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Translational Research for the Development of Novel Interventions for Mental Disorders

NAMHC Concept Clearance

Presenter

Ann Wagner, Ph.D.
Chief, Neurobehavioral Mechanisms of Mental Disorders Branch
Division of Developmental Translational Research

Goal

This initiative solicits grant applications to speed the translation of emerging findings on the neuroscience of mental disorders into novel treatment approaches that will ultimately alter dysfunctional neural circuits and psychological processes underlying mental disorders.

Rationale

The NIMH Strategic Plan calls for the development of new or improved interventions for people with mental disorders in Strategy 3.1: Further develop innovative interventions and designs for intervention studies. The National Advisory Mental Health Council's workgroup report, From Discovery to Cure: Accelerating the Development of New and Personalized Interventions for Mental Illnesses, also recognizes the gap between advances in understanding the neural circuitry and neurobiological mechanisms underlying mental disorders, and the development of novel interventions. The report suggests strategies for facilitating the development of novel interventions in order to meet this need.

This initiative addresses a specific gap in treatment development research at NIMH: the translation of biological and behavioral science findings into novel psychosocial (e.g., cognitive strategies and innovative behavioral approaches) and other non-pharmacological interventions (e.g., brain stimulation, protocols designed to enhance plasticity). Concurrent with an increasing understanding of neural networks associated with mental disorders, there is an increasing appreciation of the role of experience in neurodevelopment, and the impact, at the neural level, of cognitive, behavioral, and other non-pharmacological interventions. Hence, there is great opportunity for translating this emerging knowledge into intervention strategies.

This initiative aims to speed the translation of emerging findings on the neuroscience of mental disorders into novel treatment approaches that will ultimately alter dysfunctional neural circuits and psychological processes underlying mental disorders to reduce symptoms and/or restore function.

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