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Posts from 2013

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Ten Best of 2013

Dr. Insel reviews his “top ten” selections for 2013, including research advances and historic policy changes affecting mental health care.

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Wanted: A Few Good Brains

Dr. Insel explains the importance of post-mortem brain donation to research and how the new NIH NeuroBioBank initiative will support research on human brain tissue.

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Culture Clash

Dr. Insel talks about the need for research taking place in academic settings to be in line with the desire of the public for advances in prevention and treatment of disease.

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P4C : Time = Lives

Dr. Insel recaps the annual Partners for Cure (P4C) meeting, where the theme is to speed the delivery of new cures through innovative research models.

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One Person, Many Genomes

The discovery that mutations unique to an individual are common in the brain changes, and complicates, the search for genes underlying brain disorders.

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Shutdown

We have missed a cycle of grant review, but we should be able to recover this year. Research projects will be delayed but in most cases not irreparably harmed. For most scientists, coming to NIMH means sacrificing salary and working very long hours for the opportunity to have enormous impact. There was something about the furlough that left even the most self-sacrificing public servant feeling dispensable and devalued. No job, no impact. The long-term impact of the shutdown may be on morale.

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In Vitro Veritas?

With more than 100 common gene variants recently implicated in schizophrenia and autism, the problem now is to pinpoint how they might change brain circuits. A promising new tool is a sort of budding brain in a dish. What’s amazing – eclipsing earlier “disease-in-a-dish” discoveries – is that, over weeks and months, differentiating cells in these “organoids” organize themselves according to the architecture that we see in a functioning human brain.

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Accessing and Assessing Science: From PLOS to DORA

In his blog, Dr. Insel discusses the challenge of assessing the quality of scientific research in a new era of open access publishing.

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Antipsychotics: Taking the Long View

Antipsychotics help people through the crisis of acute psychosis, but the long-term management of chronic mental illness is another matter. It appears that what we currently call “schizophrenia” may comprise disorders with quite different trajectories. For some people, remaining on medication long-term might impede a full return to wellness. For others, discontinuing medication can be disastrous.

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Infantile Amnesia

Dr. Insel describes how insights from research into why we do not retain memories from the first four years of life may help shed light on many aspects of memory.

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Healing Invisible Wounds: An Action Plan

In his blog, Dr. Insel talks about the National Research Action Plan, an effort announced by President Obama aimed at improving prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health conditions and traumatic brain injury in military personnel.

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A Sampling of Summer Science

Dr. Insel reports in his blog about intriguing findings published this summer on the genes and disruptions in brain circuitry involved in schizophrenia.

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Getting Serious About Mental Illnesses

Dr. Insel explains the nuances of the term, “serious mental illness.”

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Open Data

Dr. Insel talks about the value of data sharing and collaboration to promote innovation and scientific discovery.

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A National Dialogue

Dr. Insel talks about the President’s launch on June 3 of the National Dialogue on Mental Health, and NIMH’s role in this effort.

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Transforming Diagnosis

NIMH is committed to new and better treatments, but this will only happen by developing a more precise diagnostic system. Going forward, we will be supporting research projects that look across current categories – or sub-divide current categories – to begin to develop a better system. RDoC is nothing less than a plan to transform clinical practice by bringing a new generation of research to inform how we diagnose and treat mental disorders.

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New Views into the Brain

Dr. Insel talks about how a powerful new brain imaging technique will make it possible for scientists to investigate the brain in in an entirely new way, offering a preview of what scientists hope to achieve with tools developed as a result of the new BRAIN initiative.

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Schizophrenia as a Health Disparity

Dr. Insel blogs about what epidemiological research in Sweden tells us about premature mortality experienced by people with serious mental illness and what we need to do to change that.

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Making the Connection

Dr. Insel’s blog makes the link between neuroscience and the national conversation on mental illness and gun violence; neuroscience research is the key to our being able to identify psychosis risk early and preempt the development of serious mental illness.

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Brain Awareness

In a blog about Brain Awareness Month, NIMH Director Thomas Insel talks about the mysteries that remain to be solved about how the brain works.

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The Four Kingdoms of Autism

Dr. Insel describes how different perspectives separate the communities interested in autism, and suggests the common ground that would provide an avenue to move forward.

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Network Solutions

Dr. Insel talks about how NIMH’s RAISE study is exploring an integrated, multi-component approach to health care for schizophrenia.

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The Case for Preemption

Dr. Insel talks about the importance of developing ways to identify individuals at high risk of mental disorders before they develop symptoms, making it possible to intervene early and prevent serious illness.

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The Beginning of History Illusion

Dr. Insel reflects on the state of mental health care and research 50 years after President Kennedy’s special message to congress on mental health.

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