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Winter 2007
News from the Johns Hopkins
Department of Psychiatry and
Behavioral Sciences
VO L U M E 3 , N U M B E R 1
T R A N S L AT I O N S
No ‘Sleepless
in Baltimore’
hen Jill
Leukhardt was
an executive in
a booming
technology business a few
years back, her bipolar II illness—which she didn’t know
she had—dovetailed nicely
with her job. “I was one of
those determined to have it
all,” she says. “I’d work until
2 or 3 a.m. because we needed the output. I loved it. And
I’d routinely take the red-eye
home from the West Coast to
catch my daughter before she
went to preschool.”
Seven years ago, however,
the disease caught up with
her, and Leukhardt became
seriously ill, first with depression. She left her job and
sought help from both a psychiatrist and a Hopkinstrained psychologist skilled in
psychotherapy. Gradually, life
fell back into place. But after
a year, her therapist spotted a
disturbing trend, and, concerned, Leukhardt made her
way to Michael Smith,
Ph.D., a clinician and
research director for Hopkins’
Behavioral Sleep Medicine
Program. Abnormal sleep,
part of the fabric of
Leukhardt’s bipolar disorder,
had made hers a complex but
not uncommon case.
“I’m a severe night owl,”
she says. “I tend to push sleep
later and later.” More than
once the young woman has
slept all day and lit up the
house at night.
“For someone with a lightsensitive circadian dimension
to her illness, that’s the worst
W
Psychiatry: STAT
Why the psych ED’s
not like other places.
PAGE 2
Hypnotics OK
situation for
her,” says psychologist Smith.
“Moreover, in
Jill’s case, sleep
problems are
a sentinel for
full-blown
depression.”
Psychiatry is
just realizing
sleep’s role in
mental disease,
says Smith—
not only bipolar
“Cognitive behavioral therapy can stop primary insomnia every bit as well as a pill, our studies
disorder but
depression, gen- show,” says expert Michael Smith. “I know it’s made a difference,” Jill Leukhardt agrees.
eralized anxiety,
wake up—and improving
monitoring. Was it her poor
eating disorders, SAD and
sleep habits? A faulty biolog- sleep hygiene. If she’s sleepalcoholism, for example—
less more than 10 minutes,
with each apparently warping ical clock? A state of heightfor example, she leaves the
ened arousal? With the latREM or other sleep markers
bed to read in a low light
ter, there’s a suggestion of a
in characteristic ways.
until drowsy.
“Altered sleep isn’t just anoth- “broken homeostat,” a flaw
These approaches undeniin the brain’s input to hypoer symptom; it’s an integral
ably show that insomnia is
part of the disease and a win- thalamic sleep and arousal
neurobehavioral, Smith says.
centers or within the centers
dow into its neurobiology.”
So do his SPECT images—
themselves. Normal balance
Consider the fact, he says,
they give visual proof that
that briefly depriving severely between the two is upset,
therapy partly corrects an
tilting to the arousal side.
depressed patients of sleep
insomnia-sparked drop in
Then EEG studies are
can dramatically brighten
cerebral blood flow.
sometimes pulled in, Smith
mood. “It’s as good, temBecause therapy poses
says, especially newer quantiporarily, as the best antidesome risk for Leukhardt, she
tative methods that point
pressant, and it shows sleep’s
sees Smith regularly for fineout specific brainwave patsystemic role.”
tuning. Both sleep restricterns. When some patients
But that word hasn’t gottion and light therapy can
come with unremarkable
ten out, Smith explains, nor
trigger manic episodes, so
sleep studies, for example,
has an appreciation of
her use is judicious. Smith
digging into their “sleep
behavioral sleep therapy—a
can see their value, though,
focus of a new Hopkins pro- microstructure” reveals subas does she: “This definitely
tle swells in brain activity.
gram (see sidebar).
makes a difference. My sleep
“My mind still races though
Part of Smith’s research
is much more stable. Is it a
I’m half asleep,” they’ll say.
explores behavioral therapy
coincidence that my mood is
As for Leukhardt, behavas it’s shaped for insomnia.
ioral therapy combines light- too? I doubt it.”
It begins with evaluation:
box use, sleep restriction—
Smith sought the cause of
she was told roughly when
Leukhardt’s problem via
For information: 443-287-2384
to go to bed and when to
interviews, sleep diaries and
or www.sleeplessinbaltimore.com
Traumatic
Brain Injury
Saving “nobody’s baby.”
PAGE 3
Ladies Who Launch
A pilot program paid off.
PAGE 4
For some, there’s been a tinge of “mother’s little helper” about hypnotics—
sleeping pills—a suggestion that their use
somehow implies weakness or that taking them more than briefly is harmful.
But, says psychiatrist David Neubauer,
that’s one of many myths that surfaces in
sleep medicine, his specialty of 22 years.
As a clinician with Hopkins’ justbeginning Behavioral Sleep Medicine
Program, Neubauer, who writes widely
about hypnotic medications, hopes to
dispel such ideas. The program addresses
the overlap between sleep disorders and
other illness, especially that with a psychiatric element. And though, as the
name implies, behavioral therapy is the
focus, it’s not everything. “For many
patients, you blend behavioral and pharmacological treatment,” Neubauer
explains. “You’d never prescribe a hypnotic medicine without attending to
someone’s sleep behaviors—their bedtime routines, for example.”
About the myth: “It’s true that the
average person only needs sleep medicines a short time,” he says. “But there’s
no question that plenty of patients with
chronic insomnia can benefit from longer
use, especially if they do well at night
and function well in the daytime.” The
FDA concurs, he says, having expunged
the “short term” wording from prescribing guidelines.
Neubauer and colleagues also counter
the myth that in depression, simply treating the mood disorder makes sleep problems disappear. “Addressing insomnia
directly can restore proper sleep,” he says.
As for the sleep medicine program—
newly housed on the Bayview campus—
it aims to “crack the puzzle of how psychiatry and sleep are interrelated,” says
Director Una McCann, M.D. Its clinical arm offers therapy for sleep and circadian rhythm disorders while a research
focus seeks to clarify how pain, traumatic
brain injury, burns and cardiac disease,
among others, relate to sleep. “A lot of
people want to collaborate,” says
McCann. ■
For information: 410-550-1972.
Psychiatry: STAT
A
corner of the main Hopkins
ED, home of emergency
adult psychiatry, roughly covers the footage of a large living-room.
The walls show a few impressive scars
from the 3,000 or so psychiatric
patients who’ve passed through each
year for the past quarter-century:
walk-ins from the neighborhood or
several states away, referrals who
deplane from Paris and take a cab to
East Baltimore, and, from clinics
across the street, outpatients deemed
too precarious to go home.
“The area wasn’t designed for psychiatry,” says Patrick Triplett, M.D.,
who directs Psychiatric Emergency
Services at Hopkins Hospital, “so privacy can be a challenge.” And like the
“I stopped watching ER years ago,” says Patrick Triplett, M.D. “Their psychiatrist would never make it.”
Holland Tunnel, traffic rarely stops.
have schizophrenia.’ But then a cocaine shocked, for example, the first time I
But it’s a healing, fascinating, necessary
heard a man say, if you don’t admit me,
screen comes back lit up. Where does
place, Triplett maintains. His years as
the truth lie? It may take days to find
director have made him both wise and
I’ll kill myself.” Now, Triplett says, “I
out, to let the drug wear off and see if
pragmatic, and under his watch, the
see that remark as something of a prothere’s a persisting, underlysmall and occasionally
totype and probe more deeply, for
ing psychotic disorder.”
tumultuous-appearing spot
example, for mood, personality or sub“We’re seeing
And questions of whether stance use problems.”
is one of the best-run psymore patients;
to discharge patients loom
chiatric emergency facilities
It’s the issues imposed from outside,
large. “It’s tremendously
anywhere.
however, that trouble him. “We’re seethey’re staying
hard to predict what people
Some ED issues are
ing more patients and they’re staying
with us longer.”
will do when they walk out,” with us longer.” This isn’t unique to
generic—tied to the overlap
explains Triplett. “Our resiof psychiatry and emergency
Hopkins; it’s nationwide and stems, in
dents, especially, can feel uncomfortmedicine. With Baltimore’s drug abuse
part, from shrinking inpatient psychiable with stay-or-go decisions. How do
problem, for example, staff often treat
atric facilities. Maryland, for example,
you teach that sort of thing? Collect
patients whose substance-dependence
is considering closing its acute care
data on patients, we tell them; see if
crises are layered atop other psychiatric
beds in all of its state hospitals. “That’ll
the woman on the gurney has ‘informdisorders. “That makes diagnosis diffiput the hurt on us,” says Triplett.
ants.’ Sharpen your diagnosis and
cult,” says Triplett. “Somebody may
Insurance companies add insult, he
always err on the side of safety. I was
come in hallucinating and tell us, ‘I
says, as their preauthorization require-
ments for psychiatric patients
and the other corporate hurdles
slow patient admissions. The
average psych ED stay before
someone can transfer to
Hopkins inpatient units has
reached 13 hours—beyond
what’s typically needed for
comprehensive emergency care.
Improvements, however, are
real. “We were able to get
Maryland law changed to
require at least some insurance
companies to be available 24/7
for approval,” Triplett says.
Residents are taught more
nuanced emergency psychiatry
and supervised more, he
explains. In 2005, full-time
psychiatric nursing was added.
And recently, staff from psychiatry and
emergency medicine, security, social
work, Hopkins legal branches and
those dedicated to patient innovation
began meeting to make the ED safer.
Already, a newly revamped triage system, with its five-tier rating of psychiatric patients on urgency of care, is
becoming a model.
“Obviously, you know that someone
who’s agitated, shouting and bleeding
needs immediate help, while someone
wanting a medication refill probably
doesn’t,” Triplett comments. “But
patients in-between are less clear; that’s
where the system helps.”
As for Triplett, he seems to thrive.
“I like the fact that not every day is
the same.” ■
BENCHMARKS
Attempting Suicide, Uric Acid and Elderly
Brains, Hormone Cycles and Mood Disorders:
Psych News from Hopkins
Suicide and Chromosome Two
A handful of previous studies—ones with
twins, for example—suggests that
attempting suicide may have some genetic
basis. Now a team of Hopkins and other
researchers led by Virginia Willour,
Ph.D., has shed stronger light on that
possibility. Analysis of a whole-genome
linkage study of 162 families with bipolar
disorder—some members attempted suicide—revealed a significant site on chromosome two. It’s not the first time that
site’s been pointed to: It surfaced in earlier
studies of attempted suicide in families
with major depression or with alcoholism,
both diseases with high suicide risk.
Biological Psychiatry, March 2007
Hormonal Mood Upsets More Common in Some Women
Women with a history of depressive or
bipolar disorder often have premenstrual
mood problems or mood upsets after
childbirth or around menopause, evidence shows. But nothing concrete tells
how commonly that occurs, says Jennifer Payne, M.D., whose recent study
addressed the issue. Payne led a team
that reviewed earlier studies’ data with a
new eye for the prevalence of cyclelinked symptoms—one data set came
from family pedigrees with early-onset
major depression and another from a 10site study in families with bipolar disorder:
2,524 women in all. The results? Almost
68 percent of women with mood disorders reported premenstrual symptoms,
compared with 34 percent of those without. For postpartum problems, it was 21
percent vs. 3 percent.
Journal of Affective Disorders,
Oct. 2, 2006
Weight Gain: Mapping
Clozapine's Added Insult
No one doubts the benefits of atypical
antipsychotic drugs like clozapine in
improving schizophrenia. One down side
is the often large weight gain as patients’
appetites rise. Major studies are ongoing
to map the biology and so increase the
likelihood of blocking this side effect.
Interest centers on a key enzyme in the
hypothalamus, AMP kinase, that tips the
balance toward hunger. Recently, a team
headed by Solomon Snyder, M.D.,
showed that the current drugs potently
stimulate the enzyme by first docking
with a specific histamine receptor. It’s a
small but firm step on a road to improving therapy.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Feb. 19, 2007
Cognitively Impaired?
Check Uric Acid
A simple blood test to measure uric acid
might expose a risk factor for cognitive
problems in old age, says David
Schretlen, Ph.D., who led a recent
Hopkins-Yale study. Of 96 communitydwelling adults age 60 to 92, those with
high normal uric acid levels had the lowest
scores on tests of mental processing speed
and verbal and working memory. “Primary
care physicians might want to ask elderly
patients with elevated serum uric acid if
they've noticed problems in thinking,”
Schretlen says. Neuropsychological screening might be a good idea.
Neuropsychology, January 2007
INSIGHTS: VANI RAO
R E S E A R C H ’ S ROA D
The Real Trauma of TBI
Understudied and underdiagnosed, survivors find clinic life-changing.
“
T
hey’re nobody’s baby.”
Psychiatrist Vani Rao
says that of more than a
few of the people who see her
after their auto accidents, falls
or assaults resulted in brain
damage. Rao heads the Brain
Injury Clinic on Hopkins’
Bayview campus. At some
point, losing consciousness
and/or memory got patients
rushed to an emergency room,
then surgeons were quick to
address what they could. “But
after rehab and followup visits,”
Rao explains, “they’re often left
on their own. Nobody ‘needs’
to see them any more because,
supposedly, their acute problems have been tended to.”
For many of the 1.4 million
annual survivors of traumatic
brain injury (TBI), however,
that’s when the real trauma
begins (see story, below).
“Neurological effects usually
improve or become stable with
time,” Rao says, “but emotional,
mood and behavior disorders
can persist over months or
years.” Anxiety, apathy, a whittled attention span and other
cognitive and psychiatric problems aren’t rare. Hair-trigger
anger or unbridled bluntness,
for example, redefine some sur-
vivors’ personalities. “Before
long, their families’ patience
fades,” Rao says. “Then everyone suffers.” TBI raises the risk
of death by suicide to four times
that of the general population.
Because the need for therapy
and heightening family understanding is great, Rao set up the
clinic some six years ago, as part
of Hopkins’ Community Psychiatry program. And because
TBI is “understudied and underdiagnosed,” Rao has found herself one of few U.S. psychiatrists
working to define its mental
effects and clarify the problems
that follow.
How does the clinic help?
A daughter of Hopkins
Medicine, Rao relies on the tested, conceptual approach to diagnosis and therapy that mentors
Paul McHugh and Philip
Slavney laid down in The
Perspectives of Psychiatry. She
first addresses the biology.
“Some problems clearly stem
from the injury,” she says.
Frontal cortex damage or shortcircuited deeper brain circuits
can make patients impulsive or
bring on major depression.
Antidepressants can ease the latter, which affects a third to a
quarter of TBI patients. Other
drugs may
tighten attention, memory
or executive
function.
“But to say
it’s all biology
accentuates the
disease at the
expense of the
person,” Rao
says. There are
psychosocial aspects: TBI’s dramatic onset, for example, often
swamps patients’ coping abilities.
It widens hairline cracks in family relationships. And patients’
sudden drop in self- awareness—
common in prefrontal injury—
distresses everyone.
So Rao assesses the new vulnerabilities and ways patients
respond to what life hands out.
Learning who the ‘new’ person
is suggests ways to cope. “We
help patients see that they’re easily frustrated, for example, and
teach ways to avoid situations
that play on that.” The clinic’s
two therapists motivate and
offer the support it takes
patients to change.
Targeting troublesome
behavior—that within patients’
control—is also useful, Rao
says. Though not a direct out-
come of injury, abnormal social
or sexual behaviors may surface
as inhibition fades in impulsive
patients. Suggestive remarks or
inappropriate touching can really send life downhill fast, she
says, especially when a patient’s
self awareness is weak.
And, last, says Rao, her staff
delves into patients’ life stories
for a true perspective. From that
vantage point, she says, therapist
and patient look down together
on past and present and, almost
dispassionately, choose a good
path or, “rescript” the story.
“People need to know
their problems are common
after TBI, that they’re not a
sign of moral weakness, and
that they can become whole in
a new way.” ■
For information: 410-550-0019.
Catching Terry Conner
Newly married and in his 30s,
Terry Conner was a cheerful and
industrious subcontractor, a man
who saw his job as a calling:
“Building houses was what I wanted to do. I was good at it.” In
November 1997, however, Conner
slipped from a 40-foot scaffold.
He fell for seven years.
Conner went into a two-week
coma from the impact that fractured his right eye socket and
injured the right frontal lobe and, by
rebound, part of the left temporal
brain. Still, after corrective surgery
and a half-year of rehabilitation,
Conner felt ready to return to
work. Work, however, wasn’t ready
for him. Inklings that he’d changed
had come in the rehab facility: He’d
made sexual overtures to his wife
beyond the appropriate. And over
the next few years, outbursts of
anger toward coworkers and others, along with uncharacteristic sexually impulsive behavior, cost him
his job and got him arrested and
even jailed for several months.
“My injury let the warning light
go off,” Conner explains. “It wiped
out my self-control.”
Made to leave his church, separated from his wife, estranged
from most of his family—including
his two young children—he
endured short but potent thunderstorms of sadness and persistent
feelings of worthlessness. It was a
lonely and anxious man who came
to Hopkins some six years after
the accident.
“As a traumatic brain injury
patient, Mr. Conner is the rule
rather than the exception,” Vani
Rao, M.D., told colleagues at a
recent psychiatry Grand Rounds.
Now the extent of his therapy is
also becoming standard. During a
short inpatient stay in a Meyer 5
neuropsychiatric unit, Conner
received extensive diagnostic testing. At his release, Rao, who directs
Hopkins’ outpatient Brain Injury
Program, devised a highly individualized treatment plan, one meant to
“rescript” his life. To give a biological
hand up, he was prescribed sertraline for depression and amantadine
for “frontal lobe symptoms” such as
impulsivity, a low tolerance for frustration and tissue-thin inhibition.
Depot lupron effectively quieted
libido.
One-on-one cognitive behavioral
therapy has helped Conner, as have
group therapies—weekly sexual
behaviors meetings and daily psychosocial rehabilitation that includes
role-playing. “We’ve been coaching
him to think before he speaks, to
learn to accept and cope with his
injury,” says therapist Shari Keach,
who’s expert in accentuating
Conner’s genuine strengths.
Gains are clear. Recently, he and
relatives took his children to the
zoo. He’s begun computer training.
Sexual aggression has stopped. And
Conner says he likes himself: “It’s
been like watching a baby grow. I’m
more empathetic, more patient.”
With a directness that’s the bright
side of losing inhibition, he adds,
“My entire heart was in pain. Now
it doesn’t hurt.” ■
ADHD
Teenagers 13 through 18 who
use drugs or alcohol and who
also have problems with
ADHD may participate in a study
that uses medication and cognitive
behavior therapy. Participants
receive an assessment, study medication and behavior therapy at no
cost. No insurance is needed and
study subjects earn payment.
Geetha Subramaniam, M.D., leads
the research. Call 1-877-453-3399
.
Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety in children is more common than most think; up to 10 percent suffer from anxiety disorders.
Now a Hopkins study sponsored
by the National Institute of Mental
Health evaluates the benefits
of cognitive behavioral therapy and an investigational medication for children and
adolescents with excessive
anxiety. Young people 7 to 17
who suffer from anxiety disorders
that interfere with school, social
activities or relationships may be eligible. John Walkup, M.D., and Golda
Ginsburg, Ph.D., are co-principal
investigators. Call 410-614-4460.
OCD
Families with obsessive compulsive disorder are invited to
help scientists learn more
about its causes. Advances in
molecular biology and statistical
genetics now make it possible to
identify specific genes that underlie
such complex diseases. But families
are also vitally needed. If at least
two members of your family are
diagnosed with OCD or exhibit
symptoms, you may be eligible to
join in a nationwide study. Participation includes a confidential interview—scheduled at a convenient
time and place—and a blood sample. Compensation is given. Jack
Samuels, Ph.D., is the principal
investigator. E-mail [email protected]
or call 410-426-4822.
Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective/Bipolar Disorder
Jewish individuals are needed
to participate in a study to
understand the biological
basis of schizophrenia and
schizoaffective disorder. Participation involves a confidential interview and a blood sample. We
come to you. Compensation is
$100. Ann E. Pulver, Ph.D., is principal investigator. Call 1-888-2894095 or e-mail
[email protected]
Tourette’s Disorder
Children and adolescents age
9 to 17 with chronic tics or
Tourette’s disorder may be
eligible for a study to see if
behavioral treatment reduces
tic severity. Growing evidence
supports the potential of behavioral treatment as effective in
reducing tics. In this study, participants may continue on existing
medication. Tic disorders may
include repeated involuntary muscle
movements such as grimaces,
tongue or arm movements and
head jerks. Also, uncontrollable
repetitive humming, sniffling, coughing, throat-clearing or whistling may
be characteristic. John Walkup,
M.D. directs this study. E-mail
[email protected] or call 410-955-1551.
Charmian Elkes:
Her Award
Goes On
The ‘Housewife’
Will See You Now
Two quality solutions to a city’s therapist shortage.
The path that Lois Feinblatt
and Ellen Halle have chosen for
the past 36 years is one some
women dream about while they
sort socks in a steamy laundry
room. Even the way it came
about has a fabled feel to it. In
1966, word got out about an
unusual Hopkins program to
train mature women as “auxiliary psychotherapists” as a fix
for Baltimore’s shortage of community psychiatry professionals.
The project mirrored an earlier
NIMH model.
As then-head of Psychiatry
Joel Elkes told the Baltimore
Sun, “We’re tapping a great
reservoir of talent represented
by intelligent married women
in their 40s. They’ve become
experts in family management
just as their families are leaving
home.” Those chosen, he said,
would be college graduates
with “psychological awareness,
minimal defensiveness and an
ability to empathize.”
So just as the program
appeared, Halle and Feinblatt
fit right in. The two women,
both college graduates in English literature, had seven noncookie-cutter children between
them, had managed active households and had “served sentences”
on social service boards. Married
to prominent, successful men,
they were accomplished and
worldly in the best sense. Feinblatt had worked a decade for the
city’s Department of Welfare.
This issue of BrainWise is published
by Johns Hopkins Medicine Marketing
and Communications for the
Department of Psychiatry and
Behavioral Sciences.
It is distributed to the scientific
community, sponsors, friends and
others interested in the department’s
research and activities.
Some of the research in this newsletter
has corporate ties. For full disclosure
information, call the Office of Policy
Coordination at 410-223-1608.
© The Johns Hopkins University 2007
To make a gift to the Department of
Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences,
contact Jessica Lunken,
Director of Development
Department of Psychiatry
100 North Charles Street, Suite 410
Baltimore, MD 21201
410-516-6251
If you no longer wish to receive this
newsletter, please e-mail
[email protected]
Acceptance, however, wasn’t a
snap. Some 40 others were as
eager, Halle says, especially new
psychologists wanting clinical
experience. “We survived an avalanche of interviews,” says
Feinblatt. The women also roleplayed and dealt with hypothetical patients. For a month, their
every word was weighed by clinicians rapier-sharp to nuance in
speech and thought. “It was both
intense and dramatic,” says
Halle, who remembers it vividly.
“But because I’m not a competitive person,” adds Feinblatt, “it
was also somewhat terrifying.”
For the next two years, the
two spent 40 hours a week in
study, gaining an intensive clinical education. Rooming together on campus made them fast
friends. And training under the
area’s finest psychoanalysts and
psychiatrists served them, and
the community, well. Then
came a third-year internship.
“The program wasn’t without controversy,” says Halle.
The trainees were called “the
housewives” behind their backs
by green-eyed residents put off
after seeing women their mothers’ age develop a quick rapport
with their patients. It also
stung when, in grand rounds,
the chief of medicine asked
“the housewives” not to ask
questions, please.
A dedicated lot, all eight of
the Hopkins trainees graduated,
most taking jobs throughout the
J. Raymond DePaulo, M.D.,
Chief of Psychiatry
Patrick Gilbert, Director of
Editorial Services
Marjorie Centofanti, Editor/Writer
Dalal Haldeman, Vice President,
Marketing and Communications
David Dilworth, Designer
Keith Weller, Photography
Editorial Office
901 South Bond Street, Suite 550
Baltimore, MD 21231
“This country needs a good $5 psychoanalyst,” Feinblatt and Halle were told.
city. The program proved wonderfully relevant.
Ultimately, Halle and
Feinblatt earned master’s degrees
and certification as licensed clinical professional counselors. At
first they worked in private or
group practices, but then, in
1970, Hopkins’ Chester
Schmidt thought they’d fit well
in the new Sexual Behaviors
Consultation Unit he was coheading with fellow psychiatrist
Jon Meyer.
In the days of Masters and
Johnson, when human sexuality
clinics dotted the country, the
SBCU was one of few tied to a
major medical facility. Its
reliance on scientific rigor
brought respect that lasts today.
“From the beginning it’s
been a place where patients
learn about themselves,” adds
Feinblatt, “where they’re made
to feel comfortable.” First inter-
viewing patients, then adding to
their evaluations, the women
soon became instructors in psychiatry. They were sought out as
therapists, and still are today.
They also weathered the clinic’s three phases: first, after the
discovery that women could be
orgasmic—a time that couples’
appointments surged, says
Feinblatt. Then they began to see
men whose impotence, in part,
followed from demands of the
first phase. Now, says Halle, disorders of desire are more common: “We’ve identified the functional-but-disinterested patient.”
Through that, says Schmidt,
“Lois and Ellen have kept a
broader, psychodynamic view of
mental health. They know how
and why our patients do what
they do. Their observations are
invaluable. They have a depth of
understanding that our medical
students can’t touch.” ■
Charmian Elkes was quietly a
pathfinder. A British clinician in
Birmingham, England, she exercised her research talents at the
University of Birmingham, conducting classic studies with thenhusband Joel Elkes, that revealed
the value of a biochemical
approach to mental illness.
In the early 1950s, for example, they undertook a blinded
clinical trial of chlorpromazine,
proving its worth as the first
“real” drug available for hyperactive psychotic patients.
In 1957, now with the NIMH
in Washington, D.C., Elkes conceived a pilot project to give
selected women a short course in
psychotherapy’s practical
aspects—a new way to train mental health counselors. Its success
led her to start the program at
Hopkins, where she practiced
from 1966 to 1969, an undertaking that changed the lives of Lois
Feinblatt and Ellen Halle (article,
left), this year’s co-recipients of
the Charmian Elkes Award for
Excellence and Innovation in
Mental Health Services. The
award will be presented at
Psychiatry’s 21st annual Mood
Disorders Symposium in April. ■
Save the Date!
The 21st Annual Mood Disorders
Research/Education Symposium features award-winning authors and
authorities on depression and bipolar
disorder Kay Redfield Jamison and
Fred Goodwin.
Tuesday, April 24, 1-6 p.m. at
Hopkins’ Turner Auditorium
For information: 443-287-3480.
Non-Profit Org.
U.S. Postage
PAID
Permit No. 1608
Baltimore, MD
Fly UP