Colin Lamb, MD
Dr. Colin Lamb, who has been part of the MaineHealth system for several years during his training, recently moved to Spring Harbor Hospital as an attending psychiatrist on the child and adolescent units. He has brought with him a very intriguing research project that could change the way we treat adolescents and young adults diagnosed with psychosis (a loss of contact with reality).
When complete, the study hopes to enroll around 40 individuals aged 13 to 25, who have been diagnosed with psychosis and have been admitted to Spring Harbor Hospital. The subjects are randomly placed into the experimental or control group. Subjects in the experimental group are videotaped during an interview designed to display current mental status and insight into their illness. During the study, each subject is assessed through a series of general symptom, mood and insight rating scales. After one week, patients in the experimental group are offered the opportunity to view their video and then participate in a structured debriefing session with a study investigator. Dr. Lamb explains, “In a sense, the patients are essentially having a therapeutic encounter with themselves and learning about their own illness presentation.”
This may be a valuable way for providers to help increase insight in a patient population that traditionally has little insight. Having minimal or no insight into one’s own psychotic illness is a large driver in treatment noncompliance and poor outcomes. Dr. Lamb reports that “so far, the individuals we have interviewed have responded positively and felt it was a worthwhile exercise. This is very intriguing from a clinical perspective and may offer another tool to help this challenging patient population.”
Dr. Lamb and his team are working diligently to make sure their study is known so they can identify more potential subjects.
If you would like more information about this study or have a potential candidate, please contact Dr. Lamb or one of the co-investigators (Dr. Doug Robbins, Dr. Kevin Coughlin, Dr. William Brennan or Sarah Maxner, LCSW). Additional members of the study include: Dr. Sandra Fritsch (mentor and safety monitor), Anna Cloutier, RN (research coordinator), and Susan Santangelo, PhD (research mentor).
This project is funded through a Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRI) Mentored Research Grant and has received full IRB approval. Great care is being taken at each step in the process to ensure patient privacy and safety and maintain study integrity.