Friday, May 9, 2014

Lessons from the APA 2014

Last weekend, I presented a workshop and symposium at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting in New York City. This meeting is enormous…as many as 15,000 psychiatrists and researchers come from all over the world to these events. It’s a conservative psychiatric event, with the stress on biology and the evidence-base.  In my residency years I remember fancy pharmaceutical company galas and exhibitions. That is all toned down now, with the companies situated at the back of the exhibition hall, and more prominent in the cabs and buses used to get to the convention center than at the event. The program is enormous, with 250 pdf pages, and the speakers as grand as Bill Clinton last year, and Vice President Biden this year. It’s the largest psychiatric stage in the world. So big, though, that you can get lost in the shuffle. Some great symposiums and workshops are sparsely attended.

Heavy English: 21 Flights (music)

Last year, thanks to the invitation of Drew Ramsey, MD, I was part of a Prescription Brain Food, From Bench to Table workshop that had attendance out the door. The chair of the scientific committee of the APA, Phil Muskin, introduced us, and each presenter had 15 minutes to make a point, with a long Q&A. Drew and I took advantage of the popularity of last year’s workshop to offer both a 1.5 hour workshop and the Evolutionary Psychiatry three hour symposium this year, both of which (much to my surprise, frankly) were accepted as part of the program. Both were heavily attended, the workshop, in a smaller room (250+ people) was filled to the brim, with many people turned away. People were standing at the back of Evolutionary Psychiatry as well, proving that psychiatrists are hungry for alternatives and preventative psychiatry.
The most important part of the weekend was being introduced to the folks from the international sociaety for nutritional psychiatry research. These are the people on the front lines, the masterminds of many of the studies I've discussed in this blog, who are devoting lives and careers to answering the questions about nutrition, the microbiome, and psychiatric disease that we all hold dear. 
But with so many people (and many psychiatrists newly approached) interested in both nutritional psychiatry and evolutionary psychiatry, I thought I should write another “start here” post to get everyone going and not feeling too overwhelmed. So head over to the Psychology Today blog for the basics: