Posts Tagged ‘research’

NCDEU 2012

June 13th, 2012

I just attended the annual NCDEU meeting—this year in Phoenix, AZ. NCDEU stands for New Clinical Drug Evaluation Unit (formerly ECDEU, Early Clinical Drug Evaluation Unit) These are now meaningless acronyms, but it was originally a symposium of clinical psychopharmacology researchers funded by NIMH. NIMH has recently relinquished “ownership” of the meeting to the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology, but it, along with its sister institutes NIDA and NIAAA as well as the FDA, retains a partnership stake and roll [?a role] in the program.

No one was certain how this meeting, which many of us are devoted to, would survive the transition from NIMH’s leadership. But this year’s program, with ASCP in the lead, was a sparkling success: in attendance, participation, enthusiasm and—most of all—groundbreaking science.

Meetings evolve. ECDEU/NCDEU began as a methods-focused conclave in the early days of biological psychiatry. Over the decades, it evolved to incorporate understanding of brain function, psychosocial interventions, and combined treatments. NCDEU became a unique assembly of industry, government, and university scientists, regulators, teachers, and clinicians. The papers, posters, and panels contained cutting-edge information, but much of the spark came in the informal conversations, from which flowed new research ideas and collaborations.

This year’s agenda included news on innovative treatments and new data on old techniques and agents. A bold new diagnostic methodology, the NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) is shifting the focus from DSM categories to dimensions and traits, in the hope of mapping disorders to biological underpinnings and the human genome. Whether—and when—this will bear fruit in furthering understanding of brain disorders and creating new and personalized treatments remains to be seen. It could take years or even decades to unfold.

-Alan J. Gelenberg, M.D.
Editor, Biological Therapies in Psychiatry
Shively/Tan Professor and Chair, Psychiatry, Penn State University
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry


Overall, the information imparted at NCDEU 2012 was invigorating, and the energy in the meeting has never been higher. With the disclosure that I sit on ASCP’s board and have an abiding passion for its mission and NCDEU’s future, I encourage my faculty members and BTP readers to think about ASCP membership and attending NCDEU. BTP (and the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry) are partners with ASCP, which is a dynamic and growing organization. Coming away from this year’s meeting, I am very optimistic about psychiatry’s future.

ACNP Musings

December 8th, 2010

Attending the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology is always a heady experience. The membership and guests are among the most brilliant humans anywhere, and I am invigorated that so many devote their lives to explicating the brain’s mysteries.

Here in a chilly South Florida, there is much about which to be optimistic. Presenters are young scientists, insuring a continuing pipeline of talent to the labors of cracking the code of brain diseases. And the science and its promise are rich and exhilarating.

But there is fodder for the pessimists and worriers too. Whither healthcare reform, with its promise of extending and rationalizing health care, of stopping discrimination against the mentally ill? And what will happen to the NIH budget, which nourishes the science and scientists on whom we vest our hopes for a better future? Big pharmaceutical companies are pulling back from psychiatric research and products. Where will that leave us over the decades to come?

There is cause for hope. And worry.

- Alan J. Gelenberg, M.D.
Biological Therapies in Psychiatry
Professor and Chair, Psychiatry, Penn State University
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry