UT Southwestern Researcher Receives National Award for Creating New Method of Classifying Psychosis

Carol Tamminga (photo), M.D., Chairman of Psychiatry at the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center, has received the American Psychiatric Association’s top research award for creating a new system of classifying various forms of psychosis based on biological indicators, and contributing to better understanding their neural mechanisms. The award marks the second straight year a UT Southwestern faculty member has received the American Psychiatric Association Award for Research, the group’s most significant research accolade for a contribution that has had a major impact on the field or altered the practice of psychiatry. Dr. Tamminga was recognized for leading a groundbreaking study that established biologically distinct groups of psychosis patients based on factors such as brain waves, cognitive ability, and damage to brain tissue. The finding, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, provides new methods of identifying schizophrenia, schizoaffective, and bipolar disorders, and goes beyond the traditional standard of diagnosing through clinical observation. Dr. Tamminga said it’s likely these groups will have their own genetic profile and that unique medications might eventually be developed to treat each. “There is a strong enthusiasm throughout our field, and now optimism, for a neural understanding of psychotic illnesses,” said Dr. Tamminga, who holds the Lou and Ellen McGinley Distinguished Chair in Psychiatric Research and the Communities Foundation of Texas, Inc. Chair in Brain Science. Participants in the study, conducted through UT Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, underwent various tests that measured cognition, eye-tracking, brain waves, and loss of brain tissue. By analyzing statistics from these tests, Dr.
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