Sep 24, 2019

Will antidepressants work? Brain acvtivity can help predict

Scope | Stanford Medicine

"You, or someone you care about, probably take an antidepressant -- given that one in eight Americans do. Despite this widespread use, many experts question whether these drugs even work. Studies have shown that antidepressants are only slightly more effective than a placebo for treating depression."

Sep 04, 2019

The Ethics of Neurotechnology

Nature Biotechnology

A discussion of the ethical issues associated with decoding and modulating brain function.

Jun 11, 2019

PTSD Includes Physical Symptoms. Here Are Some Of Them.


Post-traumatic stress disorder doesn't just take a toll on mental health ― it causes bodily harm, too.

May 16, 2019

Identifying treatment-resistant PTSD


Amit Etkin, of Stanford University, and colleagues measured the dynamics of the brain at rest in a group of patients with PTSD and found that those who had trouble remembering a list of words also showed a different pattern of brain activation within the ventral attention network. 

Jan 29, 2019

Spotlight: Stanford Psychiatry Faculty Among the Most Highly Cited in the World

Stanford Medicine | Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

We are proud to celebrate faculty members in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences who have been included in Clarivate Analytics 2018 Highly Cited Researcher’s list – a testament to the breadth, scope and impact of their work.

Nov 06, 2018

Your smartphone may know more about your mental health than you

World Economic Forum

Given how much of our lives are lived through smartphones, our daily ‘digital exhaust’ is a rich source of information about us.

Jun 04, 2018

Dealing with Trauma

NIH | News in Health

Recovering From Frightening Events

May 29, 2018

Can This Brain Magnet Treat PTSD?

Daily Beast

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is among the latest, most promising—though controversial—methods of helping people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Feb 20, 2018

Brain Signature Predicts Who Benefits from Exposure Therapy

Brain & Behavior

In the study, led by Amit Etkin, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University, a 2012 Young Investigator, 66 people with PTSD completed tasks requiring them to regulate their emotions. For example, one task involved ignoring emotions triggered by fearful faces and instead identifying the artificial tint of the picture. In another task, the participants were instructed to try to reduce their emotional response by interpreting a negative emotional scene differently.

Oct 05, 2017

Amit Etkin Wins the Pioneer Award!!


Five researchers receive NIH funding for innovative projects.

Jul 19, 2017

Brain Imaging Offers Clues About PTSD Patients Most Likely to Benefit From Prolonged Exposure Therapy

American Psychiatric Association

Brain imaging may be able to predict patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who are most likely to benefit from the trauma-focused psychotherapy known as prolonged exposure.

Jul 18, 2017

Imaging Pinpoints Brain Circuits Changed by PTSD Therapy


Using brain imaging to track the effects of treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), scientists have identified a brain circuit on which a frequently used and effective psychotherapy (prolonged exposure) acts to quell symptoms. The findings help explain why the neural circuit identified is a promising target for additional treatment development, including brain stimulation therapies.

Jul 18, 2017

Brain scans shown to predict how well PTSD patients respond to therapy

Stanford Medicine

Using neuroscience to help determine the best treatment plans for patients with psychiatric conditions -- everything from depression to anxiety to bipolar disorder -- is a growing area of research in a field that is in desperately in need of better treatments for patients.

Jun 25, 2016

To Diagnose Mental Illness, Read the Brain

Scientific American

Rather than relying on symptoms, scientists are developing a “brain circuits first” approach to mental health. 

May 17, 2017

Shared brain region losses across six mental illnesses

DocNovo News

Neuroscientists at Stanford University say six major psychiatric disorders are linked to loss of brain matter in three distinct brain regions, all involved in higher cognitive functions including self-control and in certain types of memory.

Oct 19, 2016

Veteran’s Brains May Help Unlock PTSD Mysteries


Patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may soon have access to personalized treatments thanks to a collaboration announced Friday between Stanford Medicine and Cohen Veterans Bioscience.

Jul 28, 2016

Brain Stimulation + Imaging Pack Dual Punch to Treat, Unravel Depression Circuitry

The DANA Foundation

Amit Etkin responds to why depression is difficult to treat. 

Jun 29, 2015

Fixing the Neural Circuit to Combat Mental Illness

Psychology Today

He (Amit Etkin) believes the core problem is not in overabundance or lack of chemicals in the brain, but a broken neural circuit. Medication masks the symptoms of mental illness, but does nothing to repair the circuitry of the brain. Etkin believes Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) combined with other therapies can actually repair the brain.

Jun 10, 2015

Searching For Home: Coming Back from War


Stanford bioengineer, Russell Toll, uses his experience in Iraq to improve research of TBI and PTSD.

Jun 03, 2015

Building a Brain

Stanford News

Computers will one day match our own mental agility; learning, navigating and performing complex interactions all on scant power. But getting to that point will require neuroscientists and engineers to reverse engineer our least understood organ—the brain.

Apr 29, 2015

Can Technology Help Treat Depression?


What are we learning about our brain and mental health? Amit Etkin, MD, PhD,  assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, spoke on that topic as part of an expert panel at the Association of Health Care Journalists annual conference last week. WebMD spoke to Etkin about how technology is helping us learn more about the causes and treatment of depression and other mental illness.

Feb 04, 2015

Study: Many Mental Disorders Affect Same Brain Regions


Etkin and his team wanted to know if common psychiatric disorders have a common structure in the brain so they filtered through almost 200 structural brain imaging studies of over 7,000 people with schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, addiction, obsessive-compulsive, or anxiety, as well as over 8,500 people who were not diagnosed with any disorder.

Feb 04, 2015

Scientists find similar brain matter loss in multiple mental disorders

FOX News | Health

Psychiatric disorders are widely perceived to be distinct, but new research indicates patients show similar gray-matter loss, which suggests that conditions like schizophrenia and depression have more in common than previously thought.

Feb 04, 2015

Many Mental Disorders Affect Same Brain Regions


For the past four decades, psychiatrists have diagnosed mental disorders according to a checklist of symptoms specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), said Dr. Amit Etkin, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at Stanford University and senior author of the study, published today (Feb. 4) in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry.

Feb 02, 2015

Davos 2015 Wrap-Up: Get Ready for Breakthroughs About the Brain


"What scientists have thought of as chemical imbalances may really be circuit problems. So scientists are now investigating bipolar disorder and depression as circuit problems — and what this may mean for treatment. If we know the circuits involved, we may be able to intervene in more successful and targeted ways." -Amit Etkin

Jan 23, 2015

Stanford neuroscientists at World Economic Forum discuss interdisciplinary approaches to tackling brain diseases


Stanford University faculty formed a panel today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss their interdisciplinary approach to tackling major health challenges like stroke, neurodegenerative diseases and mental health conditions.

Nov 25, 2014

Stanford scientists seek to map origins of mental illness and develop noninvasive treatment

Stanford News

An interdisciplinary team of scientists has convened to map the origins of mental illnesses in the brain and develop noninvasive technologies to treat the conditions. The collaboration could lead to improved treatments for depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Nov 05, 2014

Medical tests for PTSD and TBI not far off


Using brain imaging, Dr. Amit Etkin, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, has found that compared to individuals without post-traumatic stress, patients with that condition have above-average activity in the portion of the brain responsible for creating and storing memories, the amygdala, and below-average activity in the portion that congtrols social behavior and expression, the medial prefrontal cortex, as a response to fear-inducing stimulus.

Oct 02, 2014

SNI Big Ideas Grant Winners

Stanford News

Public policies for addiction, smarter prosthetics and stroke among the Big Ideas tackled by Stanford neuroscientists.

Aug 19, 2014

Psychiatrists split on whether to ditch DSM


Using what's called fMRI, or functional magnetic resonance imagining, Dr Etkin has been working to measure the activity of the brain and link it to particular behaviour.

Aug 17, 2014

Future directions for psychiatry


An interview with Dr. Etkin and Antony Funnell from Radio National discussing the future of psychiatry.

Jun 17, 2014

Shining Light on Madness

MIT Technology Review

Drugs for psychiatric illnesses aren’t very effective. But new research is offering renewed hope for better medicines.

Nov 18, 2013

Scientists define brain network behind attention, daydreaming

Los Angeles Times

Researchers used trans-cranial magnetic stimulation devices, similar to these, to figure out how the brain's executive and attention network tamp down the mind's inward focus, a key network in PTSD, depression, autism and other disorders. 

Aug 17, 2012

PTSD Isn't Just A War Wound; Teens Suffer, Too


Though post-traumatic stress disorder is often associated with war veterans, many sufferers have yet to finish high school.

Mar 01, 2012


Stanford Medicine

In-depth article describing changes in the field of psychiatry to incorporate neuroscience and the importance of brain imaging to optimize existing and novel treatments, such as TMS, psychotherapy, and cognitive training.

Sep 22, 2011

New brain imaging could improve PTSD treatments

ABC7 News

It is estimated that 20 percent of returning U.S. troops will suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or major depression. Research on how best to deal with PTSD is critical as those numbers are expected to grow with more troops coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Here is a look at some new brain imaging research underway at the Palo Alto VA.

Apr 25, 2011

Searching for better PTSD treatments

Stanford Medicine

During a recent conversation with Amit Etkin, MD, PhD, about treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, the Stanford psychiatrist explained to me that "the situation is quite dire." The only effective treatment (.pdf) for PTSD is a specialized type of therapy called exposure-based psychotherapy - but research has shown that its fails to help a good chunk of patients. And there is little evidence that medication is helpful.

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