CAPT Joseph R. Hibbeln M.D is Acting Chief, Section on Nutritional Neurosciences in the Laboratory of Membrane Biophysics and Biochemistry at the National Institutes of Health. Among his numerous awards are the T.L Cleave Award from the McGarrison Society, London for furthering the public health nutrition work of Surg. T.L. Cleave, R.N., the Gerald Klerman award from the National Association for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression, USPHS Crisis Response Awards for deployments in response to hurricanes and suicide clusters among Native Americans and the Outstanding Service Metal, the third highest award in the USPHS and, early in his career, as an Eagle Scout, BSA.
Dr. Hibbeln originated the field of omega-3 fatty acids in depressive and aggressive disorders and has contributed more than 80 peer-reviewed scientific papers. With publication of treatment recommendations by the American Psychiatric Association for omega-3 fatty acids in 2006, he has assisted the development of this field from hypothesis through to treatment guidelines. His interests have included the cross-national comparisons of seafood consumption to rates of psychiatric illnesses and epidemiological studies evaluating genetic variants in fatty acid metabolism. Since excessive alcohol use depletes brain stores of DHA this deficiency may significantly contribute to aggression, depression and addictive behaviors common among alcoholics.
His interests include evaluations of benefits and risks of seafood consumption during pregnancy, especially regarding methyl-mercury. Depletion of omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy may be a reversible cause of depressions associated with pregnancy. He has calculated the dietary intakes of omega-3 fatty acid required to provide adequate reduction of risk to meet Daily Recommended Intake criteria for 16 illness models. These intakes are adjusted for background intakes of excessive omega-6 fatty acids.
Dr. Hibbeln?s research interests in omega-3 deficiencies have spanned their role in severe pathological states such and suicide, major depression and psychosis to more normal personality traits and emotional states such as neuroticism and unhappiness. Because emotions are central to the fabric of human experience, he has been curious if the psychotropic properties of omega-3 fatty acids influence the cultural symbolism of fish in religious belief systems. He wonders if a substantial proportion of the emotional distress of modern societies can be reversed by adequate intakes of omega-3 fatty acids.
Dr. Hibbeln received a BA with special honors from the University of Chicago in 1983 and an M.D from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1988. Dr. Hibbeln is frequently sought out as an invited speaker at international scientific conferences and by the media. He is a Captain in the United States Public Health Service, licensed as a Physician and Surgeon in California and a Board Certified in Psychiatry and Neurology.