In The News

Randi Schuster, PhD Wins the 2016 Emerson Award
The 2016 Eugene L. Emerson Award is awarded in recognition of an outstanding research paper by an MGH Fellow in Psychology. This year’s recipient is Dr. Randi Melissa Schuster for her 2016 paper with co-authors Hoeppner, Evins and Gilman entitled “Inefficiencies in Learning Underlie Memory Deficits Among Early Onset Marijuana Users.”

Drs. Eden Evins, Randi Schuster and Jodi Gilman Participate in Marijuana and Cannabinoids Summit
The summit focused on the neurological and psychiatric effects of marijuana, other cannabinoids, and the endocannabinoid system and involved contributions by CAM doctors Eden Evins, Randi Schuster and Jodi Gilman. A written summary is available online.

Smoking Cessation Medications Do Not Appear to Increase Risk of Neuropsychiatric Side Effects
The smoking cessation medications varenicline and bupropion do not appear to increase the incidence of serious neuropsychiatric side effects compared to placebo, according to a study published in The Lancet in April, this paper provides details of the FDA-requested study that involved over 8,000 people.

Smoking Cessation Benefits Persist in Spite of Weight Gain in Patients with Mental Illness
The weight gain that can result from quitting smoking does not eliminate the reduction in cardiovascular risks associated with smoking cessation among patients with serious mental illness, at least not during the first year. A report from a Massachusetts General Hospital-based research team, published online in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry describes the results of a one-year trial, though authors say they cannot rule out future health risks associated with continuing weight gain.

Different Responses in the Brains of Young Marijuana Users
study by CAM researchers published in the journal Biological Psychiatry Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging finds that the brains of young adult marijuana users react differently to social exclusion than do those of non-users.

Research on Pot and the Teen Brain
A new CAM study targets young marijuana smokers, focusing on how drug abstinence impacts cognitive skills of teen subjects. An article in Proto, Mass General’s online magazine, looks at the study and others, and talks about how changing laws are creating a more accepting environment for a substance that might have more lasting effects than most people realize.

Videos of Proceedings of the Marijuana and Cannabinoids Summit Now Available
Dr. Evins spoke and Drs. Randi Schuster and Jodi Gilman presented their latest studies at the Neuroscience Research Summit, convened by the National Institutes of Health. The summit focused on the neurological and psychiatric effects of marijuana, other cannabinoids, and the endocannabinoid system. The goal of this summit was to ensure that evidence-based information is available to inform practice and policy, particularly important at this time given the rapidly shifting landscape regarding the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana. View videos from Day 1 and Day 2 online.

For Individuals Diagnosed with Serious Mental Illness, Quitting Smoking Has a Net Benefit
Weight gain is a prominent concern for individuals who quit smoking. While prior research has shown an overall net benefit of quitting smoking even when weight gain is considered, individuals with mental illness are typically not included in this research. According to a recent study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, individuals with serious mental illness, too, such as those diagnosed with schizophrenia, who quit smoking may also have reduced cardiovascular risk compared to similar individuals who do not quit smoking.The study, led by corresponding author Anne Thorndike, MD, MPH, and senior author A. Eden Evins, MD, MPH, was a secondary analysis of a larger clinical trial of the smoking-cessation drug varenicline. The research study examined differences on several cardiovascular risk factors, including weight gain, between patients with serious mental illness who were tobacco-free versus those who had resumed smoking during the 40-week follow-up period. Study authors suggest that these results highlight the health benefits of quitting smoking for individuals with serious mental illness, and also the need to develop and implement integrated smoking cessation treatments that have a broader focus on well-being, including diet, exercise, and other behavioral health interventions.

Center Awarded $10 Million to Help Patients with Serious Mental Illness Quit Smoking
The Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital has been awarded $10 million from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study the effectiveness of two practical approaches to improve the health of people with mental illness in the community. The project will test whether tailored education to primary care doctors alone or combined with community health workers will help those with mental illness quit smoking. More than 1,100 patients at 50 Boston area community health clinics will be involved. CAM Director Eden Evins, MD, MPH, will oversee the study and the largest research award the Center has received since its establishment in 2005. Bay Cove Human Services, Inc. is a lead partner on the project with Massachusetts General Hospital. Sally Reyering, MD, Medical Director for Mental Health Services at Bay Cove Human Services will partner with Dr. Evins to oversee the clinical component of this study, which will be led by Bay Cove Human Services and Vinfen, two of the largest mental health service providers in the Commonwealth.

 

Read more of the latest news from the Center for Addiction Medicine.

 

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