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Science News from 2006

Landmark Council Session Spotlights “Real World” Trials

Science Update

National Institute of Mental Health

Principal investigators of NIMHs four large-scale clinical trials presented study results and their implications at the National Advisory Mental Health Council meeting on September 15, 2006.

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New Data on Suicidal Behaviors in Black Americans May Guide Interventions

Science Update

National Institute of Mental Health

The prevalence of attempted suicide among black Americans is higher than previously reported, but near the levels reported for the general population.

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Older Medication May Be More Cost-Effective for Some Patients with Schizophrenia

Press Release

National Institute of Mental Health

A new study analyzing the economic implications of the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) concludes that the older (first generation) antipsychotic medication perphenazine was less expensive and no less effective than the newer (second generation) medications used in the trial during initial treatment, suggesting that older antipsychotics still have a role in treating schizophrenia.

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New NIMH Research Strives to Understand How Antidepressants May Be Associated with Suicidal Thoughts and Actions

Science Update

National Institute of Mental Health

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health, is funding five new research projects that will shed light on antidepressant medications, notably selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and their association with suicidal thoughts and actions.

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U.S. Youth Suicide Rates Lower in Counties with High SSRI Use

Science Update

National Institute of Mental Health

For children ages five to 14, suicide rates from 1996 to 1998 were lower in areas of the country with higher rates of antidepressant prescriptions, according to an NIMH-funded study published in the November 2006 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Odds of Beating Depression Diminish as Additional Treatment Strategies are Needed

Science Update

National Institute of Mental Health

An overall assessment of the nation’s largest real-world study of treatment-resistant depression suggests that a patient with persistent depression can get well after trying several treatment strategies, but his or her odds of beating the depression diminish as additional treatment strategies are needed.

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Preschoolers with ADHD Improve with Low Doses of Medication

Press Release

National Institute of Mental Health

The first long-term, large-scale study designed to determine the safety and effectiveness of treating preschoolers who have attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with methylphenidate (Ritalin) has found that overall, low doses of this medication are effective and safe.

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Antipsychotic Medications Used to Treat Alzheimer’s Patients Found Lacking

Press Release

National Institute of Mental Health

Commonly prescribed antipsychotic medications used to treat Alzheimer’s patients with delusions, aggression, hallucinations, and other similar symptoms can benefit some patients, but they appear to be no more effective than a placebo when adverse side effects are considered, according to the first phase of a large-scale clinical trial funded by NIMH.

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How Strep Triggers Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – New Clues

Science Update

National Institute of Mental Health

A likely mechanism by which a bacterial infection triggers obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in some children has been demonstrated by NIMH scientists and collaborators at California State University and the University of Oklahoma.

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NIMH Researchers Discover Medication’s Antidepressant Potential

Science Update

National Institute of Mental Health

A commonly used sedative and motion-sickness treatment shows promise as a fast-acting antidepressant, according to a study conducted by researchers at NIMH.

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Subsequent Treatment Strategies for Persistent Depression Yield Modest Results

Science Update

National Institute of Mental Health

Patients with treatment-resistant depression had a modest chance of becoming symptom-free when they tried different treatment strategies after two or three failed treatments, according to results from the nation’s largest real-world study of depression.

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Experimental Medication Kicks Depression in Hours Instead of Weeks

Press Release

National Institute of Mental Health

People with treatment—resistant depression experienced symptom relief in as little as two hours with a single intravenous dose of ketamine, a medication usually used in higher doses as an anesthetic in humans and animals, in a preliminary study.

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Switching to a Third Antidepressant Medication May Prove Helpful to Some with Treatment-Resistant Depression

Science Update

National Institute of Mental Health

The next wave of results from the nation’s largest real-world study of treatment-resistant depression shows that patients had a moderate chance of becoming symptom-free when they switchedto a third antidepressant medication, following two previously unsuccessful medication attempts.

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Intermittent Explosive Disorder Affects up to 16 Million Americans

Press Release

National Institute of Mental Health

A little-known mental disorder marked by episodes of unwarranted anger is more common than previously thought, a study funded by NIMH has found.

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Fear Circuit Flares as Bipolar Youth Misread Faces

Press Release

National Institute of Mental Health

Youth with bipolar disorder misread facial expressions as hostile and show heightened neural reactions when they focus on emotional aspects of neutral faces, NIMH researchers have discovered.

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New Strategies Help Depressed Patients Become Symptom-Free

Press Release

National Institute of Mental Health

Results of the nation’s largest depression study show that one in three depressed patients who previously did not achieve remission using an antidepressant became symptom-free with the help of an additional medication and one in four achieved remission after switching to a different antidepressant.

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Depression Model Leaves Mice with Molecular Scar

Press Release

National Institute of Mental Health

In addition to triggering a depression-like social withdrawal syndrome, repeated defeat by dominant animals leaves a mouse with an enduring “molecular scar” in its brain that could help to explain why depression is so difficult to cure, suggest researchers funded by NIMH.

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Mice Lacking Social Memory Molecule Take Bullying in Stride

Press Release

National Institute of Mental Health

The social avoidance that normally develops when a mouse repeatedly experiences defeat by a dominant animal disappears when it lacks a gene for a memory molecule in a brain circuit for social learning, scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) have discovered.

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Early Findings from Largest NIMH-Funded Research Program on Bipolar Disorder Begin to Build Evidence-Base on Best Treatment Options

Science Update

National Institute of Mental Health

Findings from an NIMH research program on bipolar disorder provide much needed long-term data on the chronic, recurrent course of the disorder, and begin the work of building an evidence-base on the best treatments for those with the disorder.

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Nobelist Discovers Antidepressant Protein in Mouse Brain

Press Release

National Institute of Mental Health

A protein that seems to be pivotal in lifting depression has been discovered by a Nobel Laureate researcher funded by NIMH.

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