Judith J. Wurtman, Ph.D was the former director of the Research Program in Women’s Health at the MIT Clinical Research Center and founder of TRIAD, a Harvard Hospital weight loss center. Along with Dr Frusztajer, she ran a private weight-loss practice in the Boston area specializing in obesity caused by antidepressants and emotional overeating.Dr. Wurtman received her Ph.D in cell biology from The George Washington University and took additional training in nutritional biochemistry and obesity as an National Institute of Health postdoctoral fellow. Her research career focused on the relationship between carbohydrates, brain serotonin and disturbances in emotional status and eating, and became a recognized authority on the topic of how food can affect mood.
Her discoveries include the phenomenon of ‘carbohydrate craving’ in which sweet or starchy carbohydrates are consumed to relieve depression, anxiety or anger (by raising brain serotonin). Dr Wurtman also showed that carbohydrate-rich foods can be used to decrease appetite and increase satiety especially among people treated with anti-depressants and other drugs used to treat emotional disorders. In addition Dr Wurtman along with her husband Dr Richard Wurtman showed that serotonin is involved in the eating and mood disturbances of premenstrual syndrome, seasonal depression and smoking withdrawal.