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March 20, 2006

Discussion of Depression and Its Treatments To Be Held on April 19

Demons of the Mind: 21st Century Science vs. Depression

William Safire, New York Times columnist and chairman of the Dana Foundation, will moderate a discussion on "Demons of the Mind: 21st Century Science vs. Depression" at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19, in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

Participants in the program are Carl Elliott, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and philosophy at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Bioethics, and Steven E. Hyman, M.D., provost of Harvard University and professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School.

Some of the questions they may address include:

  • Where are we in our understanding of depression?
  • Is today’s rush to antidepressants good medicine or good business?
  • What are the benefits and risks of using medical technologies to treat problems of mental health?
  • How can society make sure that the desperately ill, as well as those less debilitated, are getting the treatments they need?
  • When can we expect new and more effective therapies?

Elliott is the author or editor of six books, including "Better Than Well—American Medicine Meets the American Dream" (2004) and "A Philosophical Disease: Bioethics, Culture and Identity" (1998). He was trained in both philosophy and medicine, and in his writings he often delves into the ethical and philosophical questions that shape medical practice.

Hyman is a noted neuroscientist and author whose laboratory research focuses on how the neurotransmitter dopamine produces long-term changes in brain function by regulating the expression of genes. Earlier in his career, he served as director of the National Institute of Mental Health and director of psychiatry research at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The public discussion, held in conjunction with a private two-day conference, is sponsored by the Dana Foundation, the Heinz Family Philanthropies, the National Institute of Mental Health and the Office of Scholarly Programs at the Library of Congress.

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PR 06-066
ISSN 0731-3527

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