Session 1
Novel Approaches to Behavioral Health Innovation: Non-Specific Treatments, Adaptive Stress and the Future of Depression-Enduring

In this talk, Dr. Charles Raison will apply an evolutionary lens to address the urgent question of why treatments for mental illness have not made the type of progress that has occurred in other fields of medicine, especially oncology. Focusing on depression, the talk will show that all current antidepressants operate primarily by having the non-specific effect of making the world seem like a safer, less stressful and more restful place. While of clinical value, this approach only provides sustained symptom relief for a minority of patients with major depression, highlighting the need to identify novel treatment strategies. This talk presents one such strategy based on the use of adaptive stressors to enhance overall emotional wellbeing. After describing an evolutionary and pragmatic rational for the use of adaptive stressors, the talk provides whole body hyperthermia as an example of an evidence-based adaptive stressor that is already available for clinical use.

This lecture is part of a virtual learning series. If you would like to receive continuing education credits please visit the course information page from University of Wisconsin-Madison and register/enroll. If you are interested in the topic and would like to view the lecture, click here.


Session 2
Novel Approaches to Behavioral Health Innovation: Challenging Yourself with Thermal Stress to Improve Health and Well-being

Presented by Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D.
Intentional exposure to both heat and cold can have remarkable health benefits. Heat exposure, like that experienced in saunas or hot baths, mimics the effects of moderate aerobic exercise, promoting cardiovascular and neurological health. Moreover, it stimulates stress response genes, such as heat shock proteins, which prevent muscle atrophy and decrease protein aggregation, thereby protecting our cells. On the other hand, deliberate cold exposure boosts norepinephrine levels, enhancing mood and triggering mitochondrial biogenesis in adipose tissue - a process that increases the amount of calorie-burning brown fat. Furthermore, immersing oneself in cold water elevates mitochondrial biogenesis within muscle tissue, thereby improving muscle function. Through these contrasting yet beneficial processes, heat and cold exposure offer unique ways to bolster overall health and well-being. Rhonda Patrick earned her Ph.D. in biomedical science from the University of Tennessee.

This lecture is part of a virtual learning series. To view the recording, please click here.


Session 3
Novel Approaches to Behavioral Health Innovation: How Reflection on What Matters Turns a Wandering into a Journey (Purpose and Mental Health)

Presented by Ira Bedzow and Christine B. Whelan
Research confirms what many of us know in our own lives: we’re not that great at predicting what’s going to make us happy. Yet when we open ourselves to purpose and meaning, both happiness and health seem to come along as well. In this talk we will demystify those big buzzword topics of happiness, well-being and purpose, offering highlights and key takeaways from academic research. We’ll propose strategies for both clinicians and their patients to incorporate purpose into their daily routines. And, as educators who are passionate about helping others teach purpose as well, we’ll leave time for discussion of these topics tailored to your specific clinical settings as well. 

This lecture is part of a virtual learning series. To view the recording, please click here.