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How Can We Bridge the Gap Between Psychiatrists & Infectious Disease Physicians?

Robert Bransfield, MD, DLFAPA, discusses how to bridge the gap between psychiatrists and infectious disease physicians.

Robert Bransfield, MD, DLFAPA, private practice, Psychiatry, in Red Bank, New Jersey, discusses how to bridge the gap between psychiatrists and infectious disease physicians.

Interview Transcript (modified slightly for readability):

“We need more open communication. In order for psychiatrists and infectious disease doctors to work together, we [need] a common vocabulary. Psychoimmunologists might talk about cytokines and then psychiatrists don’t understand that very well, and [psychiatrists] might talk about neurotransmitters and infectious disease doctors don’t understand that. Although cell-to-cell communication is what they both do, so there’s more in common than we realize.

I think if we had more conferences that bring these together, every two years in Germany we have a psychoimmunology meeting, and that helps bridge this gap; it’s of growing interest. And I think that’s the future of psychiatry, is to look at the immune piece and how infections or other things that impact the immune functioning, such as cancer, pancreatic cancer, in turn, has an immune effect that causes psychiatric symptoms.”