Author Archives: drjulie


Children of Hoarders

From The Psychology Times, Vol. 3, No. 2

Dr. Chabaud on 20/20

Dr. Suzanne Chabaud, New Orleans clinical psychologist, appeared on the August 5 episode of ABC’s prime time news magazine, 20/20, as part of a special report about children of hoarders and the psychological impact that they must manage as adults.

Dr. Chabaud, an expert on obsessive-compulsive disorders and hoarding-related topics, regularly appears on the A & E television show Hoarders.

Through this work she increased her awareness of the psychological impact on the children coming from these homes, she told the Times.

“These children of hoarders, they walk around with this feeling like ‘I didn’t get the basics on how a person is supposed to live their life,’ “ Dr. Chabaud explained to 20/20 anchor Elizabeth Vargas.

“The effects of a childhood that was hoarded are pervasive and long-lasting,” Chabaud said. “… These children have a burden that lasts a lifetime.”

The 20/20 episode focused on the lives of several adult children of hoarders and a support group, called Children of Hoarders, Inc. Dr. Chabaud serves this group as an expert resource, answering questions, giving help, and reviewing the groups outreach projects, she explained to the Times.

Dr. Chabaud and colleagues at her OCD Institute engage in research about the problems encountered by children of hoarders. In July 2011 she and her colleagues hosted a weekend long seminar for children of hoarders. Twenty-one individuals from around the country spent four days in her research center and worked to develop goals and resources for this population.

“This was an amazing experience,” Dr. Chabaud noted, “and it was the first time most of the attendees ever had a slumber party. We organized focus-groups for outreach, education, research, support, public policy, and media.”

Dr. Chabaud has begun a second phase of research efforts for children of hoarders, including “…an online survey of many aspects of growing up in hoarded homes and establishing an adult life,” she noted. Her group is also working to increase public awareness, and develop local task forces to “ coordinate public officials, community resources and mental health specialists to address the needs of people who are living in hoarded homes.”

In a recent interview with WWL-TV in New Orleans, Dr. Chabaud commented, “Children of hoarders’ lives are deprived in so many ways. It’s not just the unhealthy environment; it’s the emotional contact with a significant adult. It’s the loss of skills for just maintaining their lives, down to bathing, making beds, organizing their belongings.”

“You just can’t put these children in foster homes. There has to be a program to help them through this.”

For more information about Dr. Suzanne Chabaud’s innovative work with children of hoarders, go to her website

The 20/20 episode can be watched online at:

NSU Psychology Dept Offers Honors Courses

-L. Jackson, NSU News

Northwestern State University is implementing an Honors Program this semester to give outstanding students the opportunity to enrich their academic experience, study topics in greater depth and improve their leadership skills. Students enrolled in the Honors courses will participate in research and projects in addition to regular coursework, which administrators hope will engage them in their disciplines and get them excited about research.

Dr. Susan Thorson-Barnett and her colleagues in the Department of Psychology worked for over a year to coordinate the Honors components she plans to imple-ment in her Psychology 1010 class this semester that will be tied to a service-learning project.

“The Honors students will follow the same grading scale and take the same tests as the rest of the students, but their coursework will have a research component,” Thorson-Barnett said. “We will meet every two weeks. First, the students will learn about the project, then we will meet at the library to learn to find resources in scholarly journals. Over the course of the semester, the students will write a group research paper and will work in groups of two to create informational posters they will present to the class before Thanksgiving.”

Thorson-Barnett’s project will expose the freshmen Honors students to concepts normally presented to upperclassmen.

“We want them to be able to present the research during next spring’s Research Day and we hope we can continue the project and tie it in with service learning and present at the spring Serving Learning conference,” she said.

See complete story at

Benefits of a Gluten-Free Brain

From The Psychology Times, Vol. 3, No. 2

Nutrition and Health

Most of us have seen the gluten-free alternatives now offered at grocery stores and restaurants.  Celiac disease is an auto-immune disease. When a person is exposed to wheat gluten the body starts to destroy the gut lining which leads to mal-absorption, diarrhea, malnutrition, stunted growth, and even other auto-immune diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.  Celiac has also been linked to psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia,[1] depression, and behavioral disorders.[2]

You might be thinking that since you don’t have celiac disease, that gluten-free products aren’t for you. But some people have gluten sensitivity. This means that, for example, a woman’s medical tests show she does not have celiac disease, but she has brain fog and fatigue when she eats gluten-containing foods and her symptoms go away on a gluten-free diet.

A gluten-free diet may be beneficial for patients struggling with mood disorders, schizophrenia, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, autism, migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and eczema.

More about celiac disease and gluten sensitivity can be found at

 [1] A. De Santis, G. Addolorato, A. Romito, S. Caputo, A. Giordano, G. Gambassi, C. Taranto, R. Manna, and G. Gasbarrini, J Intern Med 242 (1997) 421. [2] P. A. Pynnonen, E. T. Isometsa, M. A. Verkasalo, S. A. Kahkonen, I. Sipila, E. Savilahti, and V. A. Aalberg, BMC Psychiatry 5 (2005) 14.

Eating One’s Young

From The Psychology Times, Vol. 3, No. 2


Dr. Bolter presented excerpts from the law showing that medical psychologists can practice psychology and he asked the board to see that the intent of Act 251 was to transfer ALL aspects of the practice of psychology. He also said that since the psychology board validates supervisors from other states who were not licensed under the LSBEP, then they should validate medical psychologists, who are not licensed under LSBEP.

Aside from the non sequitur, the issue has more to do with our profession than with the practice of psychology.

Of course the psychology board accepts supervision hours by psychologists licensed under other state psychology boards. We have a whole infrastructure for this issue. The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards handles problems of standards, license exams, mobility, and so on. But nowhere in the country are psychologists licensed by medicine. Until Act 251, a shorthand definition of who could supervise, a “psychologist,” was all that had been needed.

And supervision, the nurturing of new psychologists into our profession, is concerned with more than just practice. It is the profession’s way of transferring our identity and values to the next psychologists.

LSBEP has placed the burden on our young psychologists who, if they ever go to another state, just might find out the hard way whether a psychologist needs to have been supervised by someone licensed under a state psychology board.

Our new Chair should reexamine this matter and get testimony from all sides, taking time to carefully review all the applicable laws, not just the parts that support the political agenda of one group.


Letters to the Editor

From The Psychology Times, Vol. 3, No. 2

I, too, am glad to hear that Darlyne Nemeth is helping with Sunset issues, I served on the Board with her and appeared before the legislature myself to answer questions about whether our Board was doing anything useful.

Isn’t it ironic that Sunset appears just at the time when we have two Boards (?) overseeing psychology. Wonder if those whose idea it was to join the medical board are interested in the opportunity this presents. For example, now we learn that persons who are not licensed by our board can nevertheless supervise psychologists for licensure. What’s next??

My thought is that they would ask why have two boards and suggest only one, doubtless under the newly formed medical committee (!).

Time to listen to the folks at AASPB, a group I know well from my time on the Board, and who are wise in these matters.  They counsel that we are doing something very different, which may be very wrong.

I hate to think that simple power politics is at the bottom of all this, but it sure seems that way.

Time for LSBEP to rise up and assert their role in our state. Sunset hearings may be such an opportunity, but we have to get tough with a minority that wants to control things.

Our response had better be ready. And powerful.

Dr. Fred Davis

Regional Group News

From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

• Baton Rouge Area Society of Psychologists

In November Dr. David Post, a Baton Rouge psychiatrist, is planning to talk on the hypnosis of Adolph Hitler for hysterical blindness during WWI, and the possible connection with his grandiosity and rise to power before WWII. The date is being arranged. For more information, President Dr. John Pickering can be reached at

• Lafayette Region Psychology Group

The Lafayette Region Psychology Group is meeting on the second Thursday of November at 7:00 pm, said Dr. Gail Gillespie. She told the Times that the meeting would be a planning session. If you are interested in attending, please contact Dr. Gail Gillespie gailgill@ 337-783- 9953.

• New Orleans Regional Psychologists

Dr. Carolyn Weyand told the Times that The New Orleans group met Friday, Oct 28. The group changed its name to the Crescent City Area Psychological Society (CCAPS). “With our name solidly in place,” she said, “we will go forward with our website and facebook page thanks to two of our younger psychologists, Meagan Medley and Chavez Phelps.” “And also,” she noted, “our bylaws, thanks to Michele Larzelere’s work with input from Kim Van Geffen, John Fanning, Arnold James.” Dr. Weyand said that “bylaws will, hopefully, be ready for a vote at the next meeting.”

CCAPS, formerly NORP, will meet next on Friday, January 20, 2012 at 6:30. Our meeting place is still to be determined.

For information contact Carolyn Weyand, by email or by phone 504-895-2901.

SEPA Annual Meeting February 15-18, in NO

The Southeastern Psycho- logical Association will hold its Convention in February 2012 in New Orleans. The main hotel is the Sheraton. More information is available online at

International Expert Dr. Paul Frick to Highlight Fall Conference Oct 15

From The Psychology Times, Vol. 3., No. 2

University of New Orleans Department Chair and international expert on disruptive behavior disorders will lead off a conference on Saturday, October 15 at the LSU Cook Alumni Center in Baton Rouge.

Drs. Rita Culross and Marc Zimmermann will present the Ethics portion of the 6-hour continuing education conference, sponsored by the Louisiana Psych-olological Association.

Dr. Frick participated in the American Psychiatric Association’s workgroup for revisions to the DSM-V and was showcased as a highlight at the American Psychological Assoc-iation’s 2010 convention.

Dr. Frick will present “The DSM-V: Overarching Issues and Proposed Changes to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Conduct Disorder,” for the morning session.

He is the editor of the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, past president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy, author of over 160 manuscripts and six books, and a Louisiana licensed psychologist.

LSU’s Dr. Rita Culross, the Jo Ellen Levy Yates Professor, and Dr. Marc Zimmermann, Baton Rouge clinical and medical psychologist, with forensic experience, will present the second half of the day on “Ethics.” Both are currently on the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists.

Dr. Culross told the Times that the presentation will cover ethical issues for both early career psychologists and those with greater experience. She noted, “Scenarios reflecting real world examples will be presented and discussed.”

Dr. Zimmermann said that the three hours on ethics topics will help practitioners understand how they need to think through ethical issues. “There is no one answer to any problem in this area,” he told the Times. “So, we are going to teach them how to process information in such a way so that they can defend their decisions.”

The conference will be at the LSU Cook Alumni Center, at 9 am. A free continental breakfast is available at 8 am. Six hours of CEs are available.

Executive Director for LPA told the Times that some of the enjoyable restaurants include The Chimes, Seranno’s, and Louie’s Café. The participants will have ample time to eat with friends and enjoy the university atmosphere on Chimes and State Streets. “If someone is feeling really nostalgic, they might even want to eat at the LSU student union,” she said.

For more information contact Ms. Lowe at 225-766-0185 or online at



Self-Nominations For LSBEP To Close This Friday

From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

Self-nominations are open until Friday, November 4, for a 2012 position on the Louisiana Board of Examiners of Psychologists.

Applications can be obtained from LPA Executive Director, Ms. Gail Lowe. They can be postmarked or faxed by Friday.

If fewer than four psychologists volunteer to serve, the nominations will remain open.

Dr. Tony Young is the current Chair and will be completing his term on June 30, 2012.

Dr. Noell’s Work in Teacher Effectiveness Being Emulated In Other States

From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

– S. Booth, Times’ Intern

Last December, The Times talked with Dr. George Noell about his ongoing project, the value-added Teacher Preparation Program Assessment Model. Teacher effectiveness has become an important topic in the national debate because of continued focus at state and national levels for greater accountability and productivity in all areas of government.

Recently we had the chance to chat with Dr. Noell again about the current status of the project, and his innovative work with predictive models on a statewide scale, a program that was discussed at the Board of Regents meeting in September.

Dr. Noell is a school psychology professor at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, a licensed school psychologist with clinical experience, and an expert in multivariate statistics.

Louisiana’s teacher preparation program assessment is the product of the combined efforts of Dr. Noell, the Louisiana Board of Regents, the Louisiana Department of Education, and the various teacher preparation institutions around the state.

The purpose of the value- added Teacher Preparation Program Assessment Model is to acquire information about the impact of new teachers in Louisiana on students. Dr. Noell described the program as a “forward looking” effort to strengthen teacher preparation programs so that future graduates of the programs continue to improve from previous years.

Through the investigation of both new teachers in the public school system and the teachers’ institutions from which they got their degrees, Dr. Noell devised a method to assess the quality of training that teachers are receiving. This type of assessment has allowed him and his team to develop a way to objectively score the teacher preparation institutions on the effectiveness of new teachers they recommend for certification.

According to Dr. Noell, the program, which started operating over 4 years ago, is continuously undergoing adjustments and improvements to help the teacher preparation institutions provide the best education that they can to the students in the public school system. Furthermore, Dr. Noell mentioned that although it takes time to see the results of his and his teams’ efforts to improve the quality of teacher preparation, results have improved for programs that made the earliest programmatic revisions based on outcome data.

Dr. Noell told the Times that one of the best decisions that he made on this project was to include and work with the community members who are directly involved in this program, specifically those at the teacher preparation institutions. By talking and working with those at the prep institutions, he said that he feels that his program was able to obtain the “buy in” and support needed to meaningfully impact results.

Although Dr. Noell and the value-added Teacher Preparation Program Assessment Model have received national recognition, including an article in the New York Times, one of the biggest impacts to date is the adoption of programs like this in other states around the nation, he noted. Several states are in the process of implementing their own teacher preparation assessment. Colleagues in Tennessee, Washington and North Carolina have already released parallel reports, while officials in other states are working toward the first release of their teacher assessment program in the near future.

When asked how he felt about his project being replicated in other states, Dr. Noell said that he is nervous. “You want it to be right,” he said, explaining that since the project has reached the national level, he simply wants to ensure that the work is sound and productive. It is especially important because the potential implications at this level are very high, he said.

Despite these concerns, Dr. Noell is optimistic because the work in Louisiana is a collaborative effort across many institutions and colleagues that was cautiously developed over time.

(Suzanne Booth, MA, is an IO graduate student at LSU, and Psychology Times’ Intern.)

APS Observer Notes “Identity Shift” In US Psych Departments

From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

In a recent lead article for APS magazine Observer, author Eric Jaffe reported on a trend in academic departments to emphasize the scientific nature of psychology in names.

The review pointed to problems in understanding with what psychology does and is. “Sometimes this lack of understanding led people to question psychology’s scientific basis, as was the case with parents who refused to believe their child could major in psychology and also be pre-med. Other times the confusion came from mistaking psychology for psychiatry,” the report noted. The report indicated that the Department of Psychology name also did little to help indicate where research was “heading in the future.”

The article followed the changes of the psychology departments and cited Dartmouth University change to “Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences” in the late 1990s. Other examples were cited such as the department at Duke, now called the “Department of Psychology and Neuroscience.” Chair Harris Cooper at Duke said, “We refer to ourselves as studying behavior from culture to chemistry,” and include “clinical, developmental, social, cognition and cognitive neuroscience, and systems of integrative neuroscience.”

Psychologists Say Sunset Threat Is Real and Serious

From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

On October 15, Dr. Darlyne Nemeth addressed attendees at the Fall Conference of the Louisiana Psychological Association. She spoke about threats of the Sunset process.

Nemeth asked the attendees to take the Sunset issues seriously, saying that the possibility of losing the licensing law for psychologists was real and that psychologists should consider this a serious threat.

She urged those attending to make a donation to the newly established political action committee, organized by Baton Rouge psychologist and LPA Secretary, Dr. Alicia Pellegrin.

Dr. Pellegrin recently posted a request on the LPA listserve for psychologists to contribute to the PAC, asking for contributions of $200 so that the political action committee could deal with Sunset problems and other political threats to psychology.

Pellegrin also noted in her message that the challenges during the upcoming legislative session are considered to be serious.


Times Asks LSBEP About 251 And Open Meetings Law

From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

Last month the Times wrote to the Psychology Board to ask for more information regarding the board’s 2009 discussion about Act 251. The Times’ publisher asked for information to determine if the exception the board called upon in 2010 was still in effect.

The board reviewed the Times’ request at the recent meeting on October 28. The new Chair, Dr. Tony Young, told the Times’ publisher that he could see the importance of the request and that the board would need time to further study the issue.

Dr. Young, and several other board members, indicated that the question had to do with the balance between the exceptions allowed in the open meetings law, and the responsibility for transparency. “We need to study the issue a little more,” Dr. Young said. “I think your objection is important, and has to do with transparency,” he told the publisher, who attended the meeting. “We must defer until we get all the data.”

In June 2010 the Times asked the board about its deliberations regarding Act 251, which occurred at its May 8, 2009 meeting. The Times asked, “Was it discussed that shared regulatory control over the profession of psychology could confuse the public? If so, what were your findings?” and “Was it discussed that having a non- psychology board regulate psychology would lower the quality of psychological service delivered to the public? If so, what were your findings?” The publisher also included questions about conflict of interest for medical psychologists serving on the board and whether any of those board members recused themselves from the Act 251 deliberations.

The Times also asked for a copy of a memo from board attorney Mr. Lloyd Lunceford. This memo was mentioned in the minutes of May 8, 2009. The minutes noted

“…Concerns over the effects of this Bill [Act 251] on the financial and regulatory operations of the Board, the practice of psychology, and the practice of medical psychology were discussed by all present. The LSBEP elected to request a legal opinion from Attorney Lloyd Lunceford concerning the impact on the LSBEP for future consideration by the Board.”

The topics listed in the May 8, 2009 minutes, and the “impact on the LSBEP,” does not appear to fall in the list of exceptions to the open meetings rules.

Dr. Joseph Comaty wrote back to the Times publisher on July 23, 2010. He said in this letter that the board takes its responsibility under the Open Meetings Law seriously. However, none of the Times’ questions were answered. Rather, Dr. Comaty referred the publisher back to the minutes, which the publisher had already reviewed and which did not answer the questions.

“Anticipation of Litigation”

In Dr. Comaty’s response, he also noted that the memo from Mr. Lunceford was exempt from being reviewed by the public. He said the memo about 251 was protected under an exception to the open meetings law and/or general attorney client privilege.

The exception he noted was R.S. 44:4.1C, which is: “C. The provisions of this Chapter shall not apply to any writings, records, or other accounts that reflect the mental impressions, conclusions, opinions, or theories of an attorney or an expert, obtained or prepared in anticipation of litigation or in preparation for trial.”

In this latest request for more information, the Times publisher asked “1) Are you involved in litigation regarding issues addressed by Mr. Lunceford’s memo? 2) What type of claim are you involved in or anticipating? 3) When does the statue of limitations expire for the issue that you are anticipating?”

Dr. Young indicated to the publisher that the Times would receive a response after the board could study the issues.

Dr. Tony Young, licensed psychologist and associate professor from Louisiana Tech, is the current Chair of the LSBEP. Dr. Young took over for Dr. Joseph Comaty who finished his five-year term on the psychology board this past spring.

Board Decides To Study Issue of Telepsychology

 From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

The Psychology Board discussed the ongoing issues regarding telepsychology at their recent meeting on October 28.

Members agreed that they might consider a consultant to help study the issue, because it is complex. They decided to look at how other states’ approach the problem, and to compare what different states view as the major concerns and solutions.

The board will probably address the issue at their future long- range planning session, one member remarked.

Psychologists Emphasize Importance of Sleep

From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

“From birth to death a normal person spends more time sleeping than doing any other activity,” explained Dr. Denise Sharon, current President of the Southern Sleep Society and Director at the Comprehensive Sleep Medicine Center of the Gulf Coast. “Sleep is a 1/3 of our lives,” she told the Times.

Dr. Sharon’s clinical emphasis is in sleep disorders, a rare specialty for psychologists. She works to help those with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, circadian rhythm disorders, insomnia, and other sleep disorders associated with medical or psychiatric disorders.

Dr. Sharon is Associate Professor of Medicine, Sleep Medicine Fellowship Faculty, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. Sleep is a behavior, she said, and it is an important one for health and safety.

Dr. William Waters, long-time expert in the area of sleep would agree. “The whole country is sleep deprived,” he explained to the Times. “You can’t do sleep deprivation research without feeling a little scared about traveling on the highway at night or early in the morning.”

Dr. Waters developed his interest in sleep during his years as Clinical Director at Louisiana State University throughout the 80s. An ABPP in clinical psychology with a strong psycho- physiological background, Dr. Waters trained psychologists in sleep research and sleep medicine while Director and Full Professor at LSU. His first publication in the area of sleep was also in the 80s. He continues his interest as the Director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Ochsner Clinic in Baton Rouge.

“Sleep deprivation, memory, attention, emotion, cognition … it’s all interlocking,” Dr. Waters said. “For example sleep is really the other side of the attention coin. You can’t actually sleep while attending to something. And you can’t actually attend to something while sleeping. Attention impairs sleep and sleep impairs attention,” he explained.

“There are huge numbers of people who are sleep deprived. And it is a state in which negative emotion tends to prevail, like other strong need deprivation states.”

“It’s not just sleep deprivation,” he said, “but the quality of sleep is very poor for many of those who actually do get enough sleep. For example sleep apnea produces fragmented and light sleep that is not restorative, and causes the same functional decrements that are caused by sleep deprivation, including negative affect.”

According to Harvard Medical investigations have pointed to sleep deprivation as a factor in the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident, the disaster at Chernobyl, and sleep deprivation played a part in the Exxon Valdez oil tanker accident. And the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger revealed critical issues of sleep deprivation.

The Institute of Medicine estimates that between 50,000 and 100,000 deaths are caused each year because of inadequate sleep, and that “drowsy driving” may cause a minimum of 20 percent of all car crashes.

Poor sleep patterns appear connected with a number of chronic illnesses. Researchers are linking inadequate sleep with weight gain and also with a greater risk of diabetes and body mass.

“…And increased morbidity and increased mortality,” noted Dr. Sharon. “If we add intermittent hypoxemia, even mild, to the mix, the result is an inflammatory response that challenges the autoimmune system and contributes to plaque build-up.”

Poor sleep can lead to high stress hormones and research has found that even one night of poor sleep for a person with hypertension can result in elevated blood pressure the next day.

As important as a full night of quality sleep is, the National Sleep Foundation’s 2010 survey, “The Sleep in America Poll,” revealed that 33.7 percent of responders said they did not get the amount of sleep they needed. Only 40 percent said they get a good night’s sleep every night or almost every night.

“Look for an middle-aged, overweight male or female,” said Dr. Waters, “and you are likely to find a problem with quality of sleep because they are likely to have sleep apnea. For psychologists, it is worth noting that sleep apnea will look a lot like depression,” he said.

“The one thing that will reliably destroy sleep is stress,” Dr. Waters told the Times. “No matter what the psychiatrists say, it is all continuous. If you want to take a point on the continuum and call it a disease you can. But stress–the psychophysiological responses–are aimed at getting you to deal with threat,” he said. “And then how likely are you to go to sleep?”

“Keep in mind that negative emotion is a stress response,” he said, “and therefore predictably disrupts sleep, delaying its onset, and making it light and interruptible. In other words, non-restorative.”

Helping a person get the rest and quality night sleep he or she needs was one of the first things that Dr. Sharon enjoyed in this specialty area.

“Coming from psychiatry,” she said, “the first thing I liked about sleep medicine was instant gratification. The majority of our patients [obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome] improve immediately after diagnosis and correct treatment with minimal if any side effects.”

She explained a classic example of a bus driver she helped who was struggling with obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. “After diagnosis and a good C-PAP titration,” she said, “he wakes up the next morning and thanks everyone for the best night sleep he has ever had.” “We made the patient happy,” Dr. Sharon said, and we “ensured the safety of tens or hundreds of school kids, other drivers, and pedestrians. Believe me, it’s the best high.”

While Sleep Medicine is considered a medical specialty, psychologists, neuropsychologists, and neurophysiologists had a major role in the development of the field, explained Dr. Sharon.

Dr. Waters told the Times that the field of sleep is perfect for psychologists. “Sleep is the kind of area that clinical psychologists should be doing, it is just made for us,” he said. “We have a whole scientific discipline at our fingertips that is applicable.” He explained that the basic principles of behavior, applied to the treatment of sleep, is a perfect fit.

“Sleep hygiene and stimulus- control therapies are nothing more than applying what we know about sleep related behavior to make the person more likely to sleep,” he said. “Relaxation therapy is what we do to tone down activation. And remember that it is activation, particularly emotional activation, that causes insomnia and reduces the quality of sleep.”

The sleep cycle in most healthy adults begins as the person goes from wakefulness to an orderly set of sleep states. The first cycle is from wakefulness to non-REM sleep, that includes several stages, followed by the first REM period. The two sleep states and the sleep stages continue to alternate throughout the night with an average period of about 90 minutes. A host of difficulties can disrupt the cycle, called fragmentation of the sleep architecture.

“Obviously sleep disorders pose challenges in defining genetics and pathophysiology and developing more and better cures,” said Dr. Sharon, who is currently involved in developing the new edition of the International Classification of Sleep Disorders. She will be reviewing several disorders in the Sleep Related Movement Disorders section for this publication.

“There are many tasks ahead of us,” she noted. “Some relate to education about the importance of sleep to promote adequate development, maintain performance, reduce accidents, morbidity, mortality and overall health costs, as opposed to the on the go 24/7 mentality,” she said. “The importance of ascertaining adequate amounts of sleep in children and teenagers, also, who are among the most sleep-deprived group.”

Researchers at Louisiana Tech in Ruston have a program of research attempting to help unravel some of the complex issues in this area with college students.

“Basically what we’re finding is people that have poor sleep quality tend to consume more food and weigh more over time,” said Dr. Buboltz, Psychology Professor at Louisiana Tech. “Our hope eventually is to give them interventions or strategies to sleep better which would keep them healthier and decrease their weight,” he told the Times.

Dr. Walter Buboltz, Dr. Janelle McDaniel, Rebecca Hoffmann, Eric Robbins, and Barbara Calvert presented “Analysis of food Consumption Behavior and Sleep Patterns in College Students as Measured by Diaries,” at a recent American Psychological Society conference.

The researchers concluded, “College students have a very erratic eating patterns, with some eating regular meals while a large percentage had fairly erratic dietary habits.” And, “Students consumed approximately a whole day’s more of fat during the week than recommended, while at the same time having about a day’s less of calories consumed across the 7 days.”

Dr. Janelle McDaniel, Assistant Professor at LA Tech, com- mented on the study saying, “It’s important to consider the interaction between different factors such as sleep and eating habits when thinking about wellness globally because treating one particular factor may not address underlying conditions.”

“The relationship between sleep and eating habits and food consumption may be more complex than initially believed,” the researchers concluded.

Dr. Buboltz said that the group has “developed an intervention program for college students called the ‘step program’ and it’s basically training students to learn appropriate sleep habits, sleep hygiene and sleep education.”

Sleep hygiene, explained by Dr. Buboltz, is “Doing things that promote sleep, like not drinking coffee past five, not working out at midnight or eating a lot of food before bed, but relaxing before going to sleep.

“What we do is look at the impact of sleep quality and sleep durations, and various outcomes,” Dr. Buboltz said. “We look at how it relates to college adjustment, physical health, mental health, food consumption, and attention.”

Drs. Buboltz and McDainel, and also Lauren Tressler, also presented “Eating Habits and Patterns of College Students: A Preliminary Study, at the American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences, 14th Annual Meeting in Las Vegas in February this year.

He noted that their goal for these types of studies was “learning about what’s appropriate. Most people don’t know you’re supposed to sleep eight to nine hours a night. Most people don’t know about the amount of caffeine in food. Chocolate is actually worse for caffeine content than Coke! Colleges are bad about having intramural sports events at nine and ten o’clock at night and that prevents them from going to sleep.”

Dr. McDaniel said, “Sleep is a particularly vital factor in college students health.” And for college students even technology can be a crucial element in sleep health. One of the pilot studies that Dr. Buboltz and his team conducted was to examine the relationship between youngsters and their cell phones. “They became little mothers to their cell phones,” he explained. “They became hyper vigilant to answering their cell phones rather than sleeping,” and this can be a habit that can follow one into adulthood.

Future research for the group will be “anything that deals with sleep quality or sleep duration we’re either working with it or planning a study, but we’re mainly focused on its effect on health,” Dr. Buboltz said.

It is a growing and interesting field according to Dr. Denise Sharon. “I got into sleep medicine completely by chance,” she told the Times. She stayed with the field because she enjoyed the “newness” of the area and “the chance to make a difference.”

“When I started I knew everybody or almost,” she said. “The AASM [American Academy of Sleep Medicine] had only about a thousand members … It was easy to get involved and participate and become part of related sleep organizations such as the Southern Sleep Society, which is the oldest regional society.”

Dr. Sharon is now president of the Society. “We are going to have our 34th annual meeting next March,” she said. “The Sleep Research Society, the World Association of Sleep Medicine that tries to promote Sleep Medicine education around the world, the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group… It was a welcoming atmosphere to present research, to review papers, to participate in the making, to be recognized for contributions … I easily made numerous friends.”

“Sleep affects major area of life from birth to old age, multi-faceted, new and developing, exciting and friendly colleagues, all but one, treatable conditions with good response. So who in his right mind would not love it?” Dr. Sharon said.

With the overlap between major areas of psychology, psycho- physiology, attention, emotion, Dr. William Waters still finds this area to be perfect for those in psychology and for himself an enjoyable professional activity. “The best clinician you can have is one with an integrated perspective,” he said. And, “It’s fun,” he added “and intellectually satisfying.”

(–Natasha Jordan is a student at ULM, and the Times’ North Louisiana Correspondent)


Dr. Nemeth Elected To World Council For Psychotherapy

Dr. Darlyne Nemeth, Baton Rouge psychologist, has been elected as Co-Secretary for the World Council for Psychotherapy (WCP), headquartered in Vienna, Austria.

Nemeth recently returned from the WCP 2011 World Congress in Sydney, Australia, where she accepted the position for the international group.

“WCP is a multi-disciplinary organization that is focused on alleviating emotional suffering,” she explained. “We are highly trained psychotherapists who do clinical work, research, teaching, administration, or any combination therein. Our president, Dr. Pritz, is also founder of the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna, Austria, which is dedicated to educating psychotherapists.”

Dr. Kelly Ray, Baton Rouge psychologist and 2010 President of Louisiana Psychological Association, serves as a VP for the United States for the WCP. Dr. Judith Kuriansky, a New York psychologist who has been involved closely with Dr. Nemeth’s outreach programs following environmental disasters in Louisiana, is the United Nations delegate for the WCP.

According to the WCP website, one of the goals is to promote psychotherapy on all continents of the world, in accordance with the Strasbourg Declaration on Psychotherapy of 1990. Another goal is to cooperate with national and international organizations in peacekeeping and conflict management measures.

Nemeth said, “WCP is in the process of developing a database to be used for gatekeepers. These individuals will be Certified by WCP to guide the first and second responders to environmental trauma sites so that they can be helpful, rather than in the way, like they were during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. They will not do the interventions not will the offer Psychological First Aid. More important, they will facilitate the work of others. We have learned from Katrina…how important this is.”

WCP website is