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The Paradox of Perfectionism

Nancy Zucker, PhD; Alison Adcock, MD, PhD
Thursday, November 17, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Nancy Zucker, PhD; Alison Adcock, MD, PhD
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences Grand Rounds

Nancy Zucker, PhD, Prof. in Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, studies individuals who have difficulty detecting, interpreting, and/or using signals from their body and using this information to guide adaptive behavior. My lab explores how disruptions in these capacities contribute to psychosomatic disorders such as functional abdominal pain or anorexia nervosa and how the adaptive development of these capacities helps individuals to know themselves, trust themselves, and flourish. Our primary populations of study are individuals struggling with eating and feeding disorders of childhood; conditions that are sine quo non for dysregulation of basic motivational drives or conditions in which disruption in these processes may be more likely, ie, the presence of pediatric pain. Several conditions are of particular focus due to the presence of profound deficits in interoception or/and integration of internal arousal: anorexia nervosa, notable for extreme, determined, rigid, and repetitive behaviors promoting malnourishment and the inability to use signals of interoception and proprioception in the service of goal-directed actions; Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID); children with "sensory superpowers" who may be hypersensitive to somatic signals and external sensory features; and pediatric functional abdominal pain, ie, children who may become afraid of their bodies' messages due to generalization of fear of pain to innocuous sensations.

Alison Adcock, MD, PhD received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Emory University and her MD and PhD in Neurobiology from Yale University. She completed her psychiatry residency training at Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute at UC-San Francisco, neurosciences research as a postdoctoral fellow at UC-SF, the San Francisco VA Medical Center, and Stanford before joining the Duke faculty in 2007. Her work has been funded by NIDA, NIMH, NSF and Alfred P. Sloan and Klingenstein Fellowships in the Neurosciences, and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. She was honored by NARSAD awards, the 2012 National Academy of Sciences Seymour Benzer Lectureship, and the 2015 ABAI BF Skinner Lectureship. Her research goals are to understand how brain systems for motivation support learning and to use mechanistic understanding of how behavior changes biology to meet the challenge of developing new therapies appropriate for early interventions for mental illness.

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Contact: Cathy Lefebvre