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Barbara Sommer

Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University Medical Center, Emerita

Key Documents

Contact Information

  • Clinical Offices
    Psychiatry 401 Quarry Rd Ste 2338 MC 5723 Stanford, CA 94305
    Tel Work (650) 723-2423 Fax (650) 724-3144
  • Academic Offices
    Personal Information
    Email
    Not for medical emergencies or patient use

Professional Overview

Clinical Focus

  • Geriatric Psychiatry
  • Psychiatry

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Member, Stanford Hospital Well Being of Physicians Committee (2001 - present)
  • Member, Stanford Hospital Care Review Committee (1997 - 2006)

Professional Education

Board Certification: Geriatric Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (1991)
Board Certification: Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (1985)
Fellowship: Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital - OCD Department MA (1985)
Residency: Tufts-New England Medical Center MA (1984)
Internship: Baystate Medical Center MA (1980)
Medical Education: New York Medical College NY (1979)
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Courses

2013-14

Graduate and Fellowship Program Affiliations

Scientific Focus

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

My academic interest is in intellectual function and its adaptability over the course of a person’s lifetime despite the stressors placed upon it. Researchers have learned about a few risk factors for dementia, such as prolonged loss of consciousness, head injury, and old age. It is likely that there are also risk factors for non-Alzheimer’s cognitive loss causing the changes often attributed to normal aging. With a better knowledge of these risk factors, better protection against them at an earlier age and perhaps much of the lost cognition now attributed to normal aging might be spared.

My papers have focused on the evaluation of ways in which co-morbid factors such as folic acid deficiency or its administration, or anticholinergic drugs prior to ECT affect cognitive function. Anticholinergic medications deplete brain stores of the acetylcholine, known to be a key neurotransmitter in language acquisition and memory storage and retrieval. These drugs not only worsen symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, but are known to cause delirium when given in high doses. I have been interested in the long-term effects of these drugs and whether cognitive impairment is prolonged.

Publications

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Publication Topics

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