Nancy C. Andreasen

Nancy C. Andreasen

Nancy Coover Andreasen, is a prominent American neuroscientist and neuropsychiatrist. She holds the Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

Early life

Andreasen was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. During her early career, she was a student of the humanities. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska with majors in English, History, and Philosophy. She received her first doctoral degree, a Ph.D. in English literature, with support as both a Woodrow Wilson Fellow to Harvard and a Fulbright Fellow to Oxford. After completing her Ph.D., she became a Professor of Renaissance Literature in the Department of English at The University of Iowa. [Who's Who in America. Nancy Coover Andreasen. 62nd ed. New Providence: Marquis Who's Who, 2008] She published a variety of scholarly articles on John Donne and also published her first book in the field of Renaissance English literature: John Donne: Conservative Revolutionary [ John Donne: Conservative Revolutionary: Princeton University Press, 1967] She is the mother of two daughters, Susan and Robin. [Who's Who in the World. Nancy Coover Andreasen. 25th ed. New Providence: Marquis Who's Who, 2008]


A serious illness after the birth of her first daughter piqued an interest in medicine and biomedical research, however, and consequently she made the decision to change careers and devote her life to studying serious medical illnesses. [This Week's Citation Classic. Current Contents:48,1993] [Andreasen, NC. The Broken Brain: The Biological Revolution in Psychiatry. New York: Harper&Row, 1984] She attended medical school at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, graduating in 1970 and completing her residency in psychiatry in 1973. [Who's Who in American Education. Nancy Coover Andreasen. 8th ed. New Providence: Marquis Who's Who; 2007-2008]

Andreasen, who is director of both the Iowa Mental Health Clinical Research Center and the Psychiatric Iowa Neuroimaging Consortium, is one of the world's foremost authorities on schizophrenia. She has contributed to nosology and phenomenology by serving on both the DSM III and DSM IV Task Forces; she was chair of the Schizophrenia Work Group for DSM IV. [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Press, Inc.; 1994] She is largely responsible for development of the concept of negative symptoms in schizophrenia, having created the first widely-used scales for rating the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. [Andreasen NC. The Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS. Iowa City, IA: The University of Iowa; 1984] [9. Andreasen NC. The Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS). Iowa City, Iowa: The University of Iowa; 1983] Early in her career she recognized that negative symptoms and associated cognitive impairments had more debilitating effects than psychotic symptoms (delusions and hallucinations). While psychotic symptoms represent an exaggeration of normal brain/mind functions, negative symptoms represent a loss of normal functions. For example, alogia is a loss of the ability to think and speak fluently, affective blunting is a loss of the ability to express emotions, avolition is a loss of the ability to initiate goal-directed activity, and anhedonia is a loss of the ability to experience emotions. [Andreasen NC. Negative symptoms in schizophrenia. Definition and reliability. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982 Jul;39 (7):784-788] The papers describing these concepts have become citation classics, as determined by the Science Citation Index produced by the Institute for Scientific Information. [This Week's Citation Classic. Current Contents: 48,1993]

Andreasen was a pioneer in the application of neuroimaging techniques to the study of major mental illnesses, having published the first quantitative Magnetic Resonance (MR study) of brain abnormalities in schizophrenia. [Andreasen NC, Nasrallah HA, Dunn VD, Olson SC, Grove WM, Ehrhardt JC, et al. Structural abnormalities in the frontal system in schizophrenia: A magnetic resonance imaging study. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 43:136-44, 1986] Andreasen leads a multidisciplinary team working on three-dimensional image analysis techniques to integrate multi-modality imaging and to develop innovative methods for analyzing structural and functional imaging techniques in an automated manner. The software developed by this team is known as BRAINS (Brain Research: Analysis of Images, Networks, and Systems. [Magnotta VA, Harris G, Andreasen NC, O'Leary DS, Yuh WT, Heckel D. Structural MR image processing using the BRAINS2 toolbox. Comput Med Imaging Graph, 26:251-64, 2002]

She also conducted the first modern empirical study of creativity that recognized the association between creativity and manic-depressive illness. [Cite journal
author = N. J. C. Andreasen & A. Canter
title = The creative writer: psychiatric symptoms and family history
journal = Comprehensive Psychiatry
volume = 15
issue = 2
pages = 123–121
year = 1974
month = March-April
pmid = 4822820
doi = 10.1016/0010-440X(74)90028-5
] [Andreasen NC. Creativity and mental illness: prevalence rates in writers and their first-degree relatives. Am J Psychiatry, 1987, 144:1288-92, 1987] She has also written about the “neuroscience of creativity” in The Creating Brain: The Neuroscience of Genius. [Andreasen NC. The Creating Brain: the Neuroscience of Genius. New York: Dana Press, 2005] [Snyder S. The creating brain: the neuroscience of genius. NEJM, 354:1539-40,2006] This book is the third in her "brain trilogy." The others are The Broken Brain: The Biological Revolution in Psychiatry [Andreasen, NC. The Broken Brain: The Biological Revolution in Psychiatry. New York: Harper&Row, 1984] and Brave New Brain: Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome. [Andreasen, NC. Brave New Brain: Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome. New York: Oxford University Press; 2001] [Rutter M. Clear view of a promsing future. Science, 294:312,2001]


In 2000 President Clinton awarded her the National Medal of Science, America’s highest award for scientific achievement. [ [ Clinton Names A Diverse Group Of Researchers To Receive The 2000 National Medals Of Science] , National Science Foundation] This award was given " [f] or her pivotal contributions to the social and behavioral sciences, through the integrative study of mind, brain, and behavior, by joining behavioral science with the technologies of neuroscience and neuroimaging in order to understand mental processes such as memory and creativity, and mental illnesses such as schizophrenia." [ [ The President's National Medal of Science: Recipient Details] , National Science Foundation] She has received numerous other awards, including the Interbrew-Baillet-Latour Prize from the Belgian Academy of Science, the Lieber Schizophrenia Research Prize, and many awards from the American Psychiatric Association, including its Research Prize, the Judd Marmor Award, and the Distinguished Service Award. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science. [Who's Who in the World. Nancy Coover Andreasen. 25th ed. New Providence: Marquis Who's Who, 2008] She was elected to serve two terms on the governing council of the latter organization. [Who's Who in the World. Nancy Coover Andreasen. 25th ed. New Providence: Marquis Who's Who, 2008] She also chaired two Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Science Committees that published influential reports. [Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research. Washington DC: The National Academies Press, 2004] [PTSD Compensation and Military Service. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2007] She served as Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Psychiatry, the leading journal in the field, for 13 years. [Freedman R. Nancy C. Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D.: Editor Emeritus Perfectus. Am J Psychiatry.163:3-4, 2006] She is past president of the American Psychopathological Association and the Psychiatric Research Society. She is a Fellow of the Society for Neuroscience and was the founding Chair of the Neuroscience Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. [Who's Who in the World. Nancy Coover Andreasen. 25th ed. New Providence: Marquis Who's Who, 2008]


External links

* [ Mental Health - Clinical Research Center - Psychiatry Dept - UI Health Care]

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