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Psychiatry Newsletter - A Beautiful Partnership

Hopkins Brain Wise Spring 2009

A Beautiful Partnership

Date: March 11, 2009

The scientist and the beauty queen. It’s a fine match.

Psychiatrist Gerald Nestadt, who heads the Hopkins hunt for genes underlying obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), has made the quest for targets for therapy his life’s research. Peers say Nestadt’s studies are impeccable; his team is making headway.

Linda Marshall is a beauty queen, though in a broader sense. Attractive, accomplished, she heads Elysée Scientific Cosmetics, Inc. Their president since 1975, she’s shepherded the family-run company to become a successful corporation with discerning, loyal customers nationwide.

Marshall has seen no conflict between high standards and prosperous business. Case in point: she quit an early job in the business after the owner said It doesn’t matter what we put in our bottles; Women just want hope.

Elysée’s products contained natural antioxidants long before their buzz-word status. A portion of sales underwrite a program to bring beauty to women recovering from breast cancer.

Since 2002, with her real and “second family”—generous industry colleagues—Marshall has raised roughly half a million dollars for Nestadt through Beyond Beauty, what she calls the elegant, celebrity-endorsed dinners that advance OCD research.

Her altruism is deeply personal. “Once, I had no idea what OCD was,” she says. Her oldest son, James, spent an inordinate amount of time on grooming—every hair checked twice—even for a teenager. Before he married, there were fears of food contamination, a possible segue into the anorexia he disguised well under three layers of clothing and jolly reassurances.

Two things burn in Marshall’s memory of her son’s last conversation. “I will always carry my love for all of you in my heart,’” he said, and, “I do so want to make a difference.”

Marshall and her family founded the James E. Marshall OCD Foundation in 2003, with help from the cosmetic industry. They’ve already made a difference.

Articles in this Issue

Anorexia's Biology

Stress and Diet

Insights: Geetha Jayaram

Eye on the Community

Supporting the Cause