Mental Health Disorders in Prison: Neuroethical and Societal Issues

Guest post by Barbara Sahakian, FMedSci, DSc, a professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, and president of the International Neuroethics Society.

INS LogoMore than half of all prison and jail inmates have a mental health problem.[i] In addition, according to a 2010 report released by the Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriffs’ Association,[ii] more mentally ill persons are in jails and prisons than in hospitals, and many of those remain untreated. Those in prison have a higher risk of substance abuse, and suicide rates are four to five times higher than within the general population.[iii] Deaths are also increased upon release, with the most common reasons being drug overdose, cardiovascular disease, homicide, and suicide.[iv]

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Dana News E-Blast: July

Below is yesterday’s Dana News email blast. You can sign up to receive this (and other Dana email alerts and/or print publications) by going here.

The Power of Tau

july eblastby Patrick F. Sullivan, MD, FRANZCP

In July 2014, an international consortium of schizophrenia researchers mounted the largest biological experiment in the history of psychiatry. Now, with many more avenues for exploring the biological underpinnings of schizophrenia available to neuroscientists, hope may be on the way for the estimated 1 in 100 people worldwide affected by the illness. From Cerebrum, our online magazine of ideas. Also check out a Q&A with Dr. Sullivan.

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The Global Brain Awareness Week Photo Gallery

Brain Awareness Week (BAW) headquarters may be here in New York, but BAW is very much a global campaign: More than half the events during the week occur outside the United States. Our BAW Partners come from all corners of the world, from the Netherlands to Nepal. After each Brain Awareness Week campaign in March we publish a series of posts called BAW Across the Continents, highlighting events from every continent but Antarctica. You can read the posts from BAW 2015 on our Partner Spotlight page.

Brain Awareness Week hosted by NeuroMalaysia Society in Malaysia, BAW 2015

Brain Awareness Week hosted by NeuroMalaysia Society in Malaysia, BAW 2015

Perhaps the best way to truly see the global nature of Brain Awareness Week is through the BAW Photo Gallery. For more photos like these, be sure to check out the 2015 gallery.

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The Science Behind Fear and Anxiety

In a packed theater at the Rubin Museum last Wednesday, Joseph LeDoux, Ph.D., and Mark Epstein, M.D., shared the stage to untangle the mysteries behind two emotions that we are all too familiar with: anxiety and fear. Epstein is a psychiatrist in New York City, who blends Buddhist practices with his work in psychotherapy. Ledoux directs the Emotional Brain Institute of New York University, where he is also University Professor.

Epstein (left) and LeDoux (right) Photo by Lyn Hughes, courtesy Rubin Museum of Art

Epstein (left) and LeDoux (right) Photo by Lyn Hughes, courtesy of the Rubin Museum of Art

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Focused Ultrasound: How Sound Can Heal Your Brain

Amanda Buch with focused ultrasound equipment.  Photo courtesy of Buch

Amanda Buch with focused ultrasound equipment. Photo courtesy of Buch

What do bubbles, sound waves, and Michael J. Fox have in common?

I found the answer during a presentation at the Columbia University Medical Center.  Amanda Buch, a Bridge to Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering and neuroscience at the university, revealed the common denominator in the Late Night Science talk, “Focused Ultrasound: How Sound Can Heal Your Brain.” Continue reading


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