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Columbia leads national effort to develop early intervention for schizophrenia
Date:7/21/2009

NEW YORK (July 21, 2009) Columbia University Medical Center's Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., a renowned expert in the field of schizophrenia, has been selected by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) of the National Institutes of Health as principal investigator of a nationwide effort to develop an optimal early intervention strategy for treating people experiencing a first episode of the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia.

Research has shown that early treatment can alter the course of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders by dramatically slowing progression; reducing disability, mortality, and the expense of care; and increasing recovery. The Recovery After Initial Schizophrenic Episode (RAISE) study, funded at $9.9 million for two years, has the potential to be extended to six years and a total of $21.3 million if certain milestones are met.

"This award will enable researchers to demonstrate how a strategically timed intervention at the onset of symptoms can prevent the debilitating effects of one of humankind's most devastating and costly mental disorders," says Dr. Lieberman, the Lawrence E. Kolb Professor and chairman, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; director, New York State Psychiatric Institute; and director, Lieber Center for Schizophrenia Research. "This is a unique and historic opportunity to bring, more rapidly than we could have imagined, research and clinical efforts to bear on the question of how to reduce the burden to patient, family and society of this devastating disease."

Dr. Lieberman will lead a team of researchers from Columbia University Medical Center, the University of Maryland; University of North Carolina, UCLA, Dartmouth College and Harvard University.

Lisa B. Dixon, M.D., MPH, professor of psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine; associate director of research for the Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinica
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Contact: Elizabeth Streich
eas2125@columbia.edu
212-305-6535
Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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