PhD, University of Southern California
Boaz Levy, PhD, explores the interplay among cognitive impairment, illness severity, hospital readmission, psychosocial functioning and anxiety in Bipolar Disorder (BD) and Addiction. He received a grant from the Harvard Medical School (2005) to explore the cognitive functioning of dually diagnosed patients with BD upon discharge from inpatient care, and an external grant from NARSAD (2006) to follow patients 3 months after discharge. The results of these studies indicated that dually-diagnosed patients suffer greater cognitive impairment than patients with a single diagnosis do. Cognitive impairment upon discharge predicted hospital readmission in a 3 months follow-up, and also correlated with lower psychosocial functioning and elevated symptoms in patients that maintained an outpatient status. Dr. Levy recently published a theoretical model that accounts for the precipitous decline in psychosocial functioning in BD. In this model the interplay between anxiety, cognitive function and psychosocial environment was central.
This year, Dr. Levy has completed a study that examined the interaction between anxiety and cognitive functioning in BD, using physiological measures during cognitive challenge. He is also currently collecting pilot data to examine similar interactions in dually-diagnosed patients following detoxification from alcohol with the support of the Healey grant. This work informs the development of interventions and services for people who suffer from BD and addiction. The research team headed by Boaz Levy primarily focuses on bipolar disorder, cognitive functioning, alcohol dependence and anxiety. We are currently working on several projects:
1) Recording physiological activity of anxiety in response to cognitive challenge in bipolar disorder and alcohol dependence
2) Recording physiological activity of anxiety in bipolar disorder in general.
3) Developing a self-administered computerized cognitive battery for psychiatric patients and the elderly (screening for dementia)
4) Investigating the effects of stigma on mental illness