expand

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Empowering Imagination. Pioneering Discovery.
Print | Font Size ( + ) ( - ) | Bookmark | Email

Vivian Kafantaris, MD

Assistant Investigator, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Director of Research, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York

Associate Professor, Molecular Medicine and Psychiatry, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine

Phone: (516) 470-8556
Email: vkafanta@lij.edu

About the Investigator

Dr. Vivian Kafantaris is a nationally recognized expert in the treatment of children and adolescents with bipolar disorder. She and her team have designed and completed several NIH-funded randomized controlled treatment trials in children and adolescents with bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Dr. Kafantaris has a longstanding interest in developing evidence-based treatments for children and adolescents with severe psychiatric illnesses. She has more than 20 years of experience in the conduct of clinical trials in children and adolescents and has published extensively on the use of lithium in adolescents with bipolar disorder and the efficacy of other mood stabilizers for the treatment of non-bipolar aggression.

Research Focus

Dr. Kafantaris’ main research focus is the pharmacological treatment of bipolar disorder and the related area of severe dysregulated aggression associated with conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder. More recently, she became intrigued with the neurodevelopmental underpinnings of bipolar disorder and completed a published study using diffusion tensor imaging to investigate white matter abnormalities and their neuropsychological correlates in adolescents with bipolar disorder. She continues to be fascinated by how a simple element, lithium, can be a life-changing treatment for some patients. She is planning a study that will use structural MRI to examine whether early biological changes associated with lithium treatment, such as increases in hippocampal volume, can help better understand how lithium works and help identify the young patients who are most likely to benefit.

Current studies led by Dr. Kafantaris and Dr. Christoph Correll at the Zucker Hillside Hospital include:

Collaborative Lithium Trial (CoLT)

Children and adolescents ages 7-17 years old diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder-manic or mixed phase who can be treated on an outpatient basis are eligible to participate in this multi-phase, placebo-controlled study of the long-term efficacy and safety of lithium treatment. Participants will be monitored closely by an experienced team. This study is funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD).

Stepped Pharmacotherapy to Improve Self-Control Among Youth (SPICY)

Children ages 6-12 years with a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and either Oppositional Defiant Disorder or Conduct Disorder whose aggression or behavioral dyscontrol has not resolved on an adequate trial of stimulant monotherapy are eligible for screening. Participants will receive open treatment with an optimized dose of stimulant and parent training sessions with a research behavior therapist. If aggression remains a significant problem the child will be randomly assigned to have either divalproex sodium (Depakote), risperidone (Risperdal) or placebo added to their stimulant. The study includes regular medical and behavioral symptom monitoring by a child psychiatrist and a clinical child psychologist. This study is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

A Parent-Provider Intervention to Improve ADHD Medication Adherence

Parents/guardians of children ages of 5 to 12 years old diagnosed with ADHD are recruited for this study. The aim is to improve ADHD medication adherence by helping clinicians more effectively communicate with parents and address specific barriers to treatment compliance. This study is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

SATIETY study

Children and adolescents (age 4-19 years) who start clinically decided antipsychotic treatment are followed in an observational cohort study design to assess the risks and benefits of these medications under real world conditions. Effectiveness, adverse effects and clinical and biological predictors of these effects are studied.

IMPACT study (sponsor: National Institute of Mental Health)

Children and adolescents (age 8-17 years) who have gained at least 10% of their body weight over the past 12 months on an antipsychotic and who are overweight are randomized to up to 6 months of open treatment of a) healthy lifestyle instruction alone or b) addition of metformin or c) a switch to a lower risk antipsychotic.

STRATEGY study

Children and adolescents (age 10-19 years) who are either starting antipsychotic treatment for the first time ever, or who have gained at least 10% of their body weight over the past 12 months while treated with an antipsychotic are randomized to 3 months of open treatment of a) healthy lifestyle instruction alone or b) addition of metformin.

Adolescent Mood Disorder and Psychosis study

Children and adolescents (age 12-18 years) who have a clinical diagnosis of a mood or psychotic disorder are interviewed to comprehensively characterize their psychiatric problems and followed in an observational cohort design to assess symptomatic and functional outcomes over time.

Education

Barnard College, New York, NY
Degree: AB
1976
Field of Study: Biological Science

Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
Degree: MD
1983
Field of Study: Medicine

Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
Degree: Resident
1987
Field of Study: Psychiatry

New York Univ. Medical Center, New York, NY
Degree: Fellow
1989
Field of Study: Child Psychiatry

New York Univ. Medical Center, New York, NY
Degree: Fellow
1991
Field of Study: Child Psych. Research

Awards & Honors

1987-1991 Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, NY, NY
1991-1994 Assistant Physician-in-Charge, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Ambulatory Services; Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC), New Hyde Park, NY
1992-2001 Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
1994-1999 Director, Child and Adolescent Mood Disorders Program, LIJMC, New Hyde Park, NY
1995-2004 Member, Institutional Review Board, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
1999-present Director of Research, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, LIJMC, New Hyde Park, NY
2001-2008 Member, Data Safety and Monitoring Board, National Institute of Mental Health
2002-present Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
2005-2006 Chair, Advisory Committee for the General Clinical Research Center (GAC) for the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Research Institute
2005-2008 Chartered Member, NIMH Study Section, Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disorders

Publications
  1. Blader JC, Schooler NR, Jensen PS, Pliszka SR, Kafantaris V. “Adjunctive divalproex sodium vs. placebo for children with ADHD and aggression refractory to stimulant monotherapy.” American Journal of Psychiatry, 166: 1392-1401, 2009. PMCID:2940237
  2. Kafantaris V, Kingsley P, Ardekani B, Saito E, Lencz T, Lim K, Szeszko, PR. “Lower orbital frontal white matter integrity in adolescents with bipolar I disorder.” J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 48:79-86, 2009. PMCID: 2747245
  3. Findling RL, Landersdorfer CB, Kafantaris V, Pavuluri M, McNamara NK, McClellan J, Frazier JA, Sikich L, Kowatch R, Lingler J, Faber J, Taylor-Zapata P, Jusko WJ. “First-dose pharmacokinetics of lithium carbonate in children and adolescents.” Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 30 (4): 404-410, 2010. PMCID: 2967308
  4. Kafantaris V, Leigh E, Hertz S, Berest A, Schebendach J, Meyer Sterling W, Sunday S, Higdon C, Golden NH, Malhotra A. “A placebo-controlled pilot study of adjunctive olanzapine for adolescents with anorexia nervosa.” J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol , 21: 207 – 211, 2011. Not NIH Funded.
  5. Findling R, Kafantaris V, Pavuluri M, McNamara NK, McClellan J, Frazier JA, Sikich L, Kowatch R, Lingler J, Faber J, Rowles, BM, Clemons TE, Taylor-Zapata P. “Dosing strategies for lithium monotherapy in children and adolescents with bipolar I disorder.” Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 21:195 – 205, 2011. PMCID:3111866
  6. Coletti, DJ., Pappadopulos, E., Katsiotas, NJ., Berest, A., Jensen, PS., and Kafantaris, V. “Parent perspectives on the decision to initiate medication treatment of ADHD.” J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol 22: 226- 237, 2012. PMCID: Journal in Process.
  7. Findling R, Kafantaris V, Pavuluri M, McNamara NK, Frazier JA, Sikich L, Kowatch R, Rowles BM,Clemons TE, Taylor-Zapata P. “The post-acute effectiveness of lithium in pediatric Bipolar I Disorder J.” Child Adolesc.Psychopharmacology, (in press).

View more at PubMed