh, the National Institutes of Health, Yale University and Columbia University. The article was the second of a three-part sub-series on schizophrenia.

Diwadkar appreciates the newspaper's efforts to examine a variety of mental health issues.

"I think it allows non-specialists to get some understanding on how complex psychiatric disorders are. This is important because it dispels the notion that there are magic pills that will solve these problems. From the perspective of patients and patients' families, this gain in understanding is particularly important and provides a responsible and realistic assessment of what they are dealing with," he said.

"Also, it informs people about how these problems are largely rooted in the mind/brain interface. In fact, one could argue that (until) we understand the very essential characteristics of how the brain works, it will be difficult to completely solve the problem of psychiatric illness. Nevertheless, it is possible to make systematic efforts toward alleviating the burden of psychiatric disease through well-focused science. I think the parts published thus far highlight these complexities very well."