Physician Detail

Godfrey David Pearlson, MD

Director, Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center, Institute of Living


Institute of Living


Psychiatry, Board Certified < Accepting new patients for this specialty

Areas of Interest

Mental Health

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Pearlson, Godfrey David, MD

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Office Locations

  • Whitehall Building

    200 Retreat Avenue
    Hartford, CT 06106
    Whitehall Building
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Dr. Godfrey Pearlson, Director, Olin Neuropsychiatry Center at Hartford Hospital discusses a grant awarded to Hartford Hospital from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Researchers at Hartford Hospital will be investigating neuroimaging predictors to better understand and improve the prediction of long-term weight loss outcomes following bariatric surgery.

HHC: Tell us about the grant involving the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center and the Hartford Hospital Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Center…

A. Obesity is an increasing problem in the US and developing world for individuals who are significantly overweight and have medical consequences such as arthritis or diabetes, bariatric surgery is a safe way to lose a large amount of weight where other approaches fail. You might think that bariatric surgery relies purely on “plumbing” and that everyone loses a lot of weight because the stomach is smaller, but that’s not the case. Some people gain the weight back quickly but right now we can’t predict before surgery who will do well and who will not.

Right now, nothing you might expect – Neither prior weight loss, hormone values, previous dieting success or anything else prior to bariatric surgery predicts the outcome at all. Our pilot study showed for the first time that how peoples’ brains respond to food cues in a functional MRI scanner is an extremely good predictor of weight loss, one year following surgery.

HHC: What are the goals of the study? what do you hope to discover?

A. We want to see if we can repeat our exciting pilot findings in a large number of new subjects. If we can predict ahead of time who will benefit most and least from the surgery, then some patients may be offered additional counseling or medication treatment upfront to help them benefit as much as possible.

HHC: Tell us about this unique collaboration of the two centers that began eight years ago and the development of an interdisciplinary Center on Obesity research. What have you learned by way of research since its inception?

A. HHC wisely offered research starter funds to encourage collaboration across different medical disciplines.

Drs. Darren Tischler and Pavlos Papasavas and I joined forces with HHC’s help and ran the first 65 patients through our imaging protocol, following them up a year after surgery. Now we have a chance to see on a much larger scale whether brain activity prior to surgery will continue to predict surgical success at up to four years post-surgery.



Faculty Appointments

University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Professor
University of CT School of Medicine, Professor

Professional Organizations

ACNP, Fellow
American Psychiatric Association, Distinguished Fellow
APPA, Fellow
Society of Biological Psychiatry, Member

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