Supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Merck & Co., Inc. 


  October 2003 - American College of Neuropsychopharmacology- Volume 9 No. 4 


        ACNP 42nd Annual Meeting Program

The Program Committee has done an outstanding job in selecting and developing the scientific program for the 2003 Annual Meeting. The Teaching Day Program, organized by President-Elect Carol Tamminga, is focused on the theme, “Cognition and its Assessment in Neuropsychiatric Disorders”. Dennis Charney has organized the President’s Plenary session to address “Science in the Service of Public Health”. The distinguished lecture will be presented by Nobel Laureate and ACNP member Paul Greengard on the subject of “Signal Integration in the Brain”. This year the Issues in Ethics Session will be held on Tuesday, December 9 at 12:15 pm. The topic of the session will be “Academic Researchers, Pharmaceutical Companies, Scientific Journals: Ethical Issues in the Mix”. For a complete Annual Meeting program please click on the following link To view the panels and study groups, please click the following link. All posters are available through a link provided at the end of the Bulletin.

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        Council Makes Important Changes

in Rules for 2004 

Archival Abstracts: Council approved a proposal to make the abstracts from the annual meeting archival beginning in 2004 and continuing for a three-year trial period. The abstracts will be published in a supplement to the December 2004 issue of Neuropsychopharmacology. Members will be reminded of this change when the call for proposals is sent out next year, and additional reminders will be sent during the course of the year. One change that members should note is that in order to meet the deadlines for publication, the date on which abstracts must be turned in will be earlier next year. In turn, that will mean earlier dates for the Program Committee meeting and for submission of proposals. The Program Committee meeting will be held on Saturday, June 12 in Washington, DC.

Poster Presentations: The rules for members regarding posters have been (and are now) that a member may present two posters and may sponsor one poster. Based on a recommendation from the Program Committee, Council approved a change in that rule effective in 2004. A member will be allowed to present one poster and to sponsor one poster or to present two posters and sponsor none. The net effect of this change should reduce the total number of posters as well as the number of posters that are not authored by an ACNP member.

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        Special Journal Task Force

Undoubtedly, ACNP members have seen in recent months a series of media stories and personal correspondence regarding the issue of disclosure of conflicts of interest in all published scientific articles. One of the world's leading scientific publishers, Nature Publishing Group (publishers of Neuropsychopharmacology), has changed its policies regarding disclosure as a result of this discussion. Other respected journals have also re-examined their policies and procedures regarding disclosure. In like fashion Council has appointed a special task force to look at these issues in relation to our journal. This task force has been asked to look at the policies of the journal with respect to potential conflicts of interest, and to recommend any changes they think appropriate to assure that our policies represent the very highest standards of excellence and integrity in today's scientific community. They have also been asked to look at our practices and procedures related to potential conflicts of interest to assure that journal policies are rigorously applied and followed. The task force is already working, and will have at least its preliminary report, if not the final report, ready by the Annual Meeting. Council is confident that as this group performs its task, if any problems exist in the functioning of our journal they will be identified and remedied. The end result of this process should be, controversy notwithstanding, that our already outstanding journal is strengthened even more.

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        Report from Washington

Policy Directions


While congressional optimists contend Congress will recess for 2003
within three weeks, House and Senate appropriators indicate mid-November may be a more realistic date. Senate leadership had originally planned to roll six of the remaining FY2004 appropriations bills into an omnibus bill; the new plan is to schedule floor debate and pass each bill as a stand-alone. The Senate began debate on Foreign Operations (H.R. 2800/S. 1426) Friday, to be followed next week with D.C. appropriations and VA-HUD.

Leadership continues to push efforts for the Labor-HHS-Education bill,
which funds the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to be considered as
a stand-alone bill. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) indicated
the final version of the bill could be ready for the floor as early as
the week of October 27, though House leadership is less optimistic.
Passing the bill as a stand-alone will help avoid the problems
encountered last year, when existing grant renewals were stalled and new grant reviews and awards remained in limbo while the long term CR kept funding at the previous year's level.

Passing the bill as a stand-alone bill will help avoid the problems
encountered last year, when existing grant renewals were stalled and new grant reviews and awards remained in limbo while the long term CR kept funding at the previous year's level. This year's allocation is just
above level funding, despite efforts to amend the budget. The
allocation in the House version of the bill (H.R. 2660) remains at
$27.66 billion, a 2.5% increase over FY2003. The Senate (S. 1356)
allocation is better at $27.98 billion, a 3.7% increase. However, the
Senate bill contains provisions that will actually lower funding for
research grants below the level provided by the House.

Members of Congress who have been strong NIH advocates have continued efforts to increase the funding level in the conference committee. ACNP and other organizations have urged Members of both the House and Senate to contact appropriations conferees requesting a higher level of funding for NIH. In the House, a letter sent to Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Ralph Regula (R-OH) and ranking member David Obey (D-WI) was signed by 201 House members. The Senate sent a letter to Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Arlen Specter (R-PA) and ranking member Tom Harkin (D-IA) with 51 signatures.

Genetic Anti-Discrimination

The Senate unanimously passed the "Genetic Anti-Discrimination Bill" (S. 1053) Oct. 14. The measure would prevent employers and health insurers from using genetic information when making employment decisions. It also would prohibit insurers from using genetic information to establish premiums or to deny coverage. The bill was drafted to ensure individuals would be able to undergo genetic testing without fearing the information could later be used to deny coverage if the test indicates a propensity for an illness or condition. In addition, the measure would protect human research subjects who may be tested as part of medical research clinical trials.

It is universally agreed this type of discrimination has not yet occurred and opponents of the bill argue it is based on "theoretical" discrimination. Insurance companies and business groups will now focus their efforts on the House of Representatives to oppose the legislation.

Mental Health Parity

Despite achieving a majority of cosponsors in both the House and Senate, it appears the Senator Paul Wellstone Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 2003 (H.R. 953/ S. 486) will again fail to make it to the floor for a vote. The measure would eliminate disparate health coverage for people who suffer from mental illness. It does not mandate coverage of mental health benefits, but expands already existing mental health coverage to comparable limitations imposed on traditional medical and surgical benefits.

Opponents have argued the measure would increase health care costs for employers, forcing them to reduce coverage for traditional medical coverage or drop coverage altogether. The Congressional Budget Office scored the increased cost to business for implementing this provision at just under 1% of current premiums. The bill also contains a small business exemption for companies with fewer than 50 employees.

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        2003 Media Awards / Film Screening

The 2003 ACNP Media Award will be presented at the upcoming Annual Meeting to independent film producer and director Tim McCann for his outstanding movie, Revolution #9. In the words of nominator, Dr. Jerome Levine, this movie "accurately and honestly portrays schizophrenia and its symptoms." The movie is also successful in capturing the impact of mental illness on family and friends, in highlighting problems in our fragmented system of mental health care, and in stressing the importance of good treatment, including medication, for serious mental illness.

During the study group time on Monday, December 8, at 7:30 pm nominator Jerome Levine and award winner Tim McCann will host a special screening of the movie. Following a presentation of the 90-minute movie Dr. Levine will serve as moderator for a discussion and question and answer session.

A promotional flyer with more information is available at: Revolution No 9 Poster on the ACNP web site

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        Networking Session

There will be a special "Networking Session" on Sunday, December 7th from 9 am - 11 am, the first day of the ACNP Annual Meeting. This Session will provide an opportunity for non-scientific attendees to have breakfast together, meet others (the "networking" aspect), and hear a wonderful talk from ACNP member Nancy Andreasen about the work she is doing in psychopharmacology and neuroimaging. These sessions help link the guest/spouses of ACNP members with the work being done in psychopharmacology as well as to meet new people.


Sunday, December 7, 2003

9:00 a.m. Breakfast
9:30 a.m. Networking Session
10:00 a.m. Presentation by Dr. Andreasen


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        Announcements and Upcomming Events

Please click on the following links to see information about information about upcomming events.

Announcing Frontiers in Addiction Biology: Genomics and Beyond
May 23-26, 2004; Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

Frontiers in Genome Engineering: Building a Better Mouse, June 6-9, 2004

Pharmacogenomics: From Concept to Clinical Practice, June 20-23, 2004

ADAA Call For Applications

3 and 4 November, 2003

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To see the complete list of posters for the 2003 annual meeting click this link: Annual meeting 2003 Poster Presentation on the ACNP web site

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        Upcoming Deadlines


Registration Deadline

November 14, 2003

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