Author Archive

A New Way to Study Hallucinations: The RDoC

“Not to worry, Robin. They’ve got no idea.” Startled, I look around to see who was speaking. I find no one. Was that just a thought? No. Someone is definitely talking directly to me. It is someone in the room, not in my mind. It is someone next to me, or behind me. But who is it? And where is he? Why can’t I see him? “Who are you?” I whisper. “Don’t be afraid. They’ve got no idea.” “Where are you? Why can’t I see you?” I ask silently. “You can’t see me because I don’t want to be seen.”  “Who –“ “Pay attention! Your parents have no idea who you’re dealing with!” Oh my God, it has to be Satan! He is not only putting thoughts in my mind — now he is also talking directly to me in his own voice! My skin itches and I begin to […]

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Cure Alliance Debuts Campaign At National Rally For Recovery

By Robin Cunningham By the end of the event, we were all exhausted and a bit giddy. Cure Alliance for Mental Illness went to the National Rally4Recovery on 21 September 2013 in Providence, Rhode Island, and our booth  was a measurable success. All the hard work of Cure Alliance supporter Tom Monahan, founder of ad agency creative powerhouse Leonard/Monahan, and our Communications Director Alden Bumstead had paid off. We were supported by enthusiastic volunteers, many from a business school class at Johnson & Wales University that has adopted Cure Alliance as their senior marketing project. Supporters Dr. Anne Whitaker and her husband, Dr. Mark Bear, a leading brain researcher at MIT, stayed all afternoon and competed fiercely to gather the most signatures for our petition calling for more mental illness research. We had the opportunity to meet Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, R.I. congressman Jim Langevin, and advocacy stalwart Patrick […]

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Research Priorities at NIMH

by Robin Cunningham On February 8, 2013, I attended the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) Alliance for Research Progress Meeting held at NIMH Headquarters in the Neuroscience Center, Rockville, MD.  The purpose of these semi-annual meetings is to assist advocacy organizations in staying abreast of current and on-going research into the causes, treatments, prevention and cures for the various brain disorders, including mental illnesses, for which they advocate. The organizations at the meeting represent a wide array of brain disorders, but Cure Alliance for Mental Illness was the only non-profit in attendance that focuses its efforts entirely on advocating for increased funding for research for all mental illnesses. More information about this February 8th meeting, including an agenda, a summary of the presentations made, and a list of attendees, is available at the NIMH website. Thomas R. Insel, M.D., director of the NIMH, gave a presentation entitled “The State […]

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Schizophrenia: Change is Afoot . . .

I was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1956 at thirteen years of age and have lived successfully with this brain disorder for well over 50 years.  Many members of my father’s family had schizophrenia, but I was the first to receive “best practice treatment” over the entire course of my illness, consisting of early intervention, continuity of treatment, medications, and cognitive therapy. This comprehensive treatment approach is rarely available to people with schizophrenia even now. By most standards, I have been successful in my life, particularly in my business career, where I have held senior executive positions with a number of large international corporations and have been instrumental in the formation of several new ventures. People with schizophrenia are not expected to lead such high-achieving lives. In a New York Times opinion piece, Elyn Saks, (a law professor at University of Southern California and winner of a Macarthur “genius” award) writes […]

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30,000 Brain Scientists!

By Robin Cunningham On Thursday, October 11, Hakon Heimer and I flew from Providence, RI and Pennington, NJ, respectively, to New Orleans for the annual conference of the Society for Neuroscience (Neuroscience 2012). Hakon attends each year in his capacity as editor of Schizophrenia Research Forum, to gather the latest news on brain research, but for me it was an eye-opening, first-time experience.  A huge conference The annual Neuroscience conference is the biggest deal in the brain world.  More than 30,000 researchers and sundry others involved in neuroscience come from all over.  There are only a few convention centers in the U.S. that are big enough to handle such numbers.  The one time that I walked from one end of the convention center to the other it seemed to me a long trip indeed! Even with that many in attendance there were precious few standing around in the lobbies killing […]

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