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Release: Nov. 30, 1999

Robinson to receive medical academy's annual research award

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Robert G. Robinson, M.D., University of Iowa professor and head of psychiatry, has received the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine Annual Research Award for his research on emotional disorders associated with stroke.

"It's wonderful to receive an award from my peers," Robinson said. "The academy is the largest and most prestigious organization dedicated to those working with the interactions of physical illnesses and mental disorders. To win its research prize is an honor."

The national award is presented for psychiatric work in general hospital services. The prize was awarded at the academy's annual meeting held Nov. 19 in New Orleans.

Robinson's more than 20 years of research in neuropsychiatry includes studies on depression that have helped improve patient care. He and his team were the first to demonstrate that the antidepressant Nortriptyline is an effective method of treating depression in patients who have suffered a stroke.

In other studies, Robinson and colleagues discovered a significant relationship between the location of brain injury and the severity and frequency of depressive disorder in patients with stroke. The finding — replicated four times by other investigators yet still controversial — indicates that specific areas of the brain seem to play a strategic role in initiating mood disorders.

Robinson also led a research team that demonstrated, for the first time, that patients who had a depressive disorder following acute stroke were 3.5 times more likely to die during the 10 years following the stroke than patients who had a similar stroke but did not have a depressive disorder.

Other honors Robinson has received include the 1999 annual American Psychiatric Association Award for Research; the Paul W. Penningroth Professorship in Psychiatry; and election to the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars, which recognizes distinguished Hopkins alumni who have made major contributions to business, science or the arts.