Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Harvard Study - Stem Cells Are Primary Source of Brain Tumor Growth

With more than 20 years of experience in the psychiatric field, Dr. Antonio Bullon serves as the medical director of the geriatric treatment unit at the MetroWest Medical Center in Natick, Massachusetts. In addition to his clinical responsibilities, Dr. Antonio Bullon teaches in Harvard Medical School’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine.

A recent study led by Harvard Medical School researchers revealed that cancer stem cells play a significant role in the proliferation of oligodendroglioma, a type of brain cancer that grows at a slow rate but cannot be cured. It’s the first time that growth patterns of these cells have been specifically observed in brain tumors.

Researchers looked at more than 4,000 tumors to study three different types of cells: stems cells and two other types involved in cell differentiation. The researchers found that, in these tumors, stem cells were the only ones showing growth. 

Study author and Harvard Medical School Assistant Professor of Pathology Mario SuvĂ  said that this research “strongly supports” the conclusion that stem cells are the primary type of cells that grow in these brain tumors, making them the prime target for treatment strategies.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dynamic Psychiatry - An Active Approach to Complex Patient Issues

A part of the MetroWest Medical Center team in Natick, Massachusetts, Dr. Antonio Bullon serves as Geriatric and Neuropsychiatry Treatment Unit medical director. Dr. Antonio Bullon is active with a number of organizations in his field, including the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry.

Also known as psychodynamic psychiatry, the practice of dynamic psychiatry is a distinct way of approaching the mind’s complex workings and understanding how this impacts mental health. It encompasses a range of interconnected emotional and mental processes as well as the environmental and biochemical factors that make up a person’s mental condition.

What this translates to in the therapy setting is a belief that psychological treatment should be, on a certain level, self-directed by the patient: issues troubling the individual will ultimately surface in a natural manner. An emphasis in this psychiatric approach is on active listening, which translates into a dynamic interaction between therapist and patient that is highly informed by the patient’s own words.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Health Professionals Strive to Undo 1980s Damage in Peru

Dr. Antonio Bullon, the medical director of the geriatric and neuropsychiatry treatment unit at MetroWest Medical Center in Massachusetts, is a volunteer psychiatrist at Ayacucho-Peru. As a volunteer, Dr. Antonio Bullon travels to the Peruvian Andes’ small town every six months to train health care staff and visit with patients who experienced the political violence based in Ayacucho in the 1980s.

Ayacucho is the capital of an isolated, poor area. It is best known for the 1980s and 1990s Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) Maoist revolution that sought to take over the government. This movement was based in Ayacucho and led by Professor Abimael Guzman. The revolution was stirred on by the economic problems that worsened ongoing social issues; Alberto Fujimori was the president of Peru during the revolution, and his government policies were founded on human rights abuse, corruption, authoritarian leadership, and bribery.

The poor economy grew even worse after El Nino weather patterns from 1982 through 1983, resulting in flooding, loss of fish, and serious droughts, further strengthening the guerrilla movement. Eventually, Fujimori relinquished the presidency and exiled himself to Japan, effectively sidestepping prosecution for corruption and human rights violations. Between 1980 and 2000, an estimated 69,280 people died or disappeared because of the war. 

Despite the town’s sad history, it has a strong, independent atmosphere. Today, Ayacucho hosts diverse festivals that celebrate the town’s culture and self-sufficiency.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Unique Factors That Go into Creating Positive Group Dynamics

As medical director of the Geriatric and Neuropsychiatry Treatment Unit at MetroWest Medical Center, Dr. Antonio Bullon ensures that his multidisciplinary team provides quality care for older adults. Dr. Antonio Bullon has both a personal and professional interest in human group behavior and the way in which professionals can break down barriers and achieve positive communication and understanding. 

The term "group dynamics” dates back to the 1940s, when Kurt Lewin used it as a way of defining the behaviors and roles that individuals assume when part of a group. The term is used as a way of describing both the effect of individuals on other members and on the entire group. 

Positive group dynamics are built upon a sense of trust and by members engaging toward a collective decision. In successful groups, individuals hold well-defined roles and are held accountable for achievements, or lack thereof. There is a psychological penalty associated with holding the group back and positive feedback associated with doing one’s task creatively and efficiently. 

Setting in place a productive group dynamic involves knowing the strengths and weaknesses of individual members and how to juxtapose them for maximum impact. At the same time, it is important to understand the various phases groups go through as they coalesce upon a shared goal and ethos. This was famously laid out in the 1960s by psychologist Bruce Tuckman through the catch phrase "forming, storming, norming, and performing.”

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Jaspers Award for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychology

Antonio Bullon, MD, is an attending psychiatrist and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. As a member of the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry (AAPP), Dr. Antonio Bullon is a part of the organization that grants the Karl Jaspers Award to a recipient who is a resident or fellow in psychiatry, a graduate student, or a post-doctoral student.

The award is given to the writer of an unpublished paper on a topic related to the fields of philosophy or psychiatry. Examples of possible topics include the mind-body problem, epistemology, psychiatric methodology, or the philosophy of science. The winner will receive a $350 cash prize and be recognized in the association’s publications. The 2017 award recipient will be announced at the AAPP annual meeting in San Diego, California.

Submissions are due December 15, 2016, and should be no longer than 6,000 words including bibliography and footnotes. Applicants should also include a summary of their career status.