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Posts from 2010

NIMH’s Top 10 Research Events and Advances of 2010

10 breakthroughs and events of 2010 which are changing the way we approach mental disorders.

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Science Education – Investing for the Future

Dr. Insel discusses the need for science education and NIMH’s efforts to improve science literacy among all Americans.

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Wanted: A Few Good Assays

NIMH/NIH is nurturing medications development via assays that probe new molecular targets relevant to mental disorders.

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From Cognition to Genomics: Progress in Schizophrenia Research

This blog outlines recent progress in schizophrenia research, citing a special issue of the journal Nature focusing on schizophrenia.

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Spotlight on Postpartum Depression

Dr. Insel summarizes NIMH’s research efforts to better understand and treat postpartum depression.

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Investing in Innovation

NIH has created several funding mechanisms aimed at supporting innovative, unconventional research.

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Brain Scans – Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

Despite promising advances as a research tool, brain imaging is not quite ripe for clinical application in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.

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Attention on ADHD Awareness Week

Dr. Insel comments on progress and directions for future studies of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) during ADHD Awareness Week.

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The Under-recognized Public Health Crisis of Suicide

Dr. Insel discusses various approaches to the prevention of suicide and what research has revealed on risk and treatment of related mental disorders. Also, HHS announces a new Alliance for Suicide Prevention, which will coordinate a full court press across Federal agencies.

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Taking Clinical Research to the Next Level

Dr. Insel discusses the evolution of clinical research and changing priorities in clinical research funding.

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Army Suicide Study Kicks into Gear

Dr. Insel provides an update on NIMH's and the U.S. Army's efforts to reduce suicide in the military.

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Microbes and Mental Illness

Increasing evidence linking strep infection to OCD in children suggests that microbiomics may prove an important research area for understanding and treating mental disorders.

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Three Principles for Clinical Research

Dr. insel discusses two important initiatives that will have a broad impact on NIMH’s clinical research portfolio.

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Reducing Disparities in Mental Health Equity: Closing the Gaps

While one of America’s greatest strengths is its racial and cultural diversity, this diversity produces complex mental health care issues due to the heterogeneity of the population to be served.

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More on Public Trust and Conflict of Interest

Dr. Insel addresses recent misconceptions pertaining to financial conflict of interest.

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NIMH — Reducing Conflict of Interest, Ensuring Public Trust

Dr. Insel discusses progress in the approaches for identifying and preventing financial conflicts of interest.

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Turning the Corner, Not the Key, in Treatment of Serious Mental Illness

People with a major mental illness have a shorter than average life expectancy and each year there are nearly twice as many suicides as homicides in the U.S. A new report now documents that people with mental illness are three times more likely to be in the criminal justice system than hospitals because of a failure to provide services within the mental health care system.

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NIMH’s BRAINS Awards—In Support of Creativity

NIMH recognizes the first seven recipients of its BRAINS awards.

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NIMH Basic Science Support: Busting Myths

NIMH has always and will continue to support cutting edge basic science research. Understanding normal functioning of brain-behavior relationships is critical to providing insight into abnormal brain-behavior relationships. To build a translational bridge we will need a very strong foundation in basic science. This foundation will need to be multidisciplinary and cut across species and levels of analysis.

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May 6th: Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

May is Mental Health Month and this year NIMH teams up with SAMHSA to celebrate and promote Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day on May 6th. Dr. Insel talks about how mental illnesses are the chronic diseases of the young.

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What’s in a Name? — The Outlook for Borderline Personality Disorder

As currently defined, borderline personality disorder is considered a reflection of an essential aspect of a person’s character that influences his or her way of seeing and being seen in the world. Recent research, however, has shown that symptoms of the disorder aren’t constant and may not always be as enduring as some researchers and clinicians may think.

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Diagnosis: Pediatric Bipolar Disorder?

NIMH is working to better define the boundaries of pediatric bipolar disorder, discover its causes and develop more effective treatments for such mood related syndromes affecting youth. Cross-cutting comparisons of mania-related and other forms of irritability and functional brain imaging studies will help to disentangle these syndromes so that clinicians can provide children with the best care. Our goal is nothing less than pre-emtive interventions and cures.

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Who Will Develop the Next Generation of Medications for Mental Illness?

Today’s treatments for mental illness may be good but they are not good enough. As industry pulls back, NIMH will have to step in and play a bigger role in fostering development of a new generation of evidenced-based medications for people with mental illness.

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In Search of the Missing Genetic Signals

In recent years, NIMH-supported researchers have discovered several genes that are associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and bipolar disorder. Most of these genes were discovered either through a candidate gene approach comparing cases and controls or by looking for linkage to genetic variation associated with occurrence of the disease in a family. However, the genomic variants discovered to date can explain only a small fraction of the genetic risk. So where are the missing genetic signals for mental disorders?

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Tracing the Brain’s Connections

A picture of the brain’s connections is emerging from an effort to create a reference atlas of the human “connectome.” Much like variation in the human genome, highly individual variation in circuitry occurs within a universal, intrinsic functional architecture.

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Disorders Without Borders

NIMH is increasing its commitment to global mental health.  The Institute is already invested in research around the globe.  In 2009, NIMH supported nearly 200 grants in 51 countries.  Our portfolio has included AIDS prevention in sub-Sahara Africa, studies of autism in Saudi Arabia, and research on mental health systems in Chile.  With such a broad international portfolio, so many unmet needs for mental health research in the United States, and so little new money available for research, why would NIMH want to invest more globally?

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Re-Thinking Classification of Mental Disorders

Can we develop a clinically useful diagnostic system based on neuroscience and genetics? Not yet. But, in the spirit of beginning a long journey, NIMH is taking its first step with the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project.

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Ensuring Public Trust

NIMH’s aggressive approach towards identifying and preventing financial conflicts of interest.

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Reducing Suicide in the Military

The U.S. Army recently released new suicide data  for December 2009. Last month, there were 10 potential suicides among active duty soldiers, nine of which are pending confirmation. When added to the data for the rest of the year, the total number of reported suicides for 2009 among active duty soldiers is 160, 114 of which have been confirmed. By comparison, in 2008 there were 140 suicides among active duty soldiers.

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Looking Forward in 2010

This week’s issue of Nature, the first of 2010, includes an editorial entitled “A Decade for Psychiatric Disorders ”. Phil Campbell, the editor of Nature, argues that the understanding and treatment of conditions such as schizophrenia are ripe for a revolution. At NIMH, we agree with this assessment. Indeed, the revolution is already underway with extraordinary recent findings from genomics, imaging, and clinical trials. The banner for this revolution is pathophysiology, understanding the mechanism of disease as a critical step to developing novel, effective, and safe treatments and preventive strategies. As Campbell says, “There is much to be done, and a decade is the timescale over which enhanced commitment is required.”

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