March 18, 1997
Media Contact: Michael Purdy
Phone: (410) 955-8725

TO: Reporters, Editors and Producers

FROM: Michael Purdy 410/955-8725 Media Relations Representative

RE: Experts gather to assess battle over "memories" of childhood sexual abuse

DATE: March 18, 1997

On March 21, researchers and physicians will gather at Johns Hopkins to discuss the latest developments in one of the most controversial issues of modern psychiatry: so-called recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse.

Presenters will discuss growing evidence that recovered memories are often false or twisted beyond recognition by the questionable or coercive techniques used to retrieve them. Participants also will debate multiple personality disorder, a diagnosis often associated with "recovered" memories and rejected by some psychiatrists as invalid.

The conference, "What's New in the Memory Wars?: Implications for Clinical Practice," is sponsored by Hopkins' department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. It lasts from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Turner Building on Hopkins' Medical Campus.

Registered media are welcome to attend. The conference is directed principally at professional audiences: psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors and attorneys.

A separate series of meetings for patients and families is being held at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport Marriott on March 22 and 23. Media may register to attend these meetings by contacting the False Memory Syndrome Foundation at (215) 387-7944.

Other presentations at the professional meeting will outline standards for dealing with psychiatric disorders that may be linked to memory problems, and describe methods for helping patients and families harmed by non-standard treatments and the creation of false memories.

To register for the professionals' conference, contact Hopkins' Continuing Medical Education Department at (410) 955-2959. Media wishing to extend their visit to events or activities outside the Turner Building should contact me at (410) 955-8725.

-- JHMI --
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