Science News from 2009
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- Economic Analysis Estimates Cost of Providing Comprehensive Mental Health Care Following Disasters
- Science Update August 11, 2009
Making evidence-based mental health services accessible to everyone in a disaster-stricken area would have substantial public health benefits, according to a statistical model developed by NIMH-funded researchers.
- Combination Treatment for Psychotic Depression Holds Promise
- Science Update August 07, 2009
A combination of an atypical antipsychotic medication and an antidepressant known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) may be more effective in treating psychotic depression than an atypical antipsychotic alone, according to results from an NIMH-funded clinical study.
- Youth with Autism Coming of Age: New NIMH Study Will Focus on Transitions in Service Use and Coverage
- Science Update August 07, 2009
The transition from teen to young adult involves many highly anticipated rites of passage. However, for youths with developmental disorders, coming of age may signal the sudden end of coverage for education and training programs, health insurance, and youth-oriented services.
- Major NIMH Research Project to Test Approaches to Altering the Course of Schizophrenia
- Press Release July 21, 2009
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is launching a large-scale research project to explore whether using early and aggressive treatment, individually targeted and integrating a variety of different therapeutic approaches, will reduce the symptoms and prevent the gradual deterioration of functioning that is characteristic of chronic schizophrenia.
- Evidence-Based Prevention is Goal of Largest Ever Study of Suicide in the Military
- Press Release July 16, 2009
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has announced that an interdisciplinary team of four research institutions will carry out the largest study of suicide and mental health among military personnel ever undertaken, with $50 million in funding from the U.S. Army. Study investigators aim to move quickly to identify risk and protective factors for suicide among soldiers and provide a science base for effective and practical interventions to reduce suicide rates and address associated mental health problems.
- NIH Launches the Human Connectome Project to Unravel the Brain’s Connections
- Press Release July 16, 2009
The National Institutes of Health Blueprint for Neuroscience Research is launching a $30 million project that will use cutting-edge brain imaging technologies to map the circuitry of the healthy adult human brain. By systematically collecting brain imaging data from hundreds of subjects, the Human Connectome Project (HCP) will yield insight into how brain connections underlie brain function, and will open up new lines of inquiry for human neuroscience.
- Brain Emotion Circuit Sparks as Teen Girls Size Up Peers
- Press Release July 15, 2009
What is going on in teenagers’ brains as their drive for peer approval begins to eclipse their family affiliations? Brain scans of teens sizing each other up reveal an emotion circuit activating more in girls as they grow older, but not in boys. The study by Daniel Pine, M.D., of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of National Institutes of Health, and colleagues, shows how emotion circuitry diverges in the male and female brain during a developmental stage in which girls are at increased risk for developing mood and anxiety disorders.
- Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Share Genetic Roots
- Press Release July 01, 2009
A trio of genome-wide studies – collectively the largest to date – has pinpointed a vast array of genetic variation that cumulatively may account for at least one third of the genetic risk for schizophrenia. One of the studies traced schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, in part, to the same chromosomal neighborhoods.
- Brief, Clinic-Based, Peer-led Intervention Helps Reduce Subsequent STDs in African American Men
- Science Update June 18, 2009
A brief, one-time intervention delivered by a trained peer health advisor was an effective and low-cost method for reducing new infections among young, heterosexual, African American men diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD), according to an NIMH-funded study. Such programs may help reduce STD-related health disparities, which currently affect a disproportionate number of African American men in the United States. The study was published in the April 2009 supplemental issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
- Much Touted “Depression Risk Gene” May Not Add to Risk After All
- Press Release June 16, 2009
Stressful life events are strongly associated with a person’s risk for major depression, but a certain gene variation long thought to increase risk in conjunction with stressful life events actually may have no effect, according to researchers funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health. The study, published in the June 17, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, challenges a widely accepted approach to studying risk factors for depression.
- Questions Raised About Stimulants and Sudden Death
- Science Update June 15, 2009
A study examining stimulant use among children and adolescents found an association between stimulants and sudden unexplained death in youth with no evidence of pre-existing heart disease. The finding draws attention to the potential risks of stimulant medication, according to the study’s authors; an accompanying editorial notes that the rarity of sudden unexplained death and the lack of long-term data on the effectiveness of these medications for reducing other health risks make a full benefit/risk assessment difficult.
- Re-shaping Negative Thoughts Shields At-Risk Teens from Depression
- Science Update June 09, 2009
At-risk teens exposed to a program that teaches them to counteract their unrealistic and overly negative thoughts experienced significantly less depression than their peers who received usual care, NIMH-funded researchers have found. However, the cognitive behavioral prevention program failed to similarly help adolescents prone to the mood disorder if their parents were currently depressed.
- New NIMH Video Describes Depression, Importance of Treatment
- Science Update June 02, 2009
A new 4-minute video from the National Institute of Mental Health provides an overview for the general public on the symptoms, impact, and treatment of depression. The video is available for viewing by individuals or can be used by community groups or in health care offices to inform viewers about depression and its consequences, and the critical importance of seeking treatment.
- Citalopram No Better Than Placebo Treatment for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Press Release June 01, 2009
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.
- Searching for Risk Factors of Suicidal Events During Antidepressant Treatment
- Science Update May 29, 2009
A new set of analyses of the NIMH-funded Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS) were conducted to better understand what may predict the development of suicidal events during treatment. The analyses, which were published in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, showed that youths with suicidal thoughts and more severe depression prior to treatment were at higher risk for suicidal events while undergoing treatment.
- HIV Prevention Program Gets a Boost From NIMH Recovery Act Funds
- Press Release May 26, 2009
Developing interventions to reduce the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among heterosexual men, couples and ethnically diverse populations continues to be complex and challenging. To help address this issue, NIMH awarded a two-year grant to David Pérez-Jiménez, Ph.D., at the University of Puerto Rico, to support the adaptation and assessment of an HIV and other sexually transmitted infection intervention designed for young, heterosexual Latino couples. This grant will use funds allocated to NIMH through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to promote economic recovery and spur advances in science and health.
- Recovery Funds Will Support Evaluation of Suicide Prevention Training
- Press Release May 22, 2009
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to provide grant support for the completion of a project under way to evaluate the effectiveness of a new training program for telephone crisis counselors at suicide hotline centers.
- Thinning Tissue in Right Half of Brain Signals Increased Risk of Inherited Depression
- Science Update May 08, 2009
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.
- Flow of Potassium Into Cells Implicated in Schizophrenia
- Press Release May 05, 2009
A study on schizophrenia has implicated machinery that maintains the flow of potassium in cells and revealed a potential molecular target for new treatments. Expression of a previously unknown form of a key such potassium channel was found to be 2.5 fold higher than normal in the brain memory hub of people with the chronic mental illness and linked to a hotspot of genetic variation.
- ADHD Medication Treatment Associated with Higher Academic Performance in Elementary School
- Science Update April 27, 2009
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who take medication to treat the condition tend to do better in math and reading compared to their peers who also have ADHD but do not take medication, according to data from a national survey. The NIMH-funded study was published in the May 2009 issue of Pediatrics.
- Use of Antipsychotics in Alzheimer’s Patients May Lead to Detrimental Metabolic Changes
- Science Update April 15, 2009
Atypical antipsychotic medications are associated with weight gain and other metabolic changes among patients with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a recent analysis of data from the NIMH-funded Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness—Alzheimer’s Disease (CATIE-AD) study. The study was published online ahead of print April 15, 2009, in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
- Black Teens, Especially Girls, at High Risk for Suicide Attempts
- Science Update April 10, 2009
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.
- Child Abuse Survivors Have Higher Risk for STDs in Adulthood Than Non-abused Adults
- Science Update April 10, 2009
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.
- Gene On/Off Instructions Inherited Via Shadowy Mechanism
- Science Update April 06, 2009
The first large-scale study of its kind in twins has turned up evidence that we inherit instructions for the turning on and off of genes via mechanisms beyond the traditional sequence differences in the genetic code. Moreover, the results suggest that early random errors in replicating these instructions may trump environmental influences in shaping us.
- Autism Skews Developing Brain with Synchronous Motion and Sound
- Press Release March 31, 2009
Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) tend to stare at people’s mouths rather than their eyes. Now, an NIH-funded study in 2-year-olds with the social deficit disorder suggests why they might find mouths so attractive: lip-syncing — the exact match of lip motion and speech sound.
- Childhood Maltreatment Undermines Physical Health in Adulthood
- Science Update March 30, 2009
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.
- Short-term Intensive Treatment Not Likely to Improve Long-term Outcomes for Children with ADHD
- Science Update March 26, 2009
Short-term Intensive Treatment Not Likely to Improve Long-term Outcomes for Children with ADHD
- Rising to the Challenge: NIH Will Use $60 Million in Recovery Act Funds to Support Strategic Autism Research
- Press Release March 24, 2009
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.
- Key Molecule in Inflammation-Related Depression Confirmed
- Science Update March 20, 2009
Scientists have confirmed the role of an immune-activated enzyme in causing inflammation-related depression-like symptoms in mice.
- Youths Exposed to HIV Before Birth Have Higher Chance of Developing Psychiatric Disorders
- Science Update March 19, 2009
Youths who were exposed to HIV before birth, especially those who were born HIV positive, have a high chance of developing psychiatric disorders, according to an NIMH-funded study published online ahead of print February 27, 2009, in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
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- Out of Sync With the World: Body Clocks of Depressed People Are Altered at Cell LevelExternal Link: Please review our disclaimer.
- Nerve Stimulation for Severe Depression Changes Brain FunctionExternal Link: Please review our disclaimer.
- Nearly 20 Percent of Suicidal Youths Have Guns in Their HomeExternal Link: Please review our disclaimer.