The International Course on Electroconvulsive Therapy

singapore, Singapore
Sunday, March 01, 2015

Dr. Harold A. Sackeim  Chair of the Course, Columbia University, NY, NY, USA
Dr. Mark S. George 
Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA
Dr. Colleen Loo  University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Dr. Ziad Nahas
  American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
Dr. Pascal Sienaert 
KU Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven), Leuven, Belgium

Harold A. Sackeim, PhD
Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Radiology
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University
Emeritus Chief, Department of Biological Psychiatry New York State Psychiatric Institute
Founding Editor, Brain Stimulation: Basic, Translational and Clinical Research in Neuromodulation

Brief Professional Biography

Dr. Harold A. Sackeim is currently Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry and Radiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.  He served as Chief of the Department of Biological Psychiatry at the New York State Psychiatric Institute for 25 years. He is also the founding Editor of the journal, Brain Stimulation: Basic, Translational, and Clinical Research in Neuromodulation.  He received his first B.A. from Columbia College, Columbia University (1972), another B.A. and a M.A. from Magdalen College, Oxford University (1974) and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (1977), where he also completed his clinical training in the Department of Psychiatry. He joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1977, where he remains today.

His research has concentrated on the neurobiology and treatment of mood disorders. He has made numerous contributions to the understanding of pathophysiology of major depression and mania through use of brain imaging techniques and by examining the role of lateralization of brain function in normal emotion, neurological disorders, and psychiatric illness. For 30 years, he led the clinical research on electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. This work has identified fundamental factors in this treatment that are responsible for its efficacy and side effects, and has radically altered understanding of both therapeutics and mechanisms of action. This research program has provided compelling evidence regarding the localization of the brain circuits involved in antidepressant effects, and has revamped understanding of the underpinnings of ECT’s effects on mood, behavior, and cognition. Dr. Sackeim is widely credited with transforming the use of this treatment worldwide.

Dr. Sackeim has directed programs at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and New York Presbyterian Hospital in the pharmacological treatment of late-life depression, and in the use of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS), Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and other forms of focal brain stimulation. Dr. Sackeim is the inventor of Magnetic Seizure Therapy (MST), now undergoing clinical trials in the US and Europe, and has recently developed FEAST (Focal Electrically-Administered Seizure Therapy) and FEAT (Focal Electrically-Administered Therapy), new forms of brain stimulation undergoing evaluation as therapeutic modalities in neurological and psychiatric conditions. Dr. Sackeim introduced functional brain imaging to the medical center at Columbia in 1980, and directed a large group using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to study pathophysiology and treatment effects in mood disorders, anxiety disorders, Lyme disease, substance abuse, Alzheimer’s disease, and normal aging. Other recent work directed by Dr. Sackeim involved preclinical, primate research on the functional significance of structural brain changes induced by different forms of brain stimulation.  

Dr. Sackeim is a member of the editorial board of several other journals, and has received many national and international awards for his research contributions. These include three Distinguished Investigator Awards from the National Association for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression, a MERIT Award from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Joel Elkes International Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, election as Honorary Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and the Award for Research Excellence from the New York State Office of Mental Hygiene, Edward Smith Lectureship, National Institute of Psychobiology, Israel, the lifetime achievement award form the EEG and CNS Society, and the NARSAD Maddox Falcone Prize, for lifetime achievement in research on affective disorders. He is past President of the Society of Biological Psychiatry and the Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease. He has authored more than 425 publications.

Mark S. George, MD
Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Radiology and Neurosciences
Layton McCurdy Endowed Chair
Director, Brain Stimulation Laboratory, (BSL)
Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, SC
Editor-in-Chief, Brain Stimulation

Brief Professional Biography

As an undergraduate student in philosophy at Davidson College in Davidson, NC, Dr. George first began studying the relationship between mind and brain, or brain/behavior relationships.  He has continued this interest throughout his career with a focus on using brain imaging and brain stimulation to understand depression and devise new treatments.

He received his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston in 1985, where he continued with dual residencies in both neurology and psychiatry. He is board certified in both areas. Following his residency training he worked for one year (1990-91) as a Visiting Research Fellow in the Raymond Way Neuropsychiatry Research Group at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London, England. During his fellowship he wrote one of the first textbooks in the new area of brain activation and imaging.

He then moved to Washington, DC, working with Dr. Robert Post in the Biological Psychiatry Branch of the Intramural National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).  During his 4 years at NIMH he was one of the first to use functional imaging (particularly oxygen PET) and discovered that specific brain regions change activity during normal emotions. He then started using imaging to understand brain changes that occur in depression and mania, a quest that he and many others are still pursuing. This imaging work directly led to his pioneering use of a non-invasive brain stimulation method, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), as a probe of neuronal circuits regulating mood, and to clinical trials using TMS as an antidepressant. In 1993 while at the NIMH, he discovered that daily prefrontal rTMS over several weeks could treat depression and ever since he has worked to grow the science of TMS, both in terms of how it works in the brain, and in critically evaluating its therapeutic applications, especially in the area of treating depression. This was FDA approved in October, 2008. He has completed the pivotal study in this area with NIH funding and is now investigating its effectiveness in the VA population through a VA cooperative study.

In 1995 he moved back to Charleston and built the functional neuroimaging division and brain stimulation laboratories. This imaging group has grown into the MUSC Center for Advanced Imaging Research, which is now part of the SC Brain Imaging Center of Excellence. He continues to use imaging (particularly functional MRI) and non-invasive stimulation (TMS, or VNS), either separately or more recently in combination, to understand the brain regions involved in regulating emotion in health and disease. In June 1998 at MUSC, he also helped pioneer another new treatment for resistant depression, vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). This was FDA approved in 2006. He and his group have used MRI imaging to understand VNS brain effects.

He is a world expert in brain stimulation, and depression, and is the editor-in-chief of a new journal he launched with Elsevier in 2008 called, Brain Stimulation: Basic, Translation and Clinical Research in Neuromodulation. He has been continuously funded by NIH and other funding agencies since his fellowships. He has received both a NARSAD Young Investigator and Independent Investigator Award to pursue TMS research in depression. He has received numerous international awards including the NARSAD Klerman Award (2000), NARSAD Falcone Award (2008) and the Lifetime Achievement Award (2007) given by the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP). In 2009 US News and World Report named him one of 14 ‘medical pioneers who are not holding back’. He is on several editorial review boards and NIH study sections, has published over 400 scientific articles or book chapters, and has written or edited 6 books.

Colleen Loo, MD
Professor, School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales
Consultant Psychiatrist, St George Hospital
Professorial Fellow, Black Dog Institute
Director of ECT, Wesley Hospital
Sydney, Australia

Brief Professional Biography

Colleen Loo, MBBS (Hons), FRANZCP, MD (research doctorate), is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales, Professorial Fellow at the Black Dog Institute and Academic Chair of Psychiatry at St George Hospital, Sydney, Australia. She is a clinical and academic psychiatrist and leads the internationally recognized Brain Stimulation Research Team at the Black Dog Institute in Sydney. Her research is focused on improving treatment approaches in Electroconvulsive Therapy and developing novel physical treatments, particularly for depression. She has conducted seminal clinical research studies of Electroconvulsive therapy, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) and ketamine in depression. She has multiple international collaborations and is currently leading an international multicenter trial of tDCS in depression. Accomplishments include over 100 research publications, several book chapters, and award of over $3.5M in Australian and internationally competitive research grants as a chief investigator. She has been an invited plenary and symposium speaker at conferences in Australia, US, UK and Europe. She is active in ECT & Neurostimulation research, practice and policy, and is an expert adviser to Australian government health departments and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. She chaired the RANZCP Position Statements on ECT and TMS. She is the first international member to be appointed to the Executive Committee of the International Society for ECT and Neurostimulation and is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of ECT. She Director of the Advanced/Refresher ECT Course and the TMS Course held in Sydney.

Ziad Nahas, MD
Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry
American University of Beirut Medical Center
Beirut, Lebanon 

Brief Professional Biography

Dr Ziad Nahas is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the American University of Beirut Medical Center. Dr. Nahas received his Medical Degree from Saint Joseph University in Lebanon. He then completed an internship in Psychiatry at L’Institut Paul Silvadon (a Lacanian day-hospital in Paris) and Hospital Charles Foix in Paris France. Dr. Nahas moved to Houston Texas in 1993 as a resident in Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine. He also attended the Houston-Galveston psychoanalytic Institute psychodynamic psychotherapy course. He joined the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in 1997 where he completed a research fellowship in Functional Neuroimaging and Psychopharmacology and later a Master of Science in Clinical Research. His scientific interest lies in translational research in mood dysregulation and depressive disorders. His unique expertise lies in brain stimulation across various modalities (TMS, VNS, EpCS, DBS, ECT and FEAST) and functional neuroimaging. He has received funding from various sources, notably the National Institute of Mental Health, National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) and the Hope for Depression Research Foundation (HDRF). He has received several awards including the NARSAD Independent Investigator Award and the Developing Scholar Award at MUSC. He is also a full member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Dr Nahas has authored over 140 publications in top international journals. In addition to his scientific contributions, Dr Nahas has been a strong advocate for the parity of mental health care coverage in Lebanon. He founded Embrace fund at AUBMC, a Non Governmental Organization to fight stigma associated with mental illness and provide financial support for patients who cannot afford the cost of their treatments.

Pascal Sienaert, MD
Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Neuroscience
KU Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven), Belgium
University Psychiatric Center KU Leuven
Department of Mood Disorders, and Department of ECT
Associate Editor, Journal of ECT
Chair of the European Forum for ECT (EFFECT)

Brief Professional Biography

After finishing studies of Medicine in 1993 and master in Family and Sexuality Sciences in 1994, at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, he got his clinical training in psychiatry at the ‘Universitair Psychiatrisch Centrum – KU Leuven’, campus Kortenberg’ and the department of psychiatry and gynecological psychosomatics at the University Hospitals in Leuven. He is a trained psychotherapist (Systemic and Family Therapy, Ericksonian and Solution-Focused Therapy, Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy).

From 1998 to 2010 he worked as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist in private practice. From 2000 on he became head of the admissions ward for Mood Disorders and the department of Electroconvulsive Therapy at the University Psychiatric Center – KU Leuven, campus Kortenberg.

He is chairing the Section ECT of the Flemish Psychiatric Association, is co-founder and chair of the European Forum for Electroconvulsive Therapy, and associate editor of the Journal of ECT. He authored 60 peer reviewed scientific papers. He is author of ‘Manisch-depressief! Een gids voor patiënt, hulpverlener en betrokkene (Manic- depressive illness: a guide for patient and caregiver) (Lannoo, 2003 & 2011)’, ‘Elektroconvulsietherapie, aanbevelingen voor de praktijk (Electroconvulsive Therapy: recommendations for clinical practice) (Academia Press, 2006)’, and ‘Preventie van bipolaire stoornissen: capita selecta (Prevention of bipolar Disorder) (Kluwer, 2007)’.

His research focused on the technique of ECT (Ultrabrief Electroconvulsive Therapy: from Efficacy and Tolerability tot Patient Satisfaction. Doctoral Thesis. Leuven: Catholic University of Leuven; 2009).

He is Assistant Professor at the KU Leuven, faculty of medicine, and teaches psychopathology and adult psychiatry.


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