Harlem Success Academy and Substance Abuse Treatment

Graphical illustration of why controversies in policy involve people talking about phenomena on two sides of a phase transition.

Being Bayesian in Insane Places

Can we really make progress in improving reliability of detecting problematic psychiatric events using computational tools?

Online Therapy: How Does This Work?

Is online therapy effective—or sustainable?

Understanding Addiction With Electronic Registries

We want rigorous science that can guide treatment in substance abuse, but Randomized Clinical Trials (RCTs) are very expensive. Can we uber-fy clinical trials to make research, implementation and quality assessment a seamless process?

Optimal Time for Fund Raising and Grant Writing

How many hours should I spend preparing a grant application or a VC funding pitch? Does this depend on how large the grant is? Is there a way to optimally allocate time/effort given different grants have different funding rates? I might get some partial credit...

American Masculinity and Drugs

Reading, coffee, waiting, camera: how American men and their relationship with mind-altering substances allegedly changed throughout the last 100 years.

Genetic Link Between Creativity and Mental Illness?

Is Van Gogh's illness coincidence or destiny... Hold your horses, let me explain to you how these studies work first.

Fantasize about Commercializing Precision Medicine

Some rough criteria for success in developing Precision Medicine products, as applied to mental health and substance abuse treatment, that can improve treatment outcome and be commercially viable.

Precision Medicine’s Cultural Limits

"Everyone is different." This is the fundamental tenant of Precision Medicine: to utilize this difference to improve outcome. Real life is more complicated, and there is a lot that is not yet worked out before this approach will yield benefits.

Modern Intellectual History of Cognitive Sciences

Did cognitive science come out of Einstein or Darwin?

Can We Pay People to Quit Drugs?

A number of empirical studies have shown that direct cash payment can alter human behavior, and more specifically drug use behavior. However, this treatment is not effective for everyone. Finding out for whom cash would work in changing behavior may require combining artificial intelligence techniques with neuroscience and clinical intuition.

This Is NOT Your Brain on Drugs

Popular coverage of neuroimaging of substance abuse is often woefully unsophisticated: this is your brain, this is your brain on drugs. This creates completely false impressions of how these studies are done, what they really say and what they really mean. This practice really needs to stop.

Picking the Right Horse

When we talk about "Big Data" and healthcare, we are usually talking about observational data: things like electronic medical records and case records. Is there a way to plug that data into clinical trials to figure out what the best treatment is? The answer is probably Bayesian.

The End of the Road

Some people who suffer from Major Depressive Disorder do not respond to medications or psychotherapy. They are left with very few options. Is there an opportunity for a "Big Data" solution?

Can We Predict Who Will Respond to Antidepressants?

Many millions of people take antidepressants to get relief from their depression. For some, these medications can do wonders. For others, they don't seem to do much. Is there a way to figure out whether a specific patient would respond or not respond to antidepressants? "Big Data" studies have lofty ambitions. Perhaps the answer is hiding in the data we already have.

Can Computers Help You Quit?

We use computers and smartphones to stay in touch with each other, buy things and conduct serious business. Can they also help us with drug and alcohol problems?

The Replication Problem in the Brain Sciences

We are generating a tremendous amount of data in investigating brain and behavior, and yet much of it is difficult to reproduce. Should we care?
Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 58(1), 7-29.

12 Steps to Abstinence? Not for Everyone

There are a number of effective treatment strategies for alcohol use disorders. Is there a way to find out which treatment is the best one for a particular patient? Not yet, but maybe soon.

Cool at 13, Not Necessarily Adrift at 23

A closer read of "Long-Term Sequelae of Early Adolescent Pseudomature Behavior" reveals significant variance in outcomes for this longitudinal study. Popular media like to conflate testing a hypothesis to making a prediction.