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Restoring a Delicate Balance: Dr. Hilary Blumberg Seeks Ways to Therapeutically Address Subtle Brain Changes that Imaging Has Revealed in Mood Disorders
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Brain and Behavior Research Foundation

January 27, 2020

“I love the science of it!” says Dr. Hilary Blumberg, a research pioneer who has used advanced imaging to figure out how the brain subtly changes in bipolar disordermajor depression, and other mood disorders.

“But what really drives me,” she stresses, “is bringing this work to the point where it is helping people—helping to relieve their suffering, improving their prognosis, and decreasing early mortality due to suicide. That’s what guides me first every morning. I have a feeling of not being able to go fast enough, because so many people are suffering and people are losing their lives every day. I feel an urgency in this work.”

Dr. Blumberg, a psychiatrist and clinical researcher, has been on the faculty of the Yale School of Medicine for more than 21 years, for the last 15 years serving as director of the Mood Disorders Research Program. She has been driven to reveal the inner workings of human emotions since she was 16 years old. That was when, as a precocious Hunter College High School student growing up in New York City, she was given her first chance to do research—at Cornell-New York Hospital (now Weill Cornell Medicine).

Dr. Blumberg was editor of a recent special issue of the Journal of Affective Disorders devoted to new research on suicide. In her introductory essay she noted that while it is “a preventable cause of death,” suicide occurs somewhere in the world every 40 seconds, resulting in 800,000 deaths annually. Recently it has been estimated that people suffering from mood disorders have a lifetime risk of suicide 20 times greater than average (in the U.S., the average is 1.4 suicides per 10,000 people). As many as one person in two diagnosed with bipolar disorder makes a suicide attempt during their lifetime.

Read the full article here.

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