|NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
||National Institute of Mental Health|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 20, 2001
or Rayford Kytle
Sen. Arlen Specter, (R) Pennsylvania, and Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, (D) Rhode Island, will deliver keynote speeches at the luncheon. Rep. Kennedy will speak about his personal fight with depression.
Other speakers include Charles Curie, Deputy Secretary, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare; Lydia Lewis, Executive Director, National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association; and Steven A. Schroeder, M.D., President, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Researchers will speak and lead discussions on how depression alters various neurotransmitters, which are critical to the progression of Parkinson's and other neurological diseases. As another example, depression induces stress hormones that can affect the cardiovascular system and is associated with changes in platelet function that may be important in people who have heart disease. Depression's physiological effects also include the suppression of the immune system, which may adversely alter the course of cancer and HIV/AIDS. The interconnections go on, with studies linking depression and obesity and diabetes, as well as intriguing findings showing common genetic patterns in depression and diabetes.
Current treatments provide relief from depression's symptoms which include sadness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed, change in appetite or weight, difficulty sleeping or oversleeping, physical slowing or agitation, energy loss, feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt, difficulty thinking or concentrating, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
The conference will include plenary sessions to share NIMH scientific findings on depression and its treatment, including treatment approaches tailored to the needs of people with co-existing illnesses. Breakout sessions will provide participants an opportunity to discuss ways to diagnose and treat depression that are appropriate to each illness, and how treating depression can improve health outcome for the other illness and quality of life for patients.
For more on the meeting, including registration information and a complete agenda, visit: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/events/pittsburgh.cfm.
NIMH is the Federal agency responsible for supporting and conducting research on mental disorders. NIMH is sponsoring a series of meetings, nationwide, to seek input from the American public about its perceptions of research needs and opportunities. This Forum has been developed in partnership with the Western State Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, patient and professional organizations, universities, and business leaders, as well as state and local agencies. The ideas and questions generated at this meeting will inform NIMH's research priorities and outreach efforts to ensure relevance and responsiveness to America's health needs.
NIMH is one of 25 components that make up the National Institutes of Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For information about NIMH and its programs, please check out our web site at http://www.nimh.nih.gov, or e-mail, write or phone us.