This week on Mind the Brain, Dr. Epperson is joined by Dr. Tracy Bale, Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Director of the Center for Epigenetic Research in Child Health and Brain Development. Dr. Bale and Dr. Epperson discuss early childhood stress, and the benefits of using mouse models to study stress responses neuroscientific and psychiatric research.
This week on Mind the Brain, Dr. Epperson is joined by Dr. Helen L. Coons, a board-certified clinical health psychologist. Dr. Coons is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at CU Anschutz and the Clinical Director for the Women's Behavioral Health and Wellness Service Line. For the past two decades, she has collaborated with healthcare providers to treat women and couples coping with infertility and other health and mental health concerns. On this episode, Dr. Epperson shares a riveting conversation with Dr. Coons about her work with patients experiencing fertility challenges, and discuss the impact of infertility and fertility treatment on women’s health and emotional well-being.
On this episode of Mind the Brain, Dr. Epperson is joined by Dr. Kent Hutchison to discuss Cannabidiol (or CBD) research. Dr. Hutchison is a professor at the CU Anschutz Department of Psychiatry, and also works as an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in their Psychology and Neuroscience department. He is affiliated with the CU-Boulder Institute of Cognitive Science, where he conducts research on combining neuroimaging, epigenetic, pharmacological, and clinical perspectives to develop more effective addiction intervention and prevention strategies. Most recently, he is conducting alcohol and cannabis research, neuroimaging, and blood-based biomarkers under one conceptual framework that emphasizes the cannabinoids, endocannabinoids, inflammation, and the brain. On this episode, Dr. Epperson and Dr. Hutchison discuss CBD research in Psychiatry.
This week on Mind the Brain, Dr. Epperson is joined by Emmaly Perks and Lily Luo – the directors behind the CU Psychiatry PURPLE program. PURPLE stands for Psychiatry Undergraduate Research Program and Learning Experience, and is designed to introduce young people to the field of mental health by encouraging participation in supervised research activities. On this episode, Dr. Epperson and her guests talk about this program and how it has opened a pathway to careers in medicine for many students.
On this new episode of Mind the Brain, Dr. Neill Epperson is joined by Dr. Winnie Hunter. Dr. Hunter is a Senior Instructor and Clinical Psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, and the lead therapist for the Women's Sexual Health Consultation Service within the CU Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. On this episode, Dr. Epperson and Dr. Hunter discuss all things sexual health: what is it? How do we get it? How do we know when we have it? How do we maintain it?
This week on Mind the Brain, Dr. Neill Epperson is joined by Drs. Thida Thant and Rose Mauch. Dr. Thant is the director of the University of Colorado Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Service and the Psychiatric Consultation for the Medically Complex clinic. She has expertise in the evaluation and management of psychiatric symptoms in the context of medical and neurological illness. Dr. Mauch is currently a 3rd year psychiatry resident at the University of Colorado, and is interested in how long-term effects of early childhood trauma on psychiatric and medical illness. Together, they discuss a phenomenon many of us have experienced – a phenomenon called ‘pandemic brain.’
This week on Mind the Brain, Dr. Neill Epperson is joined by Dr. Robert Werthwein, Director of the Office of Behavioral Health at the Colorado Department of Human Services, to talk about the work of Colorado’s Behavioral Health Task Force and behavioral health reform efforts in our state.
On this episode of Mind the Brain, Dr. Neill Epperson has a conversation with Dr. Joseph Schacht about neuroimaging in clinical research, the part that genetics play in alcohol and substance use disorders, and how genetics can be used to target treatments for these disorders.
On this episode of Mind the Brain, Dr. Neill Epperson talks with Dr. Vincent Atchity (President and CEO of Mental Health Colorado) about the need to advance community mental health support systems and why brain health is imperative to a healthy and abundant life.
On this episode of Mind the Brain, Dr. Neill Epperson explores the intersection of breast cancer and brain health with her two guests: Dr. Anosheh Afghahi, the Medical Director of the Hereditary Cancer Program at the University of Colorado and an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the division of Medical Oncology, and Dr. Kristi Wilson, a breast cancer survivor—and one of Dr. Afghahi’s patients.
On this episode of Mind the Brain, Dr. Michelle West, the Director of the Program for Early Assessment, Care, and Study (PEACS) here in our Department of Psychiatry and the University of Colorado, talks to Dr. Neill Epperson about joining the Department of Psychiatry and starting PEACS mid-pandemic, and how to assess for and treat early psychosis.
On this premiere episode of Mind the Brain Season two, Chancellor Marks talks with Dr. Neill Epperson about what makes CU Denver’s student body unique—and uniquely vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19—and how faculty and staff can support their students through extreme crisis while still taking care of their own stress.
Resilience – it’s what we are all searching for during this season of unprecedented uncertainty. In this week’s episode, Dr. Neill Epperson speaks with Dr. Anne Dondapati Allen to gain her insight on connecting with our inner resilience.
In our second episode of the new season, we discuss why some Americans may be hesitant to get COVID-19 vaccines and strategies for effectively addressing concerns related to new vaccines. Dr. Neill Epperson discusses these various barriers to participation in an insightful conversation with Dr. Chad Morris.
Dr. Neill Epperson is joined by family and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, Laura McGladrey. Together they reassess our definition of “thriving” as we continue to live through uncertainty and a rapidly changing reality.
You’ve probably heard people say that a healthy gut equals a healthy mind. But what does this actually mean and what can we learn from this in the time of COVID-19? In this episode, Dr. Neill Epperson explores how to mind our microbiome-gut-brain axis with Dr. Christoper Lowry, an Associate Professor in both the Department of Integrative Physiology at UC Boulder and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Center for Neuroscience here on the Anschutz Medical Campus.
We can all agree that 2020 has been a real mess. The novel coronavirus pandemic has caused immense disruption to our daily routines, social connections, family relationships, working and academic goals, and plans for the future. In this episode, Dr. Epperson talks with Dr. Roselinde Kaiser, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at UC Boulder, about what brain science can teach us about adolescent stress and resilience
During a global pandemic, it comes as no surprise that getting good sleep can feel difficult. Decreased sleep quality and quantity including difficulty falling and staying asleep, sleeping too much, distressing dreams and sometimes nightmares are common during times of stress and the current period of prolonged urgency, uncertainty and heightened work/life demands. The following are concrete suggestions to help improve sleep during this challenging time.
Fear and anxiety keep us safe from harm – they prevent us from running into the street when a car comes racing toward us, and motivate us to prepare well for a presentation we’re nervous to give. But fear and anxiety can also spiral into uncontrollable worry, endless internet searching, and avoiding valued life activities that connect us with the people we love. How do we harness the positive features of fear and anxiety without becoming trapped by their risks?
We all know we live in challenging and uncertain times. The Renée Crown Wellness Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder was established with a commitment to the vision of a world in which every young person thrives, supported by the caring relationships and inner resources required for a lifetime of wellness. The last few months have challenged this vision in profound ways. The pandemics of the coronavirus and systemic racism call upon us with urgency to attend to our individual and collective mental health and wellness.
Anxiety helps us stay vigilant for potential future threats, and the COVID-19 pandemic brings with it significant uncertainty. We certainly expected a spike in reports of anxiety symptoms like worries, fear, irritability, and low mood in the children and adolescents we care for in the clinic and our homes.
These are uncertain times, and uncertainty is familiar territory for people living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD sufferers have more difficulty tolerating uncertainty and are more likely to feel uncertain in situations where others would not (1, 2). Compulsions are driven by the quest for certainty.
Have you seen these sorts of social media posts? Society has framed the quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic as a recipe for disaster; being stuck at home, close to snacks with nothing to do but sit around. Weight loss, working out and dieting are being pushed as necessities to help you come out of this pandemic feeling refreshed and renewed. Ideas like these ignore the fact that this is not a vacation, and that while we may have extra time on our hands, it does not mean that we have the bandwidth or the finances to cook, eat healthy or work out regularly. For many of us, our routines—and the feelings of security that go with them—have disappeared, and this can cause a disruption in eating patterns and self-image.
Late last year, a collaboration of organizations focused on maternal health made the declaration that 2020 would be the “Year of the Mother.” While this announcement was already timely in many ways, it is unlikely that anyone anticipated what was to come in 2020, and how a global pandemic would impact pregnant and postpartum women.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unusual kind of natural disaster, but like other natural disasters, we are anticipating a high number of casualties. Unlike earthquakes and floods, these casualties will accumulate more slowly and, as a result, will be less visible. Building codes, evacuation plans and other disaster preparedness efforts have limited loss of life in recent natural disasters in the United States, but infectious diseases are more complex. Epidemics are not simple events in one geographic area with immediate damage and subsequent relief efforts mounted from other areas. Global travel and supply chains have spread the effects in ways that reduce the ability of other neighboring regions to provide disaster relief. The novelty of COVID-19 prevents the government and others from responding with as much confidence.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new stressors into everyone’s lives. It can be tempting to pour a glass of wine or grab a beer to help cope. However, during this public health crisis, what are the ramifications in regards to alcohol use and alcoholism?
I talk (over video chat) to many students in the healthcare professions through my position at Student and Resident Mental Health at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. Since the COVID-19 pandemic and its requirement for social distancing began in mid-March, a common theme in our conversations has appeared. These once ambitious, hardworking, stoic doers are surprised they can’t engage themselves in activities, despite having all this free time on their hands.