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Highlights

  • Bipolar Schizophrenia Network on Intermediate Phenotypes (BSNIP) project chart Highlight: What Is RDoC?

    The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project aims to classify mental illnesses in a personalized way, based on dimensions of observable behavior and neurobiological measures. RDoC provides researchers with a framework in which to categorize study participants based on genomics, cognitive dimensions, physiological traits, or imaging findings, rather than on existing diagnostic categories.

  • The psychological mechasnism of the Attention Bias (AB) test can be the target of intervention research, as can the brain circuitry associated with AB Highlight: What Is a Target?

    A "target" refers to a hypothesized mechanism of action and its ability to modify disease, behavior, or functional outcomes.

  • Mouse neurons Highlight: Disease-in-a-Dish

    Using innovative technology to turn back the clock on cultured skin cells to induce an earlier developmental stage (i.e., induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSCs), researchers can now differentiate these iPSCs into neurons with an individual’s own genetic signature. In less than two weeks, these cultured neurons can be used to study the disease process in a specific individual.

  • 2014 chart shows the increased “skyline” in genetic variation associated with schizophrenia, due to enhanced detection techniques Highlight: Skyline Drivers

    Researchers have identified many genes implicated in schizophrenia; plotting these schizophrenia-associated genes on a graph produces a "skyline" pattern that has grown much taller in the past few years. A new technique can precisely target gene variants, allowing study of the cellular machinery involved and, one day, potentially providing a therapeutic tool.

  • CLARITY provides a 3-D view showing a thick slice of a mouse brain’s memory hub, or hippocampus Highlight: Slicing Optional

    The brain's normally opaque fat can be replaced with a clear gel, using a new technique that allows researchers to see individual neurons in 3-D. Instead of slicing the brain into flat segments, researchers can now examine brain connections between neurons in the context of the entire structure.

  • MRI images of healthy infant brains show cortical folding in high- and low-growth regions of the developing brain Highlight: Beautiful Convolutions

    As the brain develops, it folds into grooves and wrinkles through a process called "gyrification." With noninvasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques, researchers can now observe these convolutions in the brains of healthy infants, and have noted that different areas of the brain develop at different rates early in life.

  • the location and expression level of the gene TGIF1 is shown in a brain from 21 weeks postconception Highlight: GPS for the Brain? BrainSpan Atlas Offers Clues to Mental Illnesses

    The BrainSpan Atlas of the Developing Brain has created a comprehensive 3-D blueprint of the brain that shows where and when different genes are activated during pregnancy. These resources are freely available to the public.

  • PET data superimposed on anatomic MRI scan data showing brain activity in front part of insula Highlight: Toward Signposts for Precision Medicine

    NIMH is aiming for precision medicine by funding research to find biomarkers that are simple, inexpensive, and reliable predictors of treatment response.

  • Chart shows the effect of ketamine on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale Highlight: Ketamine: A New (and Faster) Path to Treating Depression

    The rapid action in clinical tests of a drug called ketamine, which lifted depression in as little as two hours in people with treatment-resistant depression, has shown that it is possible to develop treatments that work in hours instead of weeks.

  • Dynamic Sustainability Framework chart shows a dynamic view of mental healthcare sustainability Highlight: Learning Mental Health System—Narrowing the Gap from Science to Service

    By collecting mental health data through electronic health records, researchers have created a "learning mental health system" that refines treatments based on outcomes in health centers and systems.

  • Intellicare smartphone app Highlight: A Therapist in One’s Pocket: mHealth to Improve Access to Mental Health Care

    Mobile technology is rapidly changing how researchers can interact with patients and collect data. Devices that people use every day, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, can allow researchers to improve access to patients, extend therapist impact, and create a real-time picture of patients' mental states.