James Blumenthal
Principal Investigator
J. P. Gibbons Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry
Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Assistant Professor in Medicine
Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Senior Fellow in the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development


With the ultimate goal of developing, implementing, and evaluating behavioral interventions for primary and secondary prevention, the laboratory examines mechanisms underlying the development of cardiovascular disease and seeks to better understand the impact of psychosocial factors on health and illness.

Techniques used by the lab include:

  • Ambulatory blood pressure and cardiac output monitoring
  • Echocardiography
  • Heart rate variability
  • Vascular stiffness and endothelial function
  • Treadmill testing
  • Behavioral interventions, including exercise, DASH diet, and weight reduction
  • The design and implementation of new research initiatives

Cardiovascular medicine fellows have opportunities to participate in this work.

Current NIH-funded studies include: 

  • Behavioral interventions in the treatment of myocardial ischemia
  • The use of the DASH diet and exercise in the management of hypertension
  • Mechanisms responsible for the increased risk of hypertension and left ventricular hypertrophy in African Americans
  • The effects of estrogen and progesterone on vascular function and 24-hour blood pressure in postmenopausal women
  • Behavioral determinants of disease progression and outcome in patients with congestive heart failure
  • The use of exercise as a treatment for depression in coronary heart disease patients
  • Causes and consequences of a nocturnal "dip" in blood pressure
  • The effects of a telephone-based stress-management program in lung transplant patients
  • The impact of cardiac surgery on cognitive function and health-related quality of life

Selected Publications

  • Blumenthal JA, Babyak M, Wei J, et al. (2002) Usefulness of psychosocial treatment of mental stress-induced myocardial ischemia in men. Am J Cardiol, 89: 164-168
  • Sherwood A, Steffen PR, Blumenthal JA, Kuhn C, Hinderliter AL. (2002) Nighttime Blood Pressure Dipping: The role of the sympathetic nervous system. American Journal of Hypertension, 15: 111-118.
  • Rozanski A, Blumenthal JA, Davidson KW, Saab PG, and Kubzansky L. (2005) The epidemiology, pathophysiology, and management of psychosocial risk factors in cardiac practice. JACC, 45 (5): 637-651.
  • Blumenthal JA, Sherwood A, Babyak MA, Watkins LL, Waugh R, Georgiades A, Bacon SL, Hayano J, Coleman RE, Hinderliter A. (2005) Effects of exercise and stress management training on markers of cardiovascular risk in patients with ischemic heart disease; A randomized controlled trial. JAMA, 293(13): 1626-1634.
  • Sherwood A, Hinderliter AL, Watkins LL, Waugh RA, Blumenthal JA. (2005) Impaired endothelial function in coronary heart disease patients with depressive symptomatology. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 46: 656-659


James A. Blumenthal, PhD
Andrew Sherwood, PhD
Robert A. Waugh, MD

Contact Information

Campus mail: DUMC 3119, Durham, NC, 27710
Phone: 919-684-3828