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News and Multimedia from 2009 Featuring DDTR

Autism Intervention for Toddlers Improves Developmental Outcomes

Science Update

Adult swinging child, playing outside

Children with autism who receive a high intensity developmental behavioral intervention starting by age 18–30 months show major improvements in IQ, language, adaptive behavior, and severity of their diagnosis, according to an NIMH-funded study.

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Autism: The Whys of Increased Prevalence

Video.

Recent studies indicate an increase in autism prevalence. Columbia University sociology professor Dr. Peter Bearman joins NIMH Director Thomas Insel in this timely  discussion.

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Recovery Act Grant Aims to Teach Kids with Autism How to Better Express Themselves

Science Update

woman and boy with laptop

Most children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) seem to have trouble engaging in everyday social interactions. They may seem to have no reaction to other people or may respond atypically when others show anger or affection. Their own facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language may not match what they are saying, making it difficult for others to respond appropriately. Such barriers to communication can isolate children with ASD from their peers.

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NIMH Seeks More BRAINS

Press Release

lighted brain with blue glow

The National Institute of Mental Health is seeking more BRAINS for 2010 by offering a second round of Biobehavioral Research Awards for Innovative New Scientists (BRAINS). The program calls for innovative and groundbreaking research projects from early stage investigators to explore the complex mechanisms underlying mental disorders or novel treatments and prevention strategies. Proposed projects should address research priorities and gap areas identified in the NIMH Strategic Plan. Researchers interested in applying for these awards must submit their applications by Dec. 9, 2009.

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NIH Awards More than 50 Grants to Boost Search for Causes, Improve Treatments for Autism

Press Release

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded more than 50 autism research grants, totaling more than $65 million, which will be supported with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) funds. These grants are the result of the largest funding opportunity for research on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to date, announced in March 2009.

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Citalopram No Better Than Placebo Treatment for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Press Release

boy playing with a puzzle

Citalopram, a medication commonly prescribed to children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), was no more effective than a placebo at reducing repetitive behaviors, according to researchers funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and other NIH institutes. The study was published in the June 2009 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Thinning Tissue in Right Half of Brain Signals Increased Risk of Inherited Depression

Science Update

MRI brain map of tissue thickness

In cases of familial depression, changes in tissue thickness in key brain structures in the right half of the brain may increase a person’s risk for developing depression, according to NIMH-funded researchers. Similar changes in the left half of the brain were linked to the severity of a person’s existing depression or anxiety symptoms. Based on their findings, the researchers proposed a possible mechanism for how these brain changes affect depression risk in the April 14, 2009, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Black Teens, Especially Girls, at High Risk for Suicide Attempts

Science Update

Black American teens, especially females, may be at high risk for attempting suicide even if they have never been diagnosed with a mental disorder, according to researchers funded in part by NIMH. Their findings, based on responses from adolescent participants in the National Survey of American Life (NSAL), provide the first national estimates of suicidal thoughts and behaviors (ideation) and suicide attempts in 13- to 17-year-old black youth in the United States. The study was published in the March 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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Child Abuse Survivors Have Higher Risk for STDs in Adulthood Than Non-abused Adults

Science Update

A history of child abuse or neglect can increase the risk for STDs in adulthood, according to a study partly funded by NIMH. The researchers reported their findings in the April 2009 supplemental issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

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Childhood Maltreatment Undermines Physical Health in Adulthood

Science Update

It’s well known that early life experiences can affect a child’s cognitive, emotional, and behavioral development. A recent study funded by NIMH takes this link one step further showing that negative childhood experiences, such as abuse or neglect, can affect a person’s physical health as well. Published in the February 24, 2009, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study suggests a history of child abuse or neglect can lower a person’s overall immunity and ability to manage stress, and that this effect may be long-lasting.

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Rising to the Challenge: NIH Will Use $60 Million in Recovery Act Funds to Support Strategic Autism Research

Press Release

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will commit roughly $60 million from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to support autism research and meet objectives set forth earlier this year by a federal advisory committee. The Request for Applications is the largest funding opportunity for research on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to date and combined with other ARRA initiatives represents a surge in NIH’s commitment to finding the causes and treatments for autism.

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New Silvio O. Conte Centers Address Brain Development, Disorders

Science Update

With a mandate to use innovative, multidisciplinary research approaches to address important mental health questions, four newly funded centers have begun investigations of schizophrenia, brain development, and adolescent mood disorders.

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Impaired Brain Activity Underlies Impulsive Behaviors in Women with Bulimia

Science Update

Women with bulimia nervosa (BN), when compared with healthy women, showed different patterns of brain activity while doing a task that required self-regulation. This abnormality may underlie binge eating and other impulsive behaviors that occur with the eating disorder, according to an article published in the January 2009 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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