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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

28th Annual Pittsburgh Schizophrenia Conference to Focus on Research, Clinical Advances

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 8, 2011 - Internationally renowned schizophrenia researchers and clinicians, patients and their families will gather in Pittsburgh to discuss the latest in research and clinical advances at the 28th Annual Pittsburgh Schizophrenia Conference on Friday, Dec. 9, at the Sheraton Station Square. With more than 400 attendees expected this year, the conference is the nation’s longest-running scientific meeting devoted to exploring the latest research related to schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. 

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling brain disorder that affects 3.2 million Americans, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. People with schizophrenia may hear voices other people don’t hear or believe that others are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts or plotting to harm them. These experiences can cause fearfulness, withdrawal or extreme agitation.

During this conference, experts in the field will provide information about new findings that have the potential to help people with schizophrenia. Scientific presentations will cover a range of topics including the neurophysiology of schizophrenia, as well as the significance of inflammation and the role of pharmacogenetics in the treatment of schizophrenia. The conference also will examine the possible connection between infection, cognitive functioning and schizophrenia. In addition, there will be a panel addressing issues related to the closing of a state hospital.

The 2011 Pittsburgh Schizophrenia Awards will be presented to Vishwajit L. Nimgaonkar, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and human genetics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Joseph P. McEvoy, M.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Duke University School of Medicine.

Dr. Nimgaonkar’s research focuses on the causes of schizophrenia. He will present a lecture titled “The Importance of Pharmacogenetics for Treatment of Schizophrenia.”

Dr. McEvoy’s research addresses pharmacological treatment strategies for individuals with schizophrenia. He studies the increased medical morbidity and mortality afflicting individuals with schizophrenia and what to do to mitigate that. He will present a lecture titled “Inflammation and Its Relevance to Treatment in Persons with Schizophrenia.”

The 2011 Gerald E. Hogarty Excellence in Schizophrenia Research Memorial Award will be presented to Faith B. Dickerson, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the Stanley Research Program at Sheppard Pratt Hospital in Maryland. Dr. Dickerson’s research focuses on immunological and infectious factors in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. She will present a lecture titled “Schizophrenia, Cognitive Functioning and Infection: Is There a Connection?”

Also speaking at the conference are:

  • Stuart R. Steinhauer, Ph.D., research associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, on Neurophysiology of Schizophrenia: Its Salience to the Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis of Schizophrenia
  • James M. Schuster, M.D., M.B.A., chief medical officer of Community Care Behavioral Health Organization will be leading a panel on Closing a State Hospital: Lessons from the Mayview Experience.

Other members of the panel include Catherine G. Greeno, Ph.D., associate professor of social work and psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh; Shirlee Hopper–Scherch of the Peer Support and Advocacy Network; Christine Michaels of National Alliance on Mental Illness of Southwestern Pennsylvania; and Brandi Mauck Phillips of Allegheny HealthChoices, Inc.

For more information about the Pittsburgh Schizophrenia Conference, visit http://www.wpic.pitt.edu/oerp/conferences.

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