July 2, 2014

Norman Cousins Award to William A. Banks, M.D.

William A. Banks, M.D.

William A. Banks, M.D, associate director for the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, received the 2014 Norman Cousins Award from the PsychoNeuroImmunology Research Society (PNIRS).

Banks, also a professor at the University of Washington, studies the blood-brain barrier—more specifically, "how the brain and body communicate with one another through the transfer of informational molecules across the BBB." His lab has shown how many proteins and other molecules cross the barrier, and how various diseases affect that process. Among his current projects are several studies examining ways to deliver drugs to the brain, as possible treatments for Alzheimer's disease or other ailments.

The nonprofit PNIRS promotes the study, by various medical and scientific disciplines, of the interaction between the nervous and immune system. The focus is on basic research that leads to clinical applications.

Norman Cousins was a journalist and author who became well-known in the 1970s and 1980s for his writings on the role of laughter and positive emotion in overcoming illness. His best-known book, later to be made into a movie featuring actor Ed Asner as Cousins, was titled Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient: Reflections on Healing.