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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

News releases

May 2016arrow

More research needed to identify and measure quality of autism interventions

May 10, 2016

With the dramatic rise of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the numbers and types of interventions promoted to families and individuals with autism have surged as well.

Autism and cancer share a remarkable number of risk genes in common

May 3, 2016

Autism and cancer share more than 40 risk genes, suggesting that common mechanisms underlying the functions of some of these genes could conceivably be leveraged to develop therapies not just for cancer but for autism as well, an extensive assessment by researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute and Comprehensive Cancer Center has found.

April 2016arrow

Distance language intervention helps adolescents with disabilities communicate

April 27, 2016

Sean Sawicki, who has fragile X syndrome, can be hard to understand and doesn’t always have the attention span to carry on a sustained conversation. But a novel intervention developed by UC Davis MIND Institute researchers seems to be making a difference.

Weighing the pros and cons of mental-health apps

April 26, 2016

“There’s an app for that.” The phrase is so ubiquitous it’s a meme, and trademarked by Apple Inc.

Behavioral Health Center of Excellence holds seminar on Firearm Violence and Mental Illness

April 7, 2016

Each year in the United States, firearm violence results in approximately 30,000 deaths and 75,000 nonfatal injuries to patients seen in hospital emergency rooms. Garen Wintemute, internationally renowned director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis Health System, will discuss “Firearm Violence and Mental Illness.”

UC Davis Health System NIA-funded research centers discuss diversity, disparities and cognitive aging

April 5, 2016

The National Institute on Aging (NIA)-funded UC Davis Latino Aging Research Resource Center (LARRC) and Alzheimer’s Disease Center hosted an all-day conference on March 16, 2016 on “Cognitive Aging and Diversity: Progress and Future Challenges." The conference highlighted NIA-funded research in Northern California associated with UC Davis and UC San Francisco, and brought together leading national experts from across the country. Approximately 80 participants attended.

March 2016arrow

Cancer gene twice as likely to be defective in children with autism

March 30, 2016

A large study by researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute has found that a gene whose role is to suppress cellular damage from environmental stressors is nearly twice as likely to be defective in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and that the deficit is also present in their fathers.

Hispanics with dementia receive antipsychotic medications at twice the rate of non-Hispanics

March 24, 2016

Antipsychotic medications are prescribed to Hispanics with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias at higher rates than non-Hispanic whites, for dementia-related mental-health symptoms such as depression, anxiety and aggression, a UC Davis study conducted using data from a large and diverse population of elderly dementia patients has found.

Hales receives prestigious educator award from the American Psychiatric Association

March 23, 2016

Robert Hales, distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UC Davis, has received the 2016 Vestermark Award from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) for his excellence, leadership and creativity in the field of psychiatry education.

Bold Vision, Bright Future depicted in murals at the MIND

March 11, 2016

Visitors to the UC Davis MIND Institute’s Massie Family Clinic are now met with a wall of vibrant colors and whimsical designs in ceramic tile, a creation of The Mural Project, which combined the talents of three professional artists and artists with developmental disabilities from the Short Centers.

February 2016arrow

This is your brain on exercise

February 23, 2016

People who exercise have better mental fitness, and a new imaging study from UC Davis Health System shows why. Intense exercise increases levels of two common neurotransmitters — glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA — that are responsible for chemical messaging within the brain.

UC Davis MIND Institute to host documentary film and panel at Davis Senior Center

February 22, 2016

The UC Davis MIND Institute, in partnership with Lynn and Keith Volkerts and the George and Lena Valente Foundation, will host an “Afternoon of Discovery and Discussion” on Sunday, March 6.

UC Davis MIND Institute Distinguished Lecturer Series features renowned neuroscientist Karl Deisseroth

February 8, 2016

Neuroscientist Karl Deisseroth, the D.H. Chen Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, will discuss “Illuminating the Brain in Health and Disease” during the next UC Davis MIND Institute Distinguished Lecturer Series presentation on Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 4:30 p.m.

January 2016arrow

Media advisory: UC Davis fair focuses on mental health and young adults

January 11, 2016

Student advocate Jordana Steinberg will talk about the need to expand mental health support for young adults at the Student Resiliency and Mental Health Fair at UC Davis. Sponsored by the UC Davis Behavioral Health Center of Excellence, the event will feature mental health and wellness resources available on campus and in the community.

November 2015arrow

The functional anatomy of language: Four things you need to know

November 4, 2015

Gregory Hickok, founder and director, Center for Language Science, UC Irvine, will discuss “The functional anatomy of language: four things you need to know,” during the December UC Davis MIND Institute Distinguished Lecturer Series presentation.

October 2015arrow

MIND Institute offers program for adults with autism spectrum disorder

October 29, 2015

Researchers with the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence and MIND Institute at UC Davis are seeking adult participants, aged 18 to 38 years and diagnosed with or suspected of having autism or Asperger’s disorder, to participate in a research study, the ACCESS Program (Acquiring Career, Coping, Executive-Function and Social Skills Program).

Amaral appointed to Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee of the Department of Health and Human Services

October 28, 2015

David Amaral, Beneto Foundation Chair and Director of Research, UC Davis MIND Institute, has been appointed by United States Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), which advises the secretary on approaches to advance research, strengthen services and increase opportunities for people with autism spectrum disorder.

September 2015arrow

UC Davis MIND Institute studies the use of sertaline (Zoloft ®) in young children with autism spectrum disorder

September 18, 2015

Whether the language and social development of very young children with ASD can be improved through treatment with sertraline, commonly known by the brand name Zoloft ®, is the subject of a new clinical trial at the UC Davis MIND Institute.

2015-16 MIND Institute Distinguished Lecturer Series starts Oct. 14

September 16, 2015

The UC Davis MIND Institute kicks off its 2015-16 Distinguished Lecturer Series in October with an address by Lisa Croen, Director of the Kaiser Permanente Autism Research Program, who will address “The epidemiology of autism: Investigating perinatal risk factors.” The event will be held Wednesday, Oct. 14 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the MIND Institute, 2825 50th St. It is free and open to the public and no reservations are required.

Initiative to improve treatment, services for children with autism receives $10 million grant

September 16, 2015

Researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute are participating in an initiative project to provide better treatment for children with autism in under-served areas through a five-year, $10 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. The program aims, to bring evidence-based research practices to communities throughout the U.S.

August 2015arrow

UC Davis MIND Institute to present inaugural Lynne Ora Kushel Memorial Lecture on Bipolar Disorder

August 25, 2015

Jair C. Soares, professor and Pat R. Rutherford, Jr., chair in psychiatry, UTHealth Medical School, will present the inaugural Lynne Ora Kushel Memorial Lecture on Bipolar Disorder at the UC Davis MIND Institute on Thursday, Oct. 1.

MIND Institute researchers receive grant to measure language acquisition in autism

August 24, 2015

The evaluation of new treatments for autism spectrum disorder is being hampered by the lack of validated measures to assess the progress that individuals make in such treatments. UC Davis MIND Institute researchers, in collaboration with the University of Minnesota and University of Washington, will study the utility of methods for measuring language acquisition in people with autism spectrum disorder, in order to evaluate their treatment progress, through a $125,000 seed grant from the Simons Foundation for Autism Research.

July 2015arrow

Sleep and the Aging Brain topic of August lecture in Walnut Creek

July 28, 2015

Glen Xiong, associate clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, Davis, will address “Sleep and the Aging Brain” during the August 2015 UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center Community Discovery Lecture Series in Walnut Creek.

New discoveries in UC Davis brain research the topic of August lecture

July 22, 2015

From new ways to stimulate the brain, to new strategies to monitor and communicate with individuals with psychosis, UC Davis neuroscientists are leaders in understanding the brain and developing new treatments for mental-health disorders. 

UC Davis researchers identify the source of the debilitating memory loss in people with psychosis

July 22, 2015

As disabling as its delusions and hallucinations, psychosis’ devastating toll on memory arises from dysfunction of frontal and temporal lobe regions in the brain that rob sufferers of the ability to make associative connections, a UC Davis study has found, pinpointing potential target areas for treatments to help the more than 3.2 million Americans for whom medication quells the voices and visions, but not the struggle to remember. [en español]

June 2015arrow

UC Davis awards $1 million for brain research

June 24, 2015

UC Davis is stimulating innovative, collaborative brain research with a new program offering funding for projects with strong potential to lead to impactful discoveries.

Evaluating intelligence testing in individuals with intellectual disability

June 18, 2015

Since the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries, intelligence tests have attempted to measure human intellectual capabilities. The most common assigns an intelligence quotient, or “IQ” score for normal intelligence in the 90-to-110 point range. Below-normal intelligence falls below 80 IQ points.

UC Davis Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities to hold Summer Institute on Neurodevelopmental Disorders

June 18, 2015

The 12th Annual UC Davis Summer Institute on Neurodevelopmental Disorders — one of the nation's premier gatherings of health professionals, educators and families interested in research and best practices in the field of neurodevelopmental disorders — will be held Friday, Aug. 7, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the UC Davis Conference Center, 550 Alumni Lane, on the University of California, Davis campus. The Institute is sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (CEDD) of the UC Davis MIND Institute and the UC Davis Health System Office of Continuing Medical Education. 

The constant movement in ADHD may help children think, perform in school

June 10, 2015

The constant movement of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be distracting -- but the fidgeting also may improve their cognitive performance, a study by researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute has found. The take-away message: The hyperactivity seen in ADHD may help children think. [en español]

Early intervention program improves long-term outcomes for children with autism

June 9, 2015

An early intervention program for toddlers with autism spectrum disorder improves their intellectual abilities and reduces autism symptoms -- and those results persist years after the children originally received treatment, a new study shows.