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Science News About Clinical Research and Trials

Largest Autism Gene Dragnet Fingers 33 Prime Suspects

Science Update

Joseph Buxbaum, Ph.D.

Many patients with psychosis develop health risks associated with premature death early in the course of their mental illness, researchers have found.

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Groundbreaking Suicide Study

Science Update

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A groundbreaking study will help researchers learn more about treating people with suicidal thoughts. Nearly 20,000 patients will be able to enroll in the trial. One of the treatments being tested was developed with the help of other patients

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Increased Health Risks Linked to First-episode Psychosis

Press Release

Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode

Many patients with psychosis develop health risks associated with premature death early in the course of their mental illness, researchers have found.

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For Schizophrenia, Newer Injectables Not Necessarily Better

Science Update

concerned female woman patient giving info to doctor

Treatment adherence is a problem among people with schizophrenia, who may not take medications because they don’t perceive its need or benefit, don’t like the side effects, or forget. To combat this issue, long-acting injectable medications are administered every 2-4 weeks. But are the new forms of these drugs better than the old ones?

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NIH Directors Discuss Sequestration and Research on C-SPAN

Science Update

NIMH Director Tom Insel on C-SPAN

Despite facing lean financial times, NIH continues to generate the most bang for the buck regarding research. Tomorrow on C-SPAN Washington Journal, NIH Directors Drs. Collins, Insel, Fauci, Varmus, and Green will field questions from the public pertaining to sequestration and research as well as other topics.

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Community-based Treatments Offset Depression Disparities

Science Update

NIMH Researcher David Chambers, Ph.D.

Improving care for depression in low-income communities -- places where such help is frequently unavailable or hard to find -- provides greater benefits to those in need when community groups such as churches and even barber shops help lead the planning process, according to a new study.

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NIH Funds Industry Collaborations to Identify New Uses for Existing Compounds

Press Release

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NIH Funds Industry Collaborations to Identify New Uses for Existing Compounds

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Ketamine Cousin Rapidly Lifts Depression Without Side Effects

Science Update

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NMDA or glutamate receptor modulators as antidepressants have come of age. Human clinical studies demonstrated that ketamine can ward off depressive symptoms within 2 hours of administration and last for several days. Yet serious side effects are attached to this drug, including excessive sleepiness, hallucinations, and substance abuse behavior.

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NIH Study Shows People with Serious Mental Illnesses Can Lose Weight

Press Release

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Losing weight is challenging for everyone. It can be particularly difficult for someone with a serious mental illness. An NIMH-funded clinical study proves that a modified diet and exercise program can work for people with serious mental illnesses. Participants lost 7 pounds more than controls—and continued to lose weight.

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NIH-funded Study Finds Community-based Efforts Increase HIV Testing, Prompt Behavior Change

Press Release

HIV/AIDS ribbon

An international study supported by NIMH reported today that community efforts, in comparison to standard clinical testing and counseling, yielded greater testing and lower HIV incidence in high-risk individuals.

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Leading Neurobiologist Appointed NIMH Scientific Director

Press Release

Susan G. Amara, Ph.D., Scientific Director

Renowned neurobiologist Susan Amara recently joined NIMH as scientific director of its intramural research program.

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Study Documents that Some Children Lose Autism Diagnosis

Press Release

teenagers making dinner

An NIH-supported study has confirmed that some children who are accurately diagnosed in early childhood with autism lose the symptoms and the diagnosis as they grow older.

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Guide Offers a Blueprint for End-of-Life Conversation With Youth

Science Update

Voicing My CHOICES publication cover excerpt

A new guide can help young people with serious illness express how they would like to be cared for and supported.

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President Obama Signs Executive Order to Improve Access to Mental Health Services for Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families

Science Update

White House logo.

President Obama signed an Executive Order directing key federal departments to expand suicide prevention strategies and take steps to meet the current and future demand for mental health and substance abuse treatment services for veterans, service members, and their families.

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Couple’s Therapy Appears to Decrease PTSD Symptoms, Improve Relationship

Science Update

adult couple sitting on a bench

Among couples in which one partner was diagnosed as having posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), participation in disorder-specific couple therapy resulted in decreased PTSD symptom severity and increased patient relationship satisfaction, compared with couples who were placed on a wait list for the therapy, according to a study in the August 15 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on violence and human rights.

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Targeted Behavioral Therapy Can Effectively Control Tics in Adults with Tourette Syndrome

Science Update

man talking to woman

New research finds that a modified cognitive behavioral therapy can successfully control the tics in adults who have Tourette Syndrome.

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Brain Signal ID’s Responders to Fast-Acting Antidepressant

Press Release

MEG scan

Biomarkers identified in research on a fast-acting antidepressant can signal who will respond to the medication and are providing clues to how it works to lift depression.

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Computer-Based Treatment Eases Anxiety Symptoms in Children

Science Update

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Results from a small clinical trial suggest that it might be possible, using computer-based training, to help children with anxiety shift their attention away from threat.

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NIH-funded Study Defines Treatment Window for HIV-positive Children Infected at Birth

Press Release

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HIV-positive children older than 1 year who were treated after showing moderate HIV-related symptoms did not experience greater cognitive or behavior problems compared to peers treated when signs of their infection were still mild, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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Atypical Antipsychotic More Effective than Older Drugs in Treating Childhood Mania, but Side Effects Can Be Serious

Science Update

young children feeling frustrated

The antipsychotic medication risperidone is more effective for initial treatment of mania in children diagnosed with bipolar disorder compared to other mood stabilizing medications, but it carries the potential for serious metabolic side effects, according to an NIMH-funded study published online ahead of print January 2, 2012, in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Suspect Gene Variants Boost PTSD Risk after Mass Shooting

Science Update

SERT and PTSD symptoms

College students exposed to a mass shooting were 20-30 percent more likely to later develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms if they harbored a risk version of a gene, NIMH-funded researchers have discovered.

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Interventions Show Promise in Treating Depression Among Preschoolers

Press Release

young boy looks at adult

A new psychosocial approach shows promise in helping preschoolers with symptoms of depression function better and learn to regulate their emotions, according to an NIMH-funded study published online ahead of print October 31, 2011, in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

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Our Brains Are Made of the Same Stuff, Despite DNA Differences

Press Release

genetic expression change chart

Despite vast differences in the genetic code across individuals and ethnicities, the human brain shows a “consistent molecular architecture.” The finding is from a pair of studies that have created databases revealing when and where genes turn on and off in multiple brain regions through development.

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Continued Use of Stimulants for ADHD Likely Does Not Increase Risk for Hypertension, but May Affect Heart Rate

Science Update

High School Students Talking Outside

Chronic use of stimulant medication to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children does not appear to increase risk for high blood pressure over the long term, but it may have modest effects on heart rate, according to follow-up data from the NIMH-funded Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD (MTA).

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NIMH RAISE Project Makes Progress as Teams Refine Research Approaches

Science Update

Researchers continue to make progress in the NIMH Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) Project, which seeks to intervene at the earliest stages of illness in order to prevent long term disability. Recent refinements to the two RAISE studies will ensure that RAISE continues efficiently, and generates results that will be relevant to consumers and health care policy makers.

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For Minor Depression, Study Shows No Benefit Over Placebo from St. John’s Wort, Citalopram

Science Update

yellow flower

An extract of the herb St. Johns Wort and a standard antidepressant medication both failed to outdo a placebo in relieving symptoms of minor depression in a clinical trial comparing the three. The results of this study, consistent with earlier research, do not in support the use of medications for mild depression.

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Switching Antipsychotics May Reduce Metabolic Risks

Science Update

Photo of assorted pills.

Patients experiencing cardiovascular or metabolic side effects while taking an antipsychotic medication may fare better if they switch to a different medication provided they are closely monitored, according to an NIMH-funded study.

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Support Program Can Help Caregivers Cope with Relative’s Mental Illness

Science Update

family hugging

A free, nationally available program can significantly improve a family’s ability to cope with an ill relative’s mental disorder, according to an NIMH-funded study published June 2011 in Psychiatric Services, a journal of the American Psychiatric Association.

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Combination Antidepressant Therapy May Not Improve Odds of Remission Among Chronically Depressed

Science Update

hands of an adult male and female comforting each other

A combination of two antidepressants may not be any more effective in treating chronic major depression than a single antidepressant, according to an NIMH-funded study published online ahead of print May 2, 2011, in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Case-managed Care Improves Outcomes for Depressed Patients with Multiple Medical Conditions

Science Update

man and woman sitting at a table talking

People with diabetes or heart disease plus depression fare better if their medical care is coordinated by a care manager who also educates patients about their condition and provides motivational support, compared to those who receive care from their primary care physician only, according to an NIMH-funded study published December 30, 2010, in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Teens Who Recover from Hard-to-treat Depression Still at Risk for Relapse

Science Update

teen couple embracing

Teens with hard-to-treat depression who reach remission after 24 weeks of treatment are still at a significant risk for relapse, according to long-term, follow-up data from an NIMH-funded study published online ahead of print November 16, 2010, in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. The long-term data reiterate the need for aggressive treatment decisions for teens with stubborn depression.

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Early Treatment Decisions Crucial for Teens with Treatment-resistant Depression

Science Update

two young men sitting on bleachers talking

An early response to second-course treatment is associated with greater likelihood of remission among teens with hard-to-treat depression, according to recent data from an NIMH-funded study published online ahead of print May 17, 2010, in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Behavioral Intervention Effectively Controls Tics in Many Children with Tourette Syndrome

Science Update

microphone

A comprehensive behavioral therapy is more effective than basic supportive therapy and education in helping children with Tourette syndrome manage their tics, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The study was published May 19, 2010, in a special issue of the Journal of the American Medication Association dedicated to mental health.

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Rapid Antidepressant Action of Common Medication Confirmed by Repeat Trial

Science Update

microphone

Confirming results from earlier research, a clinical trial of treatment for major depression showed that the medication scopolamine, commonly used for motion sickness and as a sedative, could lift symptoms of depression within days, far faster than current antidepressants. Though the study was small, the magnitude of scopolamine’s effects in comparison with placebo suggests that this class of medications has potential for rapid treatment of depression.

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New Grant Aims to Identify and Reduce Suicide Among Emergency Department Patients

Science Update

hospital room scene with patient and doctors

A new NIMH-funded grant aims to increase suicide detection and prevention efforts among patients who present with suicide risk factors in hospital emergency departments.

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Substance Use Associated with Low Response to Depression Treatment Among Teens

Science Update

teen boy asleep with book

Depressed teens who report low levels of impairment related to drug or alcohol use tended to respond better to depression treatment than depressed teens with higher levels substance-related impairment, according to an analysis of data from the NIMH-funded Treatment of SSRI-Resistant Depression in Adolescents (TORDIA) study. However, it is unclear whether less substance-related impairment allowed for better response to depression treatment, or if better treatment response led to less substance-related impairment. The study was published in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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Parent Training Complements Medication for Treating Behavioral Problems in Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders

Press Release

mother and son hugging

Treatment that includes medication plus a structured training program for parents reduces serious behavioral problems in children with autism and related conditions, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The study, which was part of the NIMH Research Units on Pediatric Psychopharmacology (RUPP) Autism Network, was published in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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Long-term Depression Treatment Leads to Sustained Recovery for Most Teens

Science Update

man and teen talking

Long-term treatment of adolescents with major depression is associated with continuous and persistent improvement of depression symptoms in most cases, according to the most recent analysis of follow-up data from the NIMH-funded Treatment of Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS). The report, along with a commentary compiling the take-home messages of the study, was published in the October 2009 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Clinical Tests Begin on Medication to Correct Fragile X Defect

Press Release

fragile X chromosome

NIH-supported scientists at Seaside Therapeutics in Cambridge, Mass., are beginning a clinical trial of a potential medication designed to correct a central neurochemical defect underlying Fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability. There has to date been no medication that could alter the disorder’s neurologic abnormalities. The study will evaluate safety, tolerability, and optimal dosage in healthy volunteers.

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Telephone-based Depression Treatment Program Effective While Cost Efficient

Science Update

telephone

Patients who receive structured, telephone-based support to manage their depression gain significant benefits with only moderate increases in health care costs compared to those who receive usual care, according to an NIMH-funded analysis published in the October 2009 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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New Approach to Reducing Suicide Attempts Among Depressed Teens

Science Update

young man looking out window

A novel treatment approach that includes medication plus a newly developed type of psychotherapy that targets suicidal thinking and behavior shows promise in treating depressed adolescents who had recently attempted suicide, according to a treatment development and pilot study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The study, described in three articles, was published in the October 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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Combination Treatment for Psychotic Depression Holds Promise

Science Update

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.

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Searching for Risk Factors of Suicidal Events During Antidepressant Treatment

Science Update

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.

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HIV Prevention Program Gets a Boost From NIMH Recovery Act Funds

Press Release

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.

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Short-term Intensive Treatment Not Likely to Improve Long-term Outcomes for Children with ADHD

Science Update

Short-term Intensive Treatment Not Likely to Improve Long-term Outcomes for Children with ADHD

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Brain Awareness Week Teaches Kids How Their Brains Work

Press Release

The 10th annual Brain Awareness Week (BAW), a science and health education fair held in various locations across the United States, teaches fifth through eighth grade students about the brain. In Washington, D.C., it will take place March 16-20, 2009, at the National Museum of Health and Medicine at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Several institutes from the National Institutes of Health will provide interactive exhibits and lectures focusing on brain health and neuroscience on March 18th and 19th.

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Adolescents with Depression Not Harmed in Studies Using Placebo

Science Update

Teens with depression who initially are randomly assigned to placebo treatment (inactive pill) during a trial are no more likely to experience harm or have a diminished response to subsequent active treatments than teens who are initially randomized to active treatment, according to an analysis of data from the NIMH-funded Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS).

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Intervention Helps Reduce Risky Sexual Behavior Among Homeless HIV-positive Adults

Science Update

An NIMH-funded program already shown to reduce risky sexual and substance abuse behavior among HIV-infected adults also appears to be effective in improving the lives of HIV-infected homeless or near-homeless adults, according to a new report.

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Depression Relapse Less Likely Among Teens Who Receive CBT After Medication Therapy

Science Update

Adolescents with major depression who received cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) after responding to an antidepressant were less likely to experience a relapse or recurrence of symptoms compared to teens who did not receive CBT, according to a small, NIMH-funded pilot study published in the December 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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NIMH, U.S. Army Sign MOA to Conduct Groundbreaking Suicide Research

Science Update

NIMH and the U.S. Army have entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to conduct research that will help the Army reduce the rate of suicides.

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Study Identifies Three Effective Treatments for Childhood Anxiety Disorders

Press Release

Treatment that combines a certain type of psychotherapy with an antidepressant medication is most likely to help children with anxiety disorders, but each of the treatments alone is also effective.

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Certain Antipsychotic Medications May Increase Risk for Heart Disease

Press Release

Certain atypical antipsychotic medications may raise the risk for heart disease in people with schizophrenia, according to an analysis of data from the NIMH-funded Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) study.

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New Study to Evaluate Ways to Control Metabolic Side Effects of Antipsychotics

Press Release

A new NIMH-funded grant will examine ways to control the metabolic side effects associated with the use of the newer atypical antipsychotic medications in children with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

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Newer Antipsychotics No Better Than Older Drug in Treating Child and Adolescent Schizophrenia

Press Release

Two newer atypical antipsychotic medications were no more effective than an older conventional antipsychotic in treating child and adolescent schizophrenia and may lead to more metabolic side effects, according to a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

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Family-Focused Therapy Effective in Treating Depressive Episodes of Bipolar Youth

Science Update

Adolescents with bipolar disorder who received a nine-month course of family-focused therapy (FFT) recovered more quickly from depressive episodes and stayed free of depression for longer periods than a control group, according to an NIMH-funded study published September 2008 in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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New Research to Refine Approaches in Psychotherapy

Science Update

Psychotherapy is a crucial part of treatment for many mental disorders, but it can be difficult to identify the right approach for an individual.

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Antipsychotic Does Not Harm—and May Improve—Cognitive Skills in Children with Autism

Science Update

The atypical antipsychotic medication risperidone (Risperdal) does not negatively affect cognitive skills of children with autism, and may lead to improvements, according to an NIMH-funded study published recently in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.

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Health Risks Associated with Certain Antipsychotics Warrant Extra Monitoring

Science Update

Some atypical antipsychotics may be more likely than others to cause metabolic and cardiovascular side effects, according to recent analyses using data from the NIMH-funded Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE).

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Age-related Decline of ADHD Symptoms Disrupted by Middle School

Science Update

Although symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) can last into adulthood, typically they decline as a child gets older.

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Newer Antipsychotics No Better Than Older Medications in Reducing Schizophrenia-related Violence

Science Update

Antipsychotic medications can reduce the risk of violence among people with schizophrenia, but the newer atypical antipsychotics are no more effective in doing so than older medications, according to a recent analysis of data from the NIMH-funded Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE).

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Antipsychotic Medications May Ease Some Alzheimer’s Symptoms, Not Others

Science Update

Antipsychotic medications may lessen symptoms like hostility and aggression in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, but do not appear to lessen other symptoms or improve quality of life, according to a recent analysis of data from the NIMH-funded Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness Alzheimer’s Disease (CATIE-AD) study.

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New Grant Aims to Overcome Obesity in People with Serious Mental Illness

Science Update

A new grant funded by NIMH will test the effectiveness of a promising intervention designed to help people with serious mental illness (SMI) who are overweight or obese lose weight and keep it off.

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HIV-positive Survivors of Sexual Abuse Who Receive Coping Intervention Less Likely to Engage in Unprotected Sex

Science Update

HIV-positive people who have experienced childhood sexual abuse are less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior if they receive a group intervention designed to help them cope with their traumatic history, according to an NIMH-funded study published April 1, 2008, in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

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Medication-only Therapy and Combination Therapy Both Cost Effective for Treating Teens with Depression

Science Update

Treating depressed teenagers with either the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac) or a combination of fluoxetine and psychotherapy can be cost effective, according to a recent economic analysis of the NIMH-funded Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS). The study was published online ahead of print April 15, 2008, in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Study launched to test possible preventive treatment for schizophrenia in high risk youth

Science Update

NIMH has recently awarded a grant to study whether an intensive computerized training program can help prevent those at high risk of developing schizophrenia from having a first psychotic episode and improve adaptive functioning. The program is based on principles of brain development and resilience and an understanding of the processes that go awry in schizophrenia.

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Maintenance Treatment Crucial for Teens’ Recovery from Depression

Science Update

Long-term maintenance treatment is likely to sustain improvement and prevent recurrence among adolescents with major depression, according to an NIMH-funded study published in the April 2008 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Group Therapy Program Offers Meaningful Gains for People with Borderline Personality Disorder

Science Update

A 20-week group therapy program focusing on cognitive behavioral and skills training, when used in conjunction with usual care, helped reduce symptoms of borderline personality disorder and improve overall functioning, reported NIMH-funded researchers.

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Teens with Treatment-resistant Depression More Likely to Get Better with Switch to Combination Therapy

Press Release

Teens with difficult-to-treat depression who do not respond to a first antidepressant medication are more likely to get well if they switch to another antidepressant medication and add psychotherapy rather than just switching to another antidepressant, according to a large, multi-site trial funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The results of the Treatment of SSRI-resistant Depression in Adolescents (TORDIA) trial were published February 27, 2008, in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

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Co-occurring Anxiety Complicates Treatment Response for Those with Major Depression

Science Update

People with major depression accompanied by high levels of anxiety are significantly less likely to benefit from antidepressant medication than those without anxiety, according to a study based on data from the NIMH-funded Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study. The study was published online ahead of print in January 2008, in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Genetic Variation May Influence Response to Depression Treatment

Science Update

Variations in a gene known as TREK1 may explain some forms of treatment-resistant major depression, according to a new study analyzing genetic data from the NIMH-funded Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) trial. The study was published online February 20, 2008, in Neuropsychopharmacology.

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Team Care for Depressed Older Adults Cuts Overall Medical Costs

Science Update

A team approach to depression treatment for older adults, already shown to be effective, is also less expensive than usual care, according to an NIMH-funded study published February 2008 in the American Journal of Managed Care.

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Family-Centered Intervention Effectively Reduces Risky Behavior Among Hispanic Youth

Science Update

Science Update December 20, 2007 Family-centered Intervention Effectively Reduces Risky Behavior Among Hispanic Youth A family-centered program that improves parent-child dynamics and family functioning is more effective at discouraging Hispanic youth from engaging in risky behavior than programs that target specific behaviors, according to a study published in the December 2007 issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

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Behavioral Therapy Effectively Treats Children with Social Phobia

Science Update

A behavioral therapy designed to treat children diagnosed with social phobia helped them overcome more of their symptoms than the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac).

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Behavioral Program May Stabilize Stress Hormone Patterns in Foster Children

Science Update

An intervention designed to enhance family interaction and improve foster parenting skills may benefit young foster children who had experienced extreme neglect or maltreatment in early life.

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Depressed Adolescents Respond Best to Combination Treatment

Press Release

A combination of psychotherapy and antidepressant medication appears to be the most effective treatment for adolescents with major depressive disorder—more than medication alone or psychotherapy alone, according to results from a major clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

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Family Involvement and Focused Intervention May be Key to Helping Teens with Bulimia

Science Update

Family-based treatment for adolescent bulimia nervosa (FBT-BN) is more effective than an individual-based therapy called supportive psychotherapy (SPT) in helping teens overcome bulimia according to an NIMH-funded study.

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Studies Refine Understanding of Treatments for Bipolar Disorder

Science Update

Two new studies provide additional details on best practices for treating people with bipolar disorder, a sometimes debilitating illness marked by severe mood swings between depression and mania.

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Bipolar Youth Show Distinct Pattern of Brain Development

Science Update

The first picturess of the brain changing before-and-after the onset of pediatric bipolar disorder reveal a distinct pattern of development, when compared to that seen in healthy youth or in childhood onset schizophrenia.

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Suspect Schizophrenia Genes Act Together to Thwart Working Memory

Science Update

Two gene variants implicated in schizophrenia interact to degrade the brains ability to process information, NIMH researchers have discovered.

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Unpleasant Words Trigger Strong Startle Response in People with Borderline Personality Disorder

Science Update

Adults with borderline personality disorder (BPD) showed excessive emotional reactions when looking at words with unpleasant meanings compared to healthy people during an emotionally stimulating task, according to NIMH-funded researchers

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Behavioral Interventions Effective for Preschoolers with ADHD

Science Update

Two types of early interventions designed to reduce symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in preschoolers may be effective alternatives or additions to medication treatment, according to a recent NIMH-funded study.

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Half of Children With Autism May be Diagnosable Soon After Their First Birthday

Science Update

About half of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can be diagnosed soon after their first birthday; others with the disorder may appear to develop normally until that age and then falter or regress during their second year, NIMH-funded researchers have discovered.

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Parents' Diagnoses Help to Distinguish Childhood Bipolar Disorder from Severe Mood Dysregulation

Science Update

The parents of children who have bipolar disorder are more likely to have bipolar disorder themselves than the parents of children who have severe mood dysregulation (SMD).

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Success or Failure of Antidepressant Citalopram Predicted by Gene Variation

Press Release

A variation in a gene called GRIK4 appears to make people with depression more likely to respond to the medication citalopram (Celexa) than are people without the variation, a study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health, has found.

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Faster-Acting Antidepressants Closer to Becoming a Reality

Press Release

A new study has revealed more about how the medication ketamine, when used experimentally for depression, relieves symptoms of the disorder in hours instead of the weeks or months it takes for current antidepressants to work.

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Improvement Following ADHD Treatment Sustained in Most Children

Press Release

Most children treated in a variety of ways for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) showed sustained improvement after three years in a major follow-up study funded by the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

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Violence in Schizophrenia Patients More Likely Among Those with Childhood Conduct Problems

Press Release

Some people with schizophrenia who become violent may do so for reasons unrelated to their current illness, according to a new study analyzing data from the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials for Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE).

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Gene Variants Linked to Suicidal Thoughts in Some Men Starting Antidepressant Treatment

Science Update

Some men who experience suicidal thoughts and behaviors after they first start taking antidepressant medications may be genetically predisposed to do so, according to the latest results from the NIMH-funded Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study

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Antipsychotic Medications for Schizophrenia on Equal Footing in Improving Patients’ Thinking Skills

Science Update

Patients with schizophrenia taking antipsychotic medications experience a small improvement in thinking and reasoning skills (neurocognition), but no one medication appears to be better than the others in improving these skills during the first two crucial months of treatment, according to the latest results from the NIMH-funded Clinical Antipsychotic Trials for Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE).

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In Second Try to Treat Depression, Cognitive Therapy Generally As Effective As Medication

Science Update

Switching to or adding cognitive therapy (CT) after a first unsuccessful attempt at treating depression with an antidepressant medication is generally as effective as switching to or adding another medication, but remission may take longer to achieve

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Intensive Psychotherapy More Effective Than Brief Therapy for Treating Bipolar Depression

Press Release

Patients taking medications to treat bipolar disorder are more likely to get well faster and stay well if they receive intensive psychotherapy, according to results from the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD), funded by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

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Study Sheds Light on Medication Treatment Options for Bipolar Disorder

Press Release

For depressed people with bipolar disorder who are taking a mood stabilizer, adding an antidepressant medication is no more effective than a placebo (sugar pill), according to results published online on March 28, 2007 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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HIV Treatment May Help Reduce Severity of Mental Impairment in Children with HIV Infection

Science Update

During the first few years of life, children born with HIV infection are most susceptible to central nervous system (CNS) disease, and can develop impaired cognitive, language, motor and behavioral functioning. However, NIH-funded researchers have found that among children with HIV infection, treatment with a protease inhibitor (PI)- based highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) helped protect against cognitive and motor difficulties compared to a control group of age-matched children who were born to HIV-infected mothers but who did not contract the virus themselves (e.g., HIV-exposed).

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New Details in Schizophrenia Treatment Trial Emerge

Press Release

Two new studies from the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials for Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) provide more insights into comparing treatment options, and to what extent antipsychotic medications help people with schizophrenia learn social, interpersonal and community living skills.

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Landmark Council Session Spotlights “Real World” Trials

Science Update

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

Press Release

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

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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Odds of Beating Depression Diminish as Additional Treatment Strategies are Needed

Science Update

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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Antipsychotic Medications Used to Treat Alzheimer’s Patients Found Lacking

Press Release

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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New Schizophrenia Trial: Does Method of Administering Medication Make a Difference?

Science Update

A new clinical trial is testing whether an injection of a long-lasting antipsychotic medication every two weeks results in better adherence to treatment and better outcomes among people with schizophrenia than do oral medications taken daily.

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Subsequent Treatment Strategies for Persistent Depression Yield Modest Results

Science Update

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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Brain Changes Mirror Symptoms in ADHD

Science Update

The severity of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in youth appears to be reflected in their brain structure, recent NIMH-supported brain imaging studies are finding.

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New Factors Identified for Predicting Violence in Schizophrenia

Science Update

A study of adults with schizophrenia showed that symptoms of losing contact with reality, such as delusions and hallucinations, increased the odds of serious violence nearly threefold.

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Targeted Therapy Halves Suicide Attempts in Borderline Personality Disorder

Science Update

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) reduced suicide attempts by half compared with other types of psychotherapy available in the community in patients with borderline personality disorder, an NIMH-funded study has found.

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

Science Update

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

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Antidepressant Does Not Reduce Risk Of Relapse Among Patients With Anorexia Nervosa

Science Update

An NIMH-funded study has concluded that the antidepressant medication fluoxetine (Prozac) is no more effective than placebo in preventing relapse among patients with anorexia nervosa who had achieved a healthy weight during inpatient or day-program treatment.

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Intermittent Explosive Disorder Affects up to 16 Million Americans

Press Release

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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Depression Rates Are Lower in Children Whose Mothers Are Successfully Treated

Science Update

When women treated for depression become symptom-free, their children are less likely to be diagnosed with depression, according to a study published in the March 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Studies Offer New Information About Treatment Choices for Schizophrenia — Phase 2 Results

Science Update

A national clinical trial comparing clozapine with other new-generation antipsychotic medications for the treatment of chronic schizophrenia has shown that people who switched to clozapine from their first medication because it failed to manage symptoms adequately were twice as likely to continue treatment as patients who switched to other antipsychotic medications.

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New Strategies Help Depressed Patients Become Symptom-Free

Press Release

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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Gene Influences Antidepressant Response

Press Release

Whether depressed patients will respond to an antidepressant depends, in part, on which version of a gene they inherit, a study led by scientists at NIH has discovered. Having two copies of one version of a gene that codes for a component of the brain’s mood―regulating system increased the odds of a favorable response to an antidepressant by up to 18 percent, compared to having two copies of the other, more common version.

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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

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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Initial Results Help Clinicians Identify Patients with Treatment-Resistant Depression

Press Release

Initial results of the nation’s largest clinical trial for depression have helped clinicians to track “real world” patients who became symptom-free and to identify those who were resistant to the initial treatment.

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NIMH Study To Guide Treatment Choices for Schizophrenia (Phase 1 Results)

Press Release

A large study funded by NIH's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) provides, for the first time, detailed information comparing the effectiveness and side effects of five medications — both new and older medications — that are currently used to treat people with schizophrenia.

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Combination Treatment Most Effective in Adolescents with Depression

Press Release

A clinical trial of 439 adolescents with major depression has found a combination of medication and psychotherapy to be the most effective treatment.

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Gene More Than Doubles Risk Of Depression Following Life Stresses

Press Release

Among people who suffered multiple stressful life events over 5 years, 43 percent with one version of a gene developed depression, compared to only 17 percent with another version of the gene, say researchers funded, in part, by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

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NIH Awards Grants for Six New Autism Research Centers

Press Release

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded grants to support six new research centers of a major network focusing on the biomedical and behavioral aspects of autism.

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Gene Enhances Prefrontal Function at a Price

Press Release

Studies of a gene that affects how efficiently the brain’s frontal lobes process information are revealing some untidy consequences of a tiny variation in its molecular structure and how it may increase susceptibility to schizophrenia.

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Study Boosts Confidence in Potential Screening Tool for Alzheimer's Disease

Press Release

A major study has confirmed the value of potential markers for identifying people with Alzheimer's disease.

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Treatment for Minor Depression

Press Release

In a new approach to research on minor depression, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a four-year study to determine the safety and effectiveness of St. Johns wort, a common herbal supplement, and citalopram, a standard antidepressant, compared to placebo.

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Human Gene Affects Memory

Press Release

NIH scientists have shown that a common gene variant influences memory for events in humans by altering a growth factor in the brain<s memory hub.

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NIH Awards Grants for Two New Autism Research Centers

Press Release

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced grants totaling $19 million to support the first two research centers of a major network of facilities to focus on the biomedical and behavioral aspects of autism.

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Placebo, Antidepressant May Lift Depression Via Common Mechanism

Press Release

Whether it's a widely prescribed medication or a placebo, a successful treatment for depression must trigger a common pattern of brain activity changes, suggests a team of researchers funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

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