How virtual reality may help explore the role of fear in youth at risk for violence and crime

Conduct disorder — often characterized by aggression, theft, vandalism, violations of rules and lying — is one of the most prevalent and debilitating psychiatric disorders that emerges during childhood and adolescence.

There is a subgroup of those with conduct disorder who are more likely to engage in chronic violence and criminal behavior. These individuals display severe behavioral and personality symptoms, called callous-unemotional traits, that include callousness toward others, lack of empathy or guilt for their harmful behaviors, and shallow or diminished emotional ... Continue Reading →


Cracking the code for resilience

Given current events ranging from the ongoing pandemic to giant wildfires and powerful hurricanes, it’s not surprising that many people find their emotional reserves are depleted. Statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation show that about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic, up from 1 in 10 adults who reported these symptoms in the first half of 2019.

Such trends are concerning. They also illustrate just how different individuals’ responses to stress ... Continue Reading →


Network Psychometrics Workshop – June 18-20, 2019

The workshop starts with a conceptual introduction on why items in psychological data tend to co-occur, and what this implies about the constructs such as mental disorders, cognitive abilities, personality, and attitudes. This is followed by an introduction to social and psychological network models; an overview of the network literature in psychopathology (the field where network psychometric models have been used most over the last years); and a summary of important topics (centrality, comorbidity, early warning signals). Continue Reading →


Postdoctoral Training in Psychiatric and Statistical Genetics

The Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics is pleased to invite applications for postdoctoral training with a focus in on mental health. The Institute offers a rich interdisciplinary training environment. Institute faculty include leaders in the fields of behavioral and psychiatric genetics and represent a wide range of scientific backgrounds from molecular and statistical genetics to epidemiology, psychology, psychiatry.

Currently funded research at VIPBG includes molecular-genetic studies of schizophrenia, major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, alcoholism, cannabis and nicotine dependence. VCU’s ... Continue Reading →


Stephen Hawking, who shined a light on black holes, dies at age 76

Stephen Hawking, the prodigious British theoretical cosmologist who became an international celebrity, died at his home in Cambridge, U.K., early today, at the age of 76. Hawking, who spent his entire career at the University of Cambridge, suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative nerve disease with which he was diagnosed in his 20s. The disease confined Hawking to a wheelchair for most of his adult life and eventually rendered him capable of speaking only through a computer-controlled voice synthesizer. ... Continue Reading →


Research Discovers Three New Genetic Risk Markers of Depression

Hinxton, (Scicasts) — A study published today (March 2) in the American Journal of Psychiatry details the discovery of three additional genetic risk markers for depression, building on the discovery of two genetic risk factors in 2015.

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University, the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and Wellcome Sanger Institute have found that the contribution of genetic variations to depression may differ between people who have experienced serious adversities in their life and those who haven’t. By carrying out a genome-wide ... Continue Reading →


Major mental illnesses unexpectedly share brain gene activity, raising hope for better diagnostics and therapies

Mental illness affects one in six U.S. adults, but scientists’ sense of the underlying biology of most psychiatric disorders remains nebulous. That’s frustrating for physicians treating the diseases, who must also make diagnoses based on symptoms that may only appear sporadically. No laboratory blood test or brain scan can yet distinguish whether someone has depression or bipolar disorder, for example.

Now, however, a large-scale analysis of postmortem brains is revealing distinctive molecular traces in people with mental illness. This week, an ... Continue Reading →


VCU researchers recognized for being in the top 1 percent of most cited authors for 2017

Three Virginia Commonwealth University faculty have been recognized in a list of the top 1 percent of most-cited researchers in 2017. The list was aggregated by Clarivate Analytics, which uses data from Web of Science, a major scientific citation indexing service, to identify qualifying researchers.

VCU faculty on the Highly Cited Researcher list for 2017 include Arun Sanyal, M.D., a professor of internal medicine in the School of Medicine; Thomas Eissenberg, Ph.D., a professor of psychology in the  Continue Reading →


VCU, Swedish study finds genetics and environment equally contribute to major depression transmission

Parent-to-offspring transmission of risk for major depression is the result of genetic factors and child-rearing experiences to an approximately equal degree, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden. The discovery is the result of the first large-scale adoption study of major depression.

The study, “Sources of Parent-Offspring Resemblance for Major Depression in a National Swedish Extended Adoption Study,” published Dec. 13 in JAMA Psychiatry, a monthly, peer-reviewed medical journal produced by the American ... Continue Reading →


MCV Foundation Publishes NEXT Magazine, Illuminating Innovation at VCU Health

The MCV Campus at VCU Health is a hub of discovery and innovation that has borne life-saving patient care, catalytic research and formative education for nearly 180 years. Historically, it has led the nation in areas such as burn care, transplantation and curriculum development.

Today, the MCV Campus is one of the top academic health centers in the country, linking five schools of health sciences, the region’s only full-service children’s hospital, a Level I trauma center and one of only two ... Continue Reading →

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