Indeed, APA’s 2001 annual meeting may be the one not to miss. Its theme gets right to the heart of psychiatry’s essence—that combination of art and science on which psychiatrists draw every day as they help their patients regain wellness: "Mind Meets Brain: Integrating Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, Neuroscience." The theme was selected by APA President Daniel Borenstein, M.D. (see page 3).
"I’ve never been to an APA annual meeting that I didn’t like," said Philip R. Muskin, M.D., chair of the Scientific Program Committee. "But what makes this one special? It tries to answer the question, What is that interface between the mind and the brain? That’s something we psychiatrists always struggle with. We work with people, we do psychotherapy, and we give them medication as necessary, but we wonder what is it precisely that makes someone better? What’s happening in his or her brain? There is so much that we simply don’t understand about that interface."
Thus, what this year’s meeting aims to do, Muskin continued, is "engage people to think in ways they may not have thought before—to look at the depth of what humans are: not just chemicals or psychologies, but both."
Here is just a short sampling of the sessions in which various aspects of these intriguing issues will be discussed.
• Eric Kandel, M.D., Ph.D., the co-winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Medicine and winner of this year’s APA Marmor Award, will present the lecture "Genes, Synapses, and Long-Term Memory" on Monday, May 7 at 9 a.m.
• Robert Sapolsky, Ph.D., will present the lecture "Gene Therapy and Its Potential Applications to Psychiatry" on Tuesday, May 8, at 9 a.m. Sapolsky, one of the Frontiers of Science lecturers, is a neuroendocrinologist whose work has focused on such topics as how neuron death can be accelerated by stress and the design of gene therapy strategies to protect endangered neurons from neurological disease.
• Glen Gabbard, M.D., the Bessie Walker Callaway Distinguished Professor of Psychoanalysis and Education at the Karl Menninger School of Psychiatry and Mental Health Sciences in Topeka, Kan., will present "The Impact of Psychotherapy on the Brain" at Symposium 55, "Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy Long-Term Outcome," on Tuesday, May 8, at 2 p.m.
As part of the International Psychiatrist Lecture Series, neuropsychologist Mark L. Solms, Ph.D., will present "An Example of Neuropsychoanalytic Research: The Right Hemisphere Syndrome," also on Tuesday, May 8, at 2 p.m. Solms, of St. Bartholomew’s and Royal London School of Medicine in England, is the author of The Neuropsychology of Dreams.
• Steven Hyman, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health and winner of APA’s Adolf Meyer Award, will present the lecture, "Psychiatric Diagnosis: Are We Prepared for a New Millennium?," on Wednesday, May 9, at 9 a.m.
• Michael Gershon, Ph.D., a neuroscientist and professor of anatomy at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, will present the lecture "Gut Sensation: Serotonin and Brain-Bowel Crosstalk" in the Frontiers of Science Lecture Series on Thursday, May 10, at 9 a.m. His research led to the gut’s being recognized as the body’s "second brain." This enteric nervous system consists of some of the same neurotransmitters found in the central brain, including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
One of the French Quarter’s charms is that the music flows as much inside as outside.
Moreover, Muskin pointed out that the location for this year’s meeting gives members a chance to enjoy a city that uniquely blends the exotic with the genteel amid a diversity of historic and cultural attractions. And few people will be able to resist the lure of the city’s signature restaurants and nightlife, guaranteed to have visitors out till the wee hours of every night of their stay. (Information on many of these attractions appears elsewhere in this issue.)
Even though New Orleans is a major city, it has the feel of a small city, said Muskin, and the location of the convention center adds to that compact feeling. The convention center is on the edge of the French Quarter (home of Bourbon Street), and all the hotels where scientific sessions are being held—as well as many of the hotels where members will be staying—are within walking distance.
"This is one meeting where APA members will definitely not have to rely on shuttle busses to get around—and won’t want to," said Muskin. "Also, members should not be concerned if they don’t stay in one of the large, major hotels near the convention center. Staying in one of the smaller hotels will be more charming and enjoyable but still close to everything."
Because of the city’s numerous attractions, including the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (see page 39), APA members attending the meeting should register and make their hotel reservations immediately.
APA members preparing for their ABPN Part II exam will also want to register as soon as possible for a full-day course cosponsored by APA and McLean Hospital. This course, which will be held Saturday, May 5, will closely follow the format of the oral examination.
Among the outside lecturers expected to be of special interest to meeting goers are Doug Wright and Ray Kurzweil. Wright wrote the screenplay for the film "Quills" based on his play of the same name about the Marquis de Sade. He will present the lecture "Quills: The Marquis on the Marquee" on Wednesday, May 9, at 11 a.m. Kurzweil, a 1999 winner of the National Medal of Technology, was the first to develop a print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, CCD flat-bed scanner, text-to-speech synthesizer, and commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech-recognition system. He will speak on Thursday, May 10, at 9 a.m.
On the lighter side, there’s one session that APA members caught up in the Harry Potter craze—whether because they or a child in their lives can’t resist the work of author J.K. Rowling—won’t want to miss: the forum "Why Harry? Why Now? Understanding the Harry Potter Phenomenon," chaired by Leah J. Dickstein, M.D. It will be held at noon on Monday, May 7.
Those who prefer reality over fantasy can leave the questions about Harry unanswered in favor of another session being held at that same time: "Jazz at Lunch: A Century of Satchmo." This session, chaired by Bruce Raeburn, Ph.D., and Edward K. Rynearson, M.D., will examine the life, musical career, and significance of New Orleans trumpeter and jazz pioneer Louis Armstrong. A sample of audio recordings to illustrate aspects of his musical style and excerpts from oral history interviews will be played.
The Task Force on Local Arrangements is cochaired this year by Edward F. Foulks, M.D., Ph.D. The group has put together an enticing schedule of activities and local tours for meeting goers and their guests, some of which are highlighted on page 39.
"Fortunately, or unfortunately, there is much to see and do in a short period of time at both the annual meeting and in New Orleans," said Muskin. "This is a meeting that promises to be good for both the body and soul." And of course the mind and the brain. ▪