Thoughts on Record: Podcast of the Ottawa Institute of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Hymie Anisman, Ph.D.: Stress, Coping & Health

June 07, 2021 Season 2 Episode 22
Thoughts on Record: Podcast of the Ottawa Institute of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Hymie Anisman, Ph.D.: Stress, Coping & Health
Show Notes

While "body and mind" have at times been regarded as separate entities, it is now abundantly clear that the brain & body are continuous elements of a massively interconnected system.  Preeminent professor, researcher & lecturer in the field of behavioural neuroscience, Dr. Hymie Anisman, joins Dr. Pete Kelly, C.Psych for a wide-ranging and discussion of:   

  • how stress can impact upon almost any aspect of health
  • the mechanisms by which adverse early life events can sensitize emotional, behavioural, cognitive & physiological coping to later stressors, creating vulnerability to mental and physiological illness
  • a brief overview of epigenetics and how trauma can be transmitted across generations 
  • the relationship between the brain and the immune system including discussion of the microbiome
  • the hunt for biomarkers of mental illness 
  • perspectives on current diagnostic systems for mental illness vs. plausible alternatives (e.g., Research Domain Criteria - RDoC)
  • consideration of the necessity of the appreciation of genetic diversity and genetic polymorphisms to the study of biological determinants of human behaviour, precision medicine etc.
  • factors influencing reactivity to stressors at the individual level
  • caveats around examining the biological basis of the efficacy of psychotherapy
  • a brief consideration of the process of allostasis in the face of chronic stress (and why the "crash" might come after the major stressor has passed)
  • the role of social support seeking & providing as well as prosocial behaviour with respect to coping with stressors
  • a brief meditation on the utility of tolerating uncertainty in life, research (and other domains)
  • Hymie's perspective on the biggest questions left unanswered in behavioural neuroscience right now

Hymie Anisman received his PhD in 1972 (University of Waterloo), where he was also on faculty for two years, and has been a Professor at Carleton University, Ottawa, since 1994. He has also held an adjunct appointment with the Institute of Mental Health Research (Royal Ottawa Hospital) since 1993. Professor Anisman was a Senior Ontario Mental Health Research Fellow , is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and held a Canada Research Chair in Neuroscience from 2001-2015, and has since held the position of Canada Research Professor. The principle theme of his research has concerned the influence of stressors on neurochemical, neuroendocrine and immune systems, and how these influence psychological (anxiety, depression) and physical illnesses including neurodegenerative, heart disease, and cancer progression. His work has spanned studies using animal models to assess stress-related pathology as well as studies in humans to assess stress, coping and appraisal processes.  In addition to sitting on the editorial boards of several journals and on numerous grant panels,  Professor Anisman has published more than 400 peer reviewed journal papers, 40 book chapters, and several review papers within neuroscience, immunity, and psychology journals, as well as publishing 3 textbooks, 1 lay book, and 2 edited books. His research has been funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Ontario Mental Health Foundation (OMHF), the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Canada Research chairs program (CRC).