Joseph Biederman

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Joseph Biederman is Chief of the Clinical and Research Programs in Pediatric Psychopharmacology and Adult ADHD at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and Professor of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Biederman is Board Certified in General and Child Psychiatry.

Awards and Honors

Dr. Biederman received the American Psychiatric Association’s Blanche Ittelson Award for Excellence in Child Psychiatric Research, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s Charlotte Norbert Rieger Award for Scientific Achievement. He has been inducted into the CHADD “Hall of Fame”[1].

In 2007, Dr. Biederman was ranked as the second highest producer of high-impact papers in psychiatry overall throughout the world with 235 papers cited a total of 7048 times over the past 10 years as determined by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI)[2]. The same organization ranked Dr. Biederman at #1 in terms of total citations to his papers published on ADD/ADHD in the past decade[3].

Dr. Biederman was the recipient of the 1998 NAMI Exemplary Psychiatrist award. He was also selected by the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society Awards committee as the recipient of the 2007 Outstanding Psychiatrist Award for Research. In 2007, Dr. Biederman received the Excellence in Research Award from the New England Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He was also awarded the Mentorship Award from the Department of Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital in September.

Noteworthy work

Described as "one of the world's most influential child psychiatrists",[4] Biederman has published hundred of papers on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and ranks as one of the most-cited researchers on the subject. In a 2005 interview, Dr. Beiderman stated: "Our work is also expanding to the study of early temperamental antecedents to ADHD in young preschool offspring of parents with ADHD."[5]

Biederman has also led studies concluding that a substantial minority of children diagnosed with ADHD actually had pediatric bipolar disorder. This theory was proposed at a time when it was unheard for young children to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which is characterized by severe mood swings. According to the New York Times, between 1994 to 2003, there was a controversial 40-fold increase in the diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder.[6].

Although Dr. Biederman was one of the first to systematically study childhood onset bipolar disorder, the existence of bipolar disorder in childhood had been shown by many prior reports [7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27]. In 1986, Weller et. al.[28] searched the literature of case reports describing children with severe psychiatric symptoms. Of 157 such cases, 24% had childhood onset bipolar disorder. This review suggested that juvenile mania may be common among referred children with severe psychopathology but that it may be difficult to diagnose.

This early work led to systematic studies by Dr. Biederman and others which showed that childhood onset bipolar disorder was more common than originally believed, especially among children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or conduct disorder [29][30][31][32]. Childhood onset bipolar disorder is now recognized by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry as a valid disorder as indicated by the publication of a practice parameter for diagnosing and treating bipolar disorder in children [33]..


In 2008, Congressional investigators charged that Biederman had received $1.6 million from drug companies between 2000 and 2007, much of which was not reported to university officials. This was reported by Gardiner Harris of the New York Times in an article[6] that Dr. Goldberg describes as “the McCarthyite Mugging of Joe Biederman”[34] due to its use of innuendo and inaccurate information.


  4. Allen, Scott (2007-06-17). "Backlash on bipolar diagnoses in children", Boston Globe. Retrieved on 2008-12-04. 
  5. An Interview with Dr. Joseph Biederman. ISI Essential Science Indicators (July 2005). Retrieved on 2008-12-04.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Harris, Gardiner; Benedict Carey (2008-06-08). "Researchers Fail to Reveal Full Drug Pay", New York Times. Retrieved on 2008-12-04. 
  7. Feinstein and Wolpert (1973) Juvenile manic-depressive illness: Clinical and therapeutic considerations. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 12 123-136
  8. Campbell (1952) Manic depressive psychosis in children: Report of 18 cases. Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases. 116 424-439
  9. Coll and Bland (1979) Manic depressive illness in adolescence and childhood: Review and case report. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 24 255-263
  10. Davis (1979) Manic-depressive variant syndrome of childhood: A preliminary report. American Journal of Psychiatry. 136 702-706
  11. Feinstein (1982) Manic-depressive disorder in children and adolescents. Adolescent Psychiatry. 10 256-272
  12. Frommer (1968) Recent developments in affective disorders. British Journal of Psychiatry. 2 117-136
  13. Geller, Fox and Clark (1994) Rate and predictors of prepubertal bipolarity during follow-up of 6-to 12-year-old depressed children. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 33 461-468
  14. Kasanin (1931) The affective psychoses in children. American Journal of Psychiatry. 10 897-926
  15. McHarg (1954) Mania in childhood. Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry. 72 531-539
  16. McKnew, Cytryn and White (1974) Clinical and biochemical correlates of hypomania in a child. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 13 576-584
  17. Potter (1983) Manic-depressive variant syndrome of childhood. Diagnostic and therapeutic considerations. Clinical Pediatrics. 22 495-499
  18. Poznanski, Israel and Grossman (1984) Hypomania in a four-year-old. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 23 105-110
  19. Reiss (1985) Developmental manifestations in a boy with prepubertal bipolar disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 46 441-443
  20. Sadler (1952) Juvenile manic activity. Nervous Child. 9 363-368
  21. Sylvester, Burke, McCauley and Clark (1984) Manic psychosis in childhood. Report of two cases. Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases. 172 12-15
  22. Thompson and Schindler (1976) Embryonic mania. Child Psychiatry and Human Development. 6 149-154
  23. Tomasson and Kuperman (1990) Bipolar disorder in a prepubescent child: Case study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 29 308-310
  24. Varanka, Weller, Weller and Fristad (1988) Lithium treatment of manic episodes with psychotic features in prepubertal children. American Journal of Psychiatry. 145 1557-1559
  25. Varsamis and MacDonald (1972) Manic Depressive Disease in Childhood. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 24 279-281
  26. Warneke (1975) A case of manic-depressive illness in childhood. Journal of Canadian Psychiatry Association. 20 195-200
  27. Weinberg and Brumback (1976) Mania in Childhood. American Journal of Diseases of Children. 130 380-385
  28. Weller, Weller, Tucker and Fristad (1986) Mania in prepubertal children: Has it been underdiagnosed? Journal of Affective Disorders. 11 151-154
  29. Biederman, Mick, Faraone, Van Patten, Burback and Wozniak (2004) A Prospective Follow Up Study of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder in boys with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders. 82S S17-S23
  30. Chang, Adleman, Dienes, Simeonova, Menon and Reiss (2004) Anomalous prefrontal-subcortical activation in familial pediatric bipolar disorder: a functional magnetic resonance imaging investigation. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 61 781-92
  31. Faedda, Baldessarini, Suppes, Tondo, Becker and Lipschitz (1995) Pediatric-onset bipolar disorder: A neglected clinical and public health problem. Harvard Review of Psychiatry. 3 171-195
  32. Leibenluft and Rich (2008) Pediatric bipolar disorder. Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 4 163-87
  33. (2007) Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Bipolar Disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 46 107-125

External links