Harry E. Gwirtsman, M.D.

Associate Professor


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Faculty Appointments
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
M.D., Columbia University, New York, New YorkB.A., Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
Office Address
2200 The Village at Vanderbilt
Nashville, TN C_ERR-OR
Research Description
Dr. Harry Gwirtsman has been a member of the faculty since 1995. He was Director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine from 1998 until 2006. He currently serves as the Director of Inpatient Services and the Psychiatry-Medical Unit (PMU), as well as the Consultation-Liaison Service, and is also Director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Program at the Nashville VA-Tennessee Valley Healthcare System. He is board certified in Adult Psychiatry, and has subspecialty boards in Geriatric Psychiatry.
Research Keywords
Alzheimer's Disease/Eating Disorders
Clinical Research Keywords
Biological dysfunction in patients with anorexia and bulimia, obesity, and mood disorders, especially related to neuroregulation of mood, and feeding and satiety. Pharmacotherapy, genetics, and imaging in dementia.
Salomon RM, Kennedy JS, Johnson BW, Urbano Blackford J, Schmidt DE, Kwentus J, Gwirtsman HE, Gouda JF, Shiavi RG. Treatment enhances ultradian rhythms of CSF monoamine metabolites in patients with major depressive episodes. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2005 Nov; 30(11): 2082-91. PMID: 15856079, PII: 1300746, DOI: 10.1038/sj.npp.1300746, ISSN: 0893-133X.

Salomon RM, Kennedy JS, Johnson BW, Schmidt DE, Kwentus J, Gwirtsman HE, Ebert MH. Association of a critical CSF tryptophan threshold level with depressive relapse. Neuropsychopharmacology [print-electronic]. 2003 May; 28(5): 956-60. PMID: 12736634, PII: 1300098, DOI: 10.1038/sj.npp.1300098, ISSN: 0893-133X.

Kennedy JS, Gwirtsman HE, Schmidt DE, Johnson BW, Fielstein E, Salomon RM, Shiavi RG, Ebert MH, Parris WC, Loosen PT. Serial cerebrospinal fluid tryptophan and 5-hydroxy indoleacetic acid concentrations in healthy human subjects. Life Sci. 2002 Aug 8/23/2002; 71(14): 1703-15. PMID: 12137916, PII: S0024320502018994, ISSN: 0024-3205.

Gwirtsman HE, Blehar MC, McCullough JP, Kocsis JH, Prien RF. Standardized assessment of dysthymia: report of a National Institute of Mental Health conference. Psychopharmacol Bull. 1997; 33(1): 3-11. PMID: 9133745, ISSN: 0048-5764.

Piletz JE, DeMet E, Gwirtsman HE, Halaris A. Disruption of circadian MHPG rhythmicity in major depression. Biol. Psychiatry. 1994 Jun 6/1/1994; 35(11): 830-42. PMID: 8054405, ISSN: 0006-3223.

Yanovski SZ, Gormally JF, Leser MS, Gwirtsman HE, Yanovski JA. Binge eating disorder affects outcome of comprehensive very-low-calorie diet treatment. Obes. Res. 1994 May; 2(3): 205-12. PMID: 16353422, ISSN: 1071-7323.

Gwirtsman HE. Dysthymia and chronic depressive states: diagnostic and pharmacotherapeutic considerations. Overview of the diagnosis, prevalence, and comorbidity of dysthymia. Psychopharmacol Bull. 1994; 30(1): 45-51. PMID: 7972629, ISSN: 0048-5764.

Gwirtsman HE, Szuba MP, Toren L, Feist M. The antidepressant response to tricyclics in major depressives is accelerated with adjunctive use of methylphenidate. Psychopharmacol Bull. 1994; 30(2): 157-64. PMID: 7831449, ISSN: 0048-5764.

Spalter AR, Gwirtsman HE, Demitrack MA, Gold PW. Thyroid function in bulimia nervosa. Biol. Psychiatry. 1993 Mar 3/15/1993; 33(6): 408-14. PMID: 8490067, PII: 0006-3223(93)90168-D, ISSN: 0006-3223.

Gwirtsman HE, Prager J, Henkin R. Case report of anorexia nervosa associated with Wilson's disease. Int J Eat Disord. 1993 Mar; 13(2): 241-4. PMID: 8477294, ISSN: 0276-3478.

Yanovski SZ, Yanovski JA, Gwirtsman HE, Bernat A, Gold PW, Chrousos GP. Normal dexamethasone suppression in obese binge and nonbinge eaters with rapid weight loss. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 1993 Mar; 76(3): 675-9. PMID: 8445025, DOI: 10.1210/jcem.76.3.8445025, ISSN: 0021-972X.

Gwirtsman HE. Overview of the definition, prevalence, and comorbidity of bulimic disorders. Psychopharmacol Bull. 1993; 29(1): 109-14. PMID: 8378503, ISSN: 0048-5764.

Kaye WH, Gwirtsman HE, George DT, Ebert MH. Altered serotonin activity in anorexia nervosa after long-term weight restoration. Does elevated cerebrospinal fluid 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid level correlate with rigid and obsessive behavior?. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry. 1991 Jun; 48(6): 556-62. PMID: 1710099, ISSN: 0003-990X.

Chiappelli F, Gwirtsman HE, Lowy M, Gormley G, Nguyen LD, Nguyen L, Popow J, Esmail I, Fahey JL, Strober M. Pituitary-adrenal-immune system in normal subjects and in patients with anorexia nervosa: the number of circulating helper T lymphocytes (CD4) expressing the homing receptor Leu8 is regulated in part by pituitary-adrenal products. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1991; 16(5): 423-32. PMID: 1725219, ISSN: 0306-4530.

Lock JD, Gwirtsman HE, Targ EF. Possible adverse drug interactions between fluoxetine and other psychotropics. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1990 Oct; 10(5): 383-4. PMID: 2258459, ISSN: 0271-0749.

Gwirtsman HE, Guze BH, Yager J, Gainsley B. Fluoxetine treatment of anorexia nervosa: an open clinical trial. J Clin Psychiatry. 1990 Sep; 51(9): 378-82. PMID: 2102671, ISSN: 0160-6689.

Yanovski SZ, Gwirtsman HE. Macroamylasemia [letter]. J Am Board Fam Pract. 1990 Apr; 3(2): 140. PMID: 1692178, ISSN: 0893-8652.

Kaye WH, Gwirtsman HE, George DT, Jimerson DC, Ebert MH, Lake CR. Disturbances of noradrenergic systems in normal weight bulimia: relationship to diet and menses. Biol. Psychiatry. 1990 Jan 1/1/1990; 27(1): 4-21. PMID: 2297551, ISSN: 0006-3223.

Kaye WH, George DT, Gwirtsman HE, Jimerson DC, Goldstein DS, Ebert MH, Lake CR. Isoproterenol infusion test in anorexia nervosa: assessment of pre- and post-beta-noradrenergic receptor activity. Psychopharmacol Bull. 1990; 26(3): 355-9. PMID: 2274636, ISSN: 0048-5764.

Gwirtsman HE, Guze BH. Amphetamine, but not methylphenidate, predicts antidepressant response [letter]. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1989 Dec; 9(6): 453-4. PMID: 2592595, ISSN: 0271-0749.

Gwirtsman HE, Halaris AE, Wolf AW, DeMet E, Piletz JE, Marler M. Apparent phase advance in diurnal MHPG rhythm in depression. Am J Psychiatry. 1989 Nov; 146(11): 1427-33. PMID: 2817113, DOI: 10.1176/ajp.146.11.1427, ISSN: 0002-953X.

Gwirtsman HE, Kaye WH, George DT, Carosella NW, Greene RC, Jimerson DC. Hyperamylasemia and its relationship to binge-purge episodes: development of a clinically relevant laboratory test. J Clin Psychiatry. 1989 Jun; 50(6): 196-204. PMID: 2470728, ISSN: 0160-6689.

Kaye WH, Gwirtsman HE, George DT. The effect of bingeing and vomiting on hormonal secretion. Biol. Psychiatry. 1989 Mar 3/15/1989; 25(6): 768-80. PMID: 2647157, PII: 0006-3223(89)90248-5, ISSN: 0006-3223.

Gwirtsman HE, Kaye WH, Obarzanek E, George DT, Jimerson DC, Ebert MH. Decreased caloric intake in normal-weight patients with bulimia: comparison with female volunteers. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1989 Jan; 49(1): 86-92. PMID: 2912015, ISSN: 0002-9165.

Gwirtsman HE, Kaye WH, Curtis SR, Lyter LM. Energy intake and dietary macronutrient content in women with anorexia nervosa and volunteers. J Am Diet Assoc. 1989 Jan; 89(1): 54-7. PMID: 2909592, ISSN: 0002-8223.

Gwirtsman HE, Kaye WH, George DT, Jimerson DC, Ebert MH, Gold PW. Central and peripheral ACTH and cortisol levels in anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry. 1989 Jan; 46(1): 61-9. PMID: 2535925, ISSN: 0003-990X.

Kaye WH, Berrettini WH, Gwirtsman HE, Gold PW, George DT, Jimerson DC, Ebert MH. Contribution of CNS neuropeptide (NPY, CRH, and beta-endorphin) alterations to psychophysiological abnormalities in anorexia nervosa. Psychopharmacol Bull. 1989; 25(3): 433-8. PMID: 2533990, ISSN: 0048-5764.

Kassett JA, Gwirtsman HE, Kaye WH, Brandt HA, Jimerson DC. Pattern of onset of bulimic symptoms in anorexia nervosa. Am J Psychiatry. 1988 Oct; 145(10): 1287-8. PMID: 3421352, DOI: 10.1176/ajp.145.10.1287, ISSN: 0002-953X.

Kaye WH, Gwirtsman HE, Obarzanek E, George DT. Relative importance of calorie intake needed to gain weight and level of physical activity in anorexia nervosa. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1988 Jun; 47(6): 989-94. PMID: 3376913, ISSN: 0002-9165.

Kaye WH, Rubinow D, Gwirtsman HE, George DT, Jimerson DC, Gold PW. CSF somatostatin in anorexia nervosa and bulimia: relationship to the hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal cortical axis. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1988; 13(3): 265-72. PMID: 2900533, ISSN: 0306-4530.

Kaye WH, Gwirtsman HE, Brewerton TD, George DT, Wurtman RJ. Bingeing behavior and plasma amino acids: a possible involvement of brain serotonin in bulimia nervosa. Psychiatry Res. 1988 Jan; 23(1): 31-43. PMID: 2834764, PII: 0165-1781(88)90032-7, ISSN: 0165-1781.

Berrettini WH, Kaye WH, Sunderland T, May C, Gwirtsman HE, Mellow A, Albright A. Galanin immunoreactivity in human CSF: studies in eating disorders and Alzheimer's disease. Neuropsychobiology. 1988; 19(2): 64-8. PMID: 2465504, PII: 118436, DOI: 118436, ISSN: 0302-282X.

Kaye WH, Gwirtsman HE, George DT, Jimerson DC, Ebert MH. CSF 5-HIAA concentrations in anorexia nervosa: reduced values in underweight subjects normalize after weight gain. Biol. Psychiatry. 1988 Jan 1/1/1988; 23(1): 102-5. PMID: 2447961, PII: 0006-3223(88)90113-8, ISSN: 0006-3223.

Kaye WH, Berrettini WH, Gwirtsman HE, Chretien M, Gold PW, George DT, Jimerson DC, Ebert MH. Reduced cerebrospinal fluid levels of immunoreactive pro-opiomelanocortin related peptides (including beta-endorphin) in anorexia nervosa. Life Sci. 1987 Nov 11/2/1987; 41(18): 2147-55. PMID: 2823041, ISSN: 0024-3205.

Brewerton TD, Gwirtsman HE. Seasonal dexamethasone suppression test results [letter]. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry. 1987 Oct; 44(10): 920-1. PMID: 3662747, ISSN: 0003-990X.

Kaye WH, Gwirtsman HE, George DT, Ebert MH, Jimerson DC, Tomai TP, Chrousos GP, Gold PW. Elevated cerebrospinal fluid levels of immunoreactive corticotropin-releasing hormone in anorexia nervosa: relation to state of nutrition, adrenal function, and intensity of depression. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 1987 Feb; 64(2): 203-8. PMID: 3491830, DOI: 10.1210/jcem-64-2-203, ISSN: 0021-972X.

Kaye WH, Gwirtsman HE, George DT, Weiss SR, Jimerson DC. Relationship of mood alterations to bingeing behaviour in bulimia. Br J Psychiatry. 1986 Oct; 149: 479-85. PMID: 3814933, ISSN: 0007-1250.

Kaye WH, Gwirtsman HE, Obarzanek E, George T, Jimerson DC, Ebert MH. Caloric intake necessary for weight maintenance in anorexia nervosa: nonbulimics require greater caloric intake than bulimics. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1986 Oct; 44(4): 435-43. PMID: 3766430, ISSN: 0002-9165.

Petersen R, Kaye WH, Gwirtsman HE. Comparison of calculated estimates and laboratory analysis of food offered to hospitalized eating disorder patients. J Am Diet Assoc. 1986 Apr; 86(4): 490-2. PMID: 3958399, ISSN: 0002-8223.

DeMet EM, Halaris AE, Gwirtsman HE, Reno RM. Diurnal rhythm of 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG): relationship between plasma and urinary levels. Life Sci. 1985 Nov 11/4/1985; 37(18): 1731-41. PMID: 4058250, ISSN: 0024-3205.

Winterer J, Gwirtsman HE, George DT, Kaye WH, Loriaux DL, Cutler GB. Adrenocorticotropin-stimulated adrenal androgen secretion in anorexia nervosa: impaired secretion at low weight with normalization after long-term weight recovery. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 1985 Oct; 61(4): 693-7. PMID: 2993344, DOI: 10.1210/jcem-61-4-693, ISSN: 0021-972X.

Gwirtsman HE, Roy-Byrne P, Gitlin MJ, Halaris A, Ahles S. Reported weight loss and dexamethasone nonsuppression in depressed patients. A negative study. J Affect Disord. 1985 Sep; 9(2): 193-6. PMID: 2932495, ISSN: 0165-0327.

Sternbach HA, Gwirtsman HE, Gerner RH, Hershman J, Pekary E. The TRH stimulation test and reverse T3 in depression. J Affect Disord. 1985 May; 8(3): 267-70. PMID: 3160737, ISSN: 0165-0327.

Kaye WH, Gwirtsman HE, Lake CR, Siever LJ, Jimerson DC, Ebert MH, Murphy DL. Disturbances of norepinephrine metabolism and alpha-2 adrenergic receptor activity in anorexia nervosa: relationship to nutritional state. Psychopharmacol Bull. 1985; 21(3): 419-23. PMID: 2994154, ISSN: 0048-5764.

Kaye WH, Ebert MH, Gwirtsman HE, Weiss SR. Differences in brain serotonergic metabolism between nonbulimic and bulimic patients with anorexia nervosa. Am J Psychiatry. 1984 Dec; 141(12): 1598-601. PMID: 6209991, DOI: 10.1176/ajp.141.12.1598, ISSN: 0002-953X.

Gwirtsman HE, Roy-Byrne P, Lerner L, Yager J. Bulimia in men: report of three cases with neuroendocrine findings. J Clin Psychiatry. 1984 Feb; 45(2): 78-81. PMID: 6582061, ISSN: 0160-6689.

Gwirtsman HE, Ahles S, Halaris A, DeMet E, Hill MA. Therapeutic superiority of maprotiline versus doxepin in geriatric depression. J Clin Psychiatry. 1983 Dec; 44(12): 449-53. PMID: 6361005, ISSN: 0160-6689.

Roy-Byrne PP, Gwirtsman HE, Baxter L, Gerner RH. Endocrine correlates of mood response to methylphenidate in depression [letter]. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1983 Aug; 3(4): 266-8. PMID: 6886045, ISSN: 0271-0749.

Gwirtsman HE, Roy-Byrne P, Yager J, Gerner RH. Neuroendocrine abnormalities in bulimia. Am J Psychiatry. 1983 May; 140(5): 559-63. PMID: 6405632, DOI: 10.1176/ajp.140.5.559, ISSN: 0002-953X.

Drimmer EJ, Gitlin MJ, Gwirtsman HE. Desipramine and methylphenidate combination treatment for depression: case report. Am J Psychiatry. 1983 Feb; 140(2): 241-2. PMID: 6849446, DOI: 10.1176/ajp.140.2.241, ISSN: 0002-953X.

Sternbach HA, Gwirtsman HE, Gerner RH, Pekary E, Hershman J. Methodological issues in the measurement of serum TSH--implications for psychiatry. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1983; 8(4): 455-8. PMID: 6425890, ISSN: 0306-4530.

DeMet EM, Halaris AE, Gwirtsman HE, Reno RM, Becker PI. Effects of desipramine on diurnal rhythms of plasma 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG) in depressed patients. Psychopharmacol Bull. 1982 Oct; 18(4): 221-3. PMID: 6891473, ISSN: 0048-5764.

Gwirtsman HE. TSH and MHPG levels of depressed patients [letter]. Am J Psychiatry. 1982 Jul; 139(7): 967-8. PMID: 6807115, DOI: 10.1176/ajp.139.7.aj1397967, ISSN: 0002-953X.

Sternbach H, Gerner RH, Gwirtsman HE. The thyrotropin releasing hormone stimulation test: a review. J Clin Psychiatry. 1982 Jan; 43(1): 4-6. PMID: 6798028, ISSN: 0160-6689.

Gwirtsman HE, Gerner RH. Neurochemical abnormalities in anorexia nervosa: similarities to affective disorders. Biol. Psychiatry. 1981 Oct; 16(10): 991-5. PMID: 7306620, ISSN: 0006-3223.

Gerner RH, Gwirtsman HE. Abnormalities of dexamethasone suppression test and urinary MHPG in anorexia nervosa. Am J Psychiatry. 1981 May; 138(5): 650-3. PMID: 7235062, DOI: 10.1176/ajp.138.5.650, ISSN: 0002-953X.

Gwirtsman HE, Meltzer HL, Dunner DL, Fieve RR, Pierson RN. Rubidium replacement of total body potassium in humans. Horm. Metab. Res. 1980 Apr; 12(4): 175. PMID: 7390398, DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-996236, ISSN: 0018-5043.