Novel study reveals lasting positive residual effects from meditation

Posted: November 15th, 2012

A new study has found that participating in an eight-week meditation training program can have measurable effects on how the brain functions even when someone is not actively meditating. In their report in the November issue of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, investigators at Harvard Medical School-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston University (BU), and several other research centers also found differences in those effects based on the specific type of meditation practiced.

“The two different types of meditation training our study participants completed yielded some differences in the response of the amygdala — a part of the brain known for decades to be important for emotion — to images with emotional content,” says Gaëlle Desbordes, a research fellow at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at MGH and at the BU Center for Computational Neuroscience and Neural Technology, corresponding author of the report. “This is the first time that meditation training has been shown to affect emotional processing in the brain outside of a meditative state.”

Source: Harvard Gazette, November 15, 2012

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Steve Hyman keynotes RCP symposium: “The Future of the Psychiatric Scientist”

Posted: November 14th, 2012

The December 12th event featured talks from leaders in psychiatry and neuroscience research, including a keynote presentation from Steve Hyman, former head of the National Institute for Mental Health, and currently Director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT).

A poster session featured work from current RCP residents and allow faculty, residents, and visiting applicants to share their thoughts and experience with the wide ranging possibilities for research in the Boston neuroscience and psychiatric communities.

  • 10:30 - 11:00 | Coffee & Pastries
  • 11:00 - 11:15 | Introductory remarks – Jerrold Rosenbaum & Scott Rauch
  • 11:15 - 11:30 | Overview of the RCP – Justin Baker, Dost Ongur, and John Denninger
  • 11:30 - 12:00 | Keynote Presentation – Steve Hyman
  • 12:00 - 12:15 | Lunch Buffet
  • 12:15 - 01:45 | Selected Scientific Presentations - Faculty
  • 01:45 - 02:00 | Closing Remarks - Maurizio Fava & Shelly Greenfield
  • 02:00 - 03:00 | Poster Session - Residents of the MGH/McLean RCP

MGH/McLean congratulates new Director of Residency Training

Posted: November 6th, 2012

On November 1, Felicia Smith stepped into her new role as Program Director for the Adult Psychiatry Residency Program.

Felicia, a 2004 graduate of the MGH/McLean residency program, currently serves as Associate Director of the Division of Psychiatry and Medicine and the MGH Psychosomatic Fellowship. She previously performed the role of Associate Residency Training Director for the residency from 2004 to 2007, and became the Director of the Acute Psychiatry Service in 2008. Dr. Smith will continue as the Associate Director of the Division of Psychiatry and Medicine, in addition to fulfilling her new duties with the residency.

Felicia’s appointment, which was announced on October 4, comes as no surprise to many in the residency program. Says MGH Chief of Psychiatry Jerry Rosenbaum, “Felicia is an ideal person to take the residency helm going forward. We could not have been happier to learn that she was enthusiastic about accepting the position.” In a statement to the residency community, McLean Hospital President Scott Rauch also expressed his excitement about the recent announcement. “Felicia is an expert clinician, a master teacher, a respected and admired colleague and leader, and will be a terrific training director.”

Over the past month, Felicia has been working closely with the outgoing Director of Residency Training, Kathy Sanders, who has accepted an appointment as Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As Felicia takes on this new challenge, please join us in extending a warm welcome and wishing her luck as our new Director of Residency Training!