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Publications and honored guests keep research division busy in September

It’s a busy time in the Department of Psychiatry Research Division.

Last month, Dr. Soonjo Hwang and his staff were awarded the University of Nebraska Collaboration Initiative Grant. This grant supports collaborative clinical studies and research efforts among the different institutions under the University of Nebraska. Dr. Hwang has been working with Janelle Beadle, PhD, UNO Department of Gerontology, on a study that focuses on the clinical efficacy of intranasal oxytocin for the caregivers of patients with chronic illnesses, including Alzheimer’s Disease. The goal is to achieve clinically significant improvement in the mood, anxiety, and relational quality of the caregivers who are challenged to provide day-to-day care for patients with chronic illnesses.

Drs. Beadle and Hwang aim to obtain preliminary data from this grant support for a larger grant application in the future to the National Institutes of Health.

While the study continues, recent findings have been published. Dr. Hwang announced this month that the American Journal of Psychiatry will publish an article on the clinical efficacy of intranasal oxytocin for children and adolescents with irritability.

“The American Journal of Psychiatry is one of the most prestigious journals of psychiatry in the world,” Dr. Hwang said.

Dr. Hwang added that this study is the first clinical trial of intranasal oxytocin for this population, potentially leading to future clinical research and indications for this challenging mental health issue. The study has been supported by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and the National Institute of Mental Health by grants awarded to Dr. Hwang, the principal investigator.

Later this month, the research division will welcome Ellen Leibenluft, MD, to campus.

Dr. Leibenluft is a world-renowned child and adolescent psychiatry researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health. On September 22, she will provide an in-person grand round presentation at the Department of Psychiatry. The topic will be “Pediatric Irritability: Review and Update.” She conducted the intramural research division (the mood dysregulation and neuroscience section) of NIMH and contributed to the diagnosis of Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder of DSM-5.

“Dr. Leibenluft is also a strong supporter of the ongoing clinical research projects of the Department of Psychiatry,” said Dr. Hwang.

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