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Science News About Treatments

Jane Pearson Talks About Suicide Prevention Research on NPR’s Science Friday

Science Update

Jane Pearson Gives Update on Suicide Prevention Research

NIMH scientist Dr. Jane Pearson appeared on NPR’s Science Friday to discuss the latest findings in suicide prevention research.

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Webinar on Ketamine and Next Generation Therapies Featuring NIMH’s Carlos A. Zarate, M.D.

Science Update

Carlos A. Zarate, M.D.

On August 13, 2013, Carlos A. Zarate, M.D., from the National Institute of Mental Health will give a live presentation titled “Ketamine & Next Generation Therapies,” where he will discuss his research on novel medications for treatment-resistant depression and bipolar disorder at the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.

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NAB Unveils Youth Mental Health Awareness Campaign

Science Update

OK2Talk Youth Mental Health Awareness Campaign

On Tuesday, July 23, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) launched “OK2Talk,” a mental health awareness campaign to increase understanding and awareness about mental health in youth. The campaign includes television and radio ads in English and Spanish that feature teens and young adults opening up about their experiences with mental health.

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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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Science/AAAS Webinar on Translational Neuroscience Research Featuring NIMH’s Carlos A. Zarate, M.D.

Science Update

Carlos Zarate, MD

Want to know how the latest findings in neuroscience research go from bench to bedside? NIMH and Science/AAAS partnered to produce an informative webinar on translating neurobiological research into treatments.

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HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the State of Mental Health Care in the United States

Science Update

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius discusses state of U.S. mental health care, commemorates JFK’s speech on the topic 50 years ago.

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50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy Sent a Special Message to Congress About the State of Mental Health

Science Update

Celebrating JFK’s Mental Health Speech

Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy addressed Congress about the state of mental health—and changed the way Americans view mental health care.

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Experimental Agent Briefly Eases Depression Rapidly in Test

Press Release

brain matrix

Ketamine-like agent lifts depression briefly in treatment-resistant patients, with few side effects.

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

Press Release

mother holds baby boy

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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Training Peers Improves Social Outcomes for Some Kids with ASD

Press Release

young children play outside

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who attend regular education classes may be more likely to improve their social skills if their typically developing peers are taught how to interact with them than if only the children with ASD are taught such skills. According to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, a shift away from more commonly used interventions that focus on training children with ASD directly may provide greater social benefits for children with ASD.

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Perinatal Antidepressant Stunts Brain Development in Rats

Press Release

abnormal axon

Rats exposed to an antidepressant just before and after birth showed substantial brain abnormalities and behaviors, in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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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. John's 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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Drug Boosts Growth Factor to Jump-start Rapid Antidepressant Response

Press Release

ketamine mechanism of action

A study in mice has pinpointed a pivotal new player in triggering the rapid antidepressant response produced by ketamine. By deactivating a little-known enzyme, the drug takes the brakes off rapid synthesis of a key growth factor thought to lift depression, say researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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Toddlers with Autism Show Improved Social Skills Following Targeted Intervention, Finds NIH-Supported Study

Press Release

boy painting his shirt

Targeting the core social deficits of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in early intervention programs yielded sustained improvements in social and communication skills even in very young children who have ASD, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health. The study was published online July 28, 2010, in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

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Experimental Medication Lifts Depression Symptoms in Bipolar Disorder Within an Hour

Science Update

lighted brain with blue glow

People with treatment-resistant bipolar disorder experienced relief from symptoms of depression in as little as 40 minutes after an intravenous dose of the anesthetic medication ketamine in a preliminary study; while the patient group was small, this work adds to evidence that compounds in the class to which ketamine belongs have potential as rapid and effective medications for depression, including bipolar depression.

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Just Over Half of Americans Diagnosed with Major Depression Receive Care

Science Update

man and woman on ground

Overall, only about half of Americans diagnosed with major depression in a given year receive treatment for it, and even fewer—about one fifth—receive treatment consistent with current practice guidelines, according to data from nationally representative surveys supported by NIMH. Among the ethnic/racial groups surveyed, African Americans and Mexican Americans had the lowest rates of use of depression care; all groups reported higher use of past-year psychotherapy vs. medication for depression.

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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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NIH Encourages Depressed Moms to Seek Treatment for Themselves

Science Update

woman holding child while sitting on a chair

Numerous studies have suggested that depression runs in families. Children of depressed parents are 2–3 times as likely to develop depression as compared to children who do not have a family history of the disorder. Other studies have shown that remission of depression in mothers is associated with improvements in psychiatric symptoms in their children. Despite all signs encouraging mothers to prioritize their own mental health, many suffer from untreated depression while managing treatment for their children’s emotional or behavioral problems.

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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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Major NIMH Research Project to Test Approaches to Altering the Course of Schizophrenia

Press Release

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.

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New NIMH Video Describes Depression, Importance of Treatment

Science Update

man and woman holding hands

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.

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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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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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Possible HIV Prevention Therapy Shows Promise, But At a Significant Cost

Science Update

A therapy that shows promise in preventing HIV infection could significantly reduce the risk of HIV infection among high-risk groups, but the cost may be substantial unless drug costs can be reduced, according to a study published online ahead of print February 4, 2009, in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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Pilot Study Will Test New Treatment to Reduce Self-Harm in Borderline Personality Disorder

Science Update

NIMH recently funded Kim Gratz, Ph.D., University of Mississippi Medical Center, and colleagues to continue to test a new group therapy to help women with borderline personality disorder reduce self-harm behaviors and to improve functioning.

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New NIMH Research to Test Innovative Treatments for Children with ADHD

Science Update

Two new grants funded by NIMH will focus on novel and innovative approaches to treating children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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NIMH Funds Research to Find Best Treatments for Children with Autism and ADHD Symptoms

Science Update

A new NIMH-funded study will help guide the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

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Preventive Treatment May Help Head Off Depression Following a Stroke

Science Update

For the first time, researchers show that preventive treatment with an antidepressant medication or talk therapy can significantly reduce the risk or delay the start of depression following an acute stroke, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health. These findings differ from past studies attempting to prevent poststroke depression. The study appears in the May 28, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Journal Highlights Effectiveness of Research Based Psychotherapies for Youth

Science Update

Reviews of the current research on psychosocial and behavioral therapies, or psychotherapies, for children and adolescents found a number of "well established" and "probably efficacious" treatments for many mental disorders. For example, six were "probably efficacious" for anxiety disorders, and two were "well established" for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to scientists funded by NIMH and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, divisions of the National Institutes of Health.

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New Research to Help People with Mental Disorders Quit Smoking

Science Update

A new grant funded by NIMH will develop an intervention designed to help people with serious mental illness (SMI) quit smoking. The addiction is very common among people with SMI, and contributes significantly to deteriorating health and higher costs for care. But it is difficult to treat among people with SMI because they require a tailored approach that is incorporated into their existing mental health treatment.

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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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Research-based Principles May Help Improve Mental Health Recovery Following Mass Trauma

Science Update

Experts on trauma-related research and medical practices from around the world recently identified five principles to guide mental health care efforts immediately or shortly after a mass trauma, such as a natural disaster or terrorist attack. In a related commentary, NIMH scientist Farris Tuma, Sc.D., MHS, discusses how these principles may help determine effective mental health care for large numbers of people following an emergency, and how best to deliver it. The article and commentary were published in the Winter 2007 issue of Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes.

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Memory-sustaining Enzyme May Help Treat PTSD, Cognitive Decline

Science Update

Chemically blocking an enzyme in a specific area in the brain’s cortex, or outer mantle, erased a long-term memory of an aversive event that rats had learned, a study funded in part by NIMH has found.

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Internet-based PTSD Therapy May Help Overcome Barriers to Care

Science Update

NIMH-funded researchers recently completed a pilot study showing that an Internet-based, self-managed cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, with effects that last after treatment has ended.

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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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New Research to Help Youth with Mental Disorders Transition to Adulthood

Science Update

As young people with mental health disorders transition from adolescence to adulthood, they frequently face new and difficult challenges such as the loss of state-issued benefits like Medicaid and foster care, or loss of family-based insurance coverage.

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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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New Technique Pinpoints Crossroads of Depression in Rat Brain

Science Update

NIMH-funded scientists have developed a new high-speed technique for imaging brain activity and used it to pinpoint a circuit signal in rats that may be at the crossroads of depression — a possible "final common pathway" where different causes of, and treatments for, the disorder appear to converge.

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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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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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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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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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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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College Women at Risk for Eating Disorder May Benefit From Online Intervention

Press Release

A long-term, large-scale study has found that an Internet-based intervention program may prevent some high risk, college-age women from developing an eating disorder.

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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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Properly Timed Light, Melatonin Lift Winter Depression by Syncing Rhythms

Science Update

Most Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) symptoms stem from daily body rhythms that have gone out-of-sync with the sun, a NIMH-funded study has found.

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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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Maintenance Treatment Prevents Recurrence in Older Adults with Single-Episode Depression

Press Release

People age 70 and older who continued taking the antidepressant that helped them to initially recover from their first episode of depression were 60 percent less likely to experience a new episode of depression over a two-year study period than those who stopped taking the medication, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health.

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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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Cognitive Therapy Reduces Repeat Suicide Attempts by 50 Percent

Press Release

Recent suicide attempters treated with cognitive therapy were 50 percent less likely to try to kill themselves again within 18 months than those who did not receive the therapy, report researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Psychotherapy, Medications Best for Youth With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Press Release

Children and adolescents with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) respond best to a combination of both psychotherapy and an antidepressant, a major clinical trial has found.

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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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Research to Test Treatment of Cognitive Dysfunction in Schizophrenia

Press Release

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded a four-year, $9 million contract to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and five other academic medical centers to create a network of Treatment Units for Research on Neurocognition and Schizophrenia (TURNS).

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New Program Treats Rural Youth And Targets Barriers To Care

Press Release

Adolescents and teens with emotional and behavioral problems will receive treatment as part of a new study in eight of the poorest Appalachian counties in Eastern Tennessee.

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Medication and Psychotherapy Treat Depression in Low-Income Minority Women

Press Release

Treatment with medication or psychotherapy reduced depressive symptoms in women from minority populations, according to research funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

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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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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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