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All News and Multimedia Featuring IRP

Our Brains Harbor “Residual Echo” of Neanderthal Genes

Science Update

Researchers have produced the first direct evidence that parts of our brains implicated in mental disorders may be shaped by a “residual echo” from our ancient past. The more a person’s genome carries genetic vestiges of Neanderthals, the more certain parts of his or her brain and skull resemble those of humans’ evolutionary cousins that went extinct 40,000 years ago.

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Guidelines published for treating PANS/PANDAS

Science Update

An expert panel has published guidelines for treatment of Pediatric Acute Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) and a subset of patients diagnosed with PAN Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infection (PANDAS).

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NIMH to Host Multimodal Brain Stimulation Speaker Series

Science Update

Beginning May 31, 2017, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) will launch a speaker series intended to bring together leaders in the field conducting research using non-invasive brain stimulation and functional imaging including EEG, fMRI, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

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Brain “Relay” Also Key to Holding Thoughts in Mind

Press Release

Long overlooked as a mere “relay,” an egg-like structure in the middle of the brain also turns out to play a pivotal role in tuning-up thinking circuity. A trio of studies in mice are revealing that the thalamus sustains the ability to distinguish categories and hold thoughts in mind. It might even become a target for interventions for psychiatric disorders marked by working memory problems, such as schizophrenia.

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Emergency Departments Could Play Significant Role in Reducing Suicide Attempts

Science Update

Research funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) shows hospital emergency departments can play a vital role in lowering the number of suicide attempts among adults by as much as 30 percent.

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Estrogen Alters Memory Circuit Function in Women with Gene Variant

Science Update

Brain scans reveal that fluctuations in estrogen can trigger atypical functioning in a key brain memory circuit in women with a common version of a gene. Since working memory function is often disturbed in mental disorders, such gene-hormone interactions are suspect mechanisms that may confer risk.

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Sex Hormone–Sensitive Gene Complex Linked to Premenstrual Mood Disorder

Press Release

Researchers have discovered molecular mechanisms that may underlie a woman’s susceptibility to disabling irritability, sadness, and anxiety in the days leading up to her menstrual period.

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NIMH’s Francis McMahon, M.D., Awarded Prestigious Colvin Prize

Science Update

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) announces that Francis McMahon, M.D., is a recipient of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation’s 2016 Colvin Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Mood Disorders Research.

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Circuitry for Fearful Feelings, Behavior Untangled in Anxiety Disorders

Science Update

Untangling the brain circuitry of fearful feelings from that underlying defensive behaviors is key to improving treatments for anxiety disorders, argue two leading experts.

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Game Corrects Children’s Misreading of Emotional Faces to Tame Irritability

Science Update

A computer game that changes a tendency to misread ambiguous faces as angry is showing promise as a potential treatment for irritability in children

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Video.
Irritability in Children - Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

Ellen Leibenluft, M.D., NIMH Emotion and Development Branch, explains the history of Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder.

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Video.
Irritability in Children - Facial Emotion Study

Drs Ellen Leibenluft and Melissa Brotman, NIMH Emotion and Development Branch, explain a study aimed at reducing irritability in children by re-training their responses to facial emotion.

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Video.
Irritability in Children - How Parents Can Help

Dr. Ellen Leibenluft, NIMH Emotion and Development Branch, discusses how parents can help an irritable child.

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Video.
Irritability in Children - Dr. Ellen Leibenluft

Dr. Ellen Leibenluft, NIMH Emotion and Development Branch, discusses research on irritability in children.

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Video.
Webinar: Severe Irritability and DMDD in Youth -- Dr. Kenneth Towbin

NIMH child and adolescent psychiatrist Kenneth Towbin, M.D., discusses NIMH research into childhood severe irritability and disruptive mood dysregulation.

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Ketamine Lifts Depression via a Byproduct of its Metabolism

Press Release

A chemical byproduct, or metabolite, created as the body breaks down likely holds the secret to its rapid antidepressant action .

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Secrets to Our Smarts Hidden in the Folds of Our Cortex

Science Update

The more folding in the thinking parts of our brain, the smarter we are – to a degree.

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Circuit Tweak Boosts Social Memory in Mice

Science Update

Researchers have boosted the staying power of a social memory at least 80-fold by stimulating a circuit they discovered in mouse brain.

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NIMH Twitter Chat on Clinical Research Participation

Live Chat

NIMH Twitter Chat on Men and Depression

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Rapid Agent Restores Pleasure-seeking Ahead of Other Antidepressant Action

Press Release

A drug being studied as a fast-acting mood-lifter restored pleasure-seeking behavior independent of – and ahead of – its other antidepressant effects.

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NIMH Twitter Chat on Depression and the Development of Novel Medications

Science Update

NIMH Twitter Chat on Depression and the Development of Novel Medications

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Video.
Unearthing Secrets of New Neurons

Unearthing Secrets of New Neurons

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NIMH Twitter Chat on Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Science Update

NIMH Twitter Chat on Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

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Common Gene Variants Account for Most Genetic Risk for Autism

Press Release

Most of the genetic risk for autism comes from versions of genes that are common in the population rather than from rare variants or spontaneous glitches.

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Genes Impact Suspect Cortex Areas More as Youth Mature

Science Update

Later evolving and maturing brain areas, which also are those most implicated in mental illness, showed gradually increasing heritability, peaking by late adolescence – the age-of-onset for most mental disorders. New findings hold promise for understanding how age plays an important role in gene-environment interactions that underlie the disorders.

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Genes Impact Suspect Cortex Areas More as Youth Mature

Genes Impact Suspect Cortex Areas More as Youth Mature

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NIMH Twitter Chat on Postpartum Depression

Science Update

NIMH Twitter Chat on Postpartum Depression

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Video.
Channel Makover Switches Off Neurons in a Flash

Channel Makover Switches Off Neurons in a Flash

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NIMH Twitter Chat on Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis

Science Update

NIMH Twitter Chat on Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis

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Video.
NIMH Outreach Partnership Program

NIMH Outreach Partnership Program

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Video.
Patches of Disorganization in the Neocortex of Children with Autism

Patches of Disorganization in the Neocortex of Children with Autism

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Video.
Middle Schoolers’ Field Day with the Brain

Middle Schoolers’ Field Day with the Brain

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Suicide in the Military: Army-NIH Funded Study Points to Risk and Protective Factors

Press Release

Although the suicide attempt and death rates in the U.S. Army have been historically below the civilian rate, these rates began climbing in the early 2000s, and by 2008, exceeded those of civilians. A joint study between the Army and NIMH, called Army STARRS, recently released findings that shed light on the problem.

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Video.
Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #1: You can tell by looking at someone

Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #1: You can tell by looking at someone

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Video.
Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #2: Families are to Blame

Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #2: Families are to Blame

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Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #3: Mothers are to Blame

Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #3: Mothers are to Blame

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Video.
Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #4: Eating Disorders are a Choice

Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #4: Eating Disorders are a Choice

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Video.
Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #5: Eating Disorders are the province of white upper-middle class teenage girls

Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #5: Eating Disorders are the province of white upper-middle class teenage girls

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Video.
Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #6: Eating Disorders are Benign

Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #6: Eating Disorders are Benign

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Video.
Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #7: Society Alone to Blame

Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #7: Society Alone to Blame

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Video.
Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #8: Genes are Destiny

Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #8: Genes are Destiny

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Video.
Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #9: Eating Disorders are for Life

Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #9: Eating Disorders are for Life

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NIMH Twitter Chat on Eating Disorders

Science Update

NIMH Twitter Chat on Eating Disorders

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NICHD/NIMH Podcast on Youth Violence

Science Update

NIMH/NICHD experts explain what sparks and halts youth violence.

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Transgenic Mice Lines Aid in Brain Circuit Imaging

Science Update

Neuroscientists have generated over 250 genetically engineered mice lines that will help further our understanding of the human brain.

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NIMH Twitter Chat on Depression and Older Adults

Science Update

Join NIMH’s Jovier Evans, Ph.D., Chief of the Geriatric Translational Neuroscience Program, for a Twitter Chat on depression and older adults.

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NIH Directors Discuss Sequestration and Research on C-SPAN

Science Update

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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NIMH Twitter Chat on Bullying Prevention

Science Update

NIH experts Drs. Chris Sarampote and Valerie Maholmes discuss bullying prevention.

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NIMH Scientists Honored with 2013 Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Awards

Science Update

Miss the Twitter chat on the teen brain and Brain Awareness Week? Read the transcript.

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NIMH Grantee Receives 2013 Nobel Prize

Science Update

Thomas C. Südhof, M.D., along with James E. Rothman, Ph.D., and Randy W. Schekman, Ph.D., received the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries delineating how a cell organizes its transport system.

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Science/AAAS Google+ Hangout on the Adolescent Brain Featuring NIMH’s Jay Giedd, M.D.

Science Update

NIMH scientist Jay Giedd, M.D. discusses the teen brain with Science/AAAS in a Google+ Hangout.

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Former NIMH Grantee Receives 2013 MacArthur Fellow Award

Science Update

Susan Murphy, Ph.D., a statistician from the University of Michigan and former NIMH grantee, is one of 24 recipients of the MacArthur “Genius” Award.

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Jay Giedd on PBS Documentary “Brains on Trial”

Science Update

NIMH’s Jay Giedd discusses brain scan research with Alan Alda in the two-episode PBS documentary “Brains on Trial.”

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NIMH Grantees Receive 2013 Lasker Award

Science Update

Two National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grantees recently collected the prestigious 2013 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for their meticulous mapping of the molecular mechanisms involved in neurotransmitter release, the process by which the brain send and receives chemical messengers.

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NIMH Twitter Chat on Suicide Prevention

Science Update

To commemorate World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, 2013, NIMH will host a twitter chat on the topic.

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

Science Update

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 Childhood-Onset Schizophrenia with NIMH’s Judith L. Rapoport, M.D.

Science Update

Register for a webinar on September 9 featuring NIMH scientist Dr. Judith Rapoport, who will discuss brain development in childhood and adolescence and childhood-onset schizophrenia.

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The More Hemispheric Lateralization, the Better Thinking Performance

Science Update

Scans of resting human brain activity reveal a secret to how it enhances our thinking prowess. It turns out that the left brain’s forte (e.g., language and fine motor skill) and the right brain’s (e.g., visual spatial attention) operate differently.

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

Science Update

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

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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Tom Insel Discusses The BRAIN Initiative on The Charlie Rose Brain Series

Science Update

With nearly 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion connections, the human brain remains one of the greatest mysteries in science and one of the greatest challenges in medicine. NIMH Director Thomas Insel recently went on The Charlie Rose Brain Series to discuss The BRAIN Initiative, which aims to create better tools to solve this mystery.

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NIMH Twitter Chat on Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Science Update

Learn about post-traumatic stress disorder by joining NIMH’s Farris Tuma for a Twitter chat.

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Skewed Norms Weaken Case for Early Brain Overgrowth in Autism

Science Update

Biases in standardized norms used to compare data on head size weakens evidence for early excess brain growth in autism, say NIMH intramural researchers.

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NIH Funds Industry Collaborations to Identify New Uses for Existing Compounds

Press Release

NIH Funds Industry Collaborations to Identify New Uses for Existing Compounds

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Twitter Chat on Borderline Personality Disorder

Science Update

NIMH teams up with Perry D. Hoffman from the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder for a chat about this topic.

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Twitter Chat on PANDAS/PANS

Science Update

NIMH experts discuss childhood rapid-onset OCD during our next Twitter chat on May 8, 2013.

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NIMH Twitter Chat on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Science Update

Looking for more information and the latest findings on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? Join NIMH’s Ben Vitiello on Twitter for a chat about this topic.

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Video.
Bullying Exerts Psychiatric Effects Into Adulthood

Once considered a childhood rite of passage, bullying lingers well into adulthood. Bullies and victims alike are at risk for psychiatric problems such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicide when they become adults, reported a study partially funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) that was published in the April issue of JAMA Psychiatry.

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Video.
Project Achieve Weight Loss Trial for People with Serious Mental Illness

NIMH grantee Dr. Gail Daumit talks about the Project Achieve weight loss trial.

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Twitter Chat on The Teen Brain—NIMH Experts Discuss Brain Awareness Week

Science Update

Miss the Twitter chat on the teen brain and Brain Awareness Week? Read the transcript.

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Students Explore the Wonders of the Brain

Press Release

As part of the National Museum of Health and Medicine museum’s 14th annual Brain Awareness Week celebration, several hundred curious students from the Washington, D.C., area will have a chance to learn about what goes on inside the human brain, through a series of interactive exhibits led by scientists from eight institutes of the National Institutes of Health.

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Differences in On/Off Switches Help Explain How the Human Brain Evolved

Science Update

A recent NIMH-funded study identified small regions of the genome that are uniquely regulated in human neurons, but not in primate neurons. The findings provide insight into human intellectual function and risk for human diseases, including autism and Alzheimer’s disease.

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

Science Update

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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NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel Received AMA’s Top Government Service Award

Science Update

The American Medical Association feted Thomas Insel M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health, with its top government service award.

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Threat Bias Interacts with Combat, Gene to Boost PTSD Risk

Press Release

Excess attention to avoidance of threat – depending on the situation – can increase risk for PTSD, suggests a new study.

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

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Imaging Biomarker Predicts Response to Rapid Antidepressant

Press Release

A boost of activity in visual cortex at the back of the brain, triggered by the processing of emotional information, predicted depressed patients’ responses to a rapid-acting antidepressant.

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Video.
NIMH’s Dr. Maura Furey on scopolamine research

Dr. Maura Furey on the search for a fast acting anti-depressant.

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

Press Release

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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Leading Neurobiologist Appointed NIMH Scientific Director

Press Release

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

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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Emergency Department Suicide Screening Tool Accurately Predicts At Risk Youth

Science Update

Time-crunched ER nurses and doctors can use four questions to screen youth at risk for attempting suicide.

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

Science Update

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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Experimental Agent Briefly Eases Depression Rapidly in Test

Press Release

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

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Psychotropic Medications Are Prescribed Appropriately Among U.S. Teens, National Study Finds

Science Update

A national study suggests that psychotropic medications are, in general, being prescribed appropriately among U.S. teens.

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Many Teens Considering Suicide Do Not Receive Specialized Mental Health Care

Science Update

Many teens who are thinking about or who have attempted suicide often do not see a mental health professional.

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Brain Signal ID’s Responders to Fast-Acting Antidepressant

Press Release

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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Social Brain Circuits Disrupted in Autism

Science Update

Brain areas involved in social behavior are active but out of sync with each other in young people with autism, according to recent findings from functional brain imaging.

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Survey Finds More Evidence That Mental Disorders Often Begin in Youth

Science Update

National survey data confirms the widely held belief that mental disorders often begin in youth.

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Rate of Bipolar Symptoms Among Teens Approaches That of Adults

Science Update

National survey data finds that the rate of bipolar symptoms in teens is similar to that found in adults, indicating that bipolar disorder often begins in adolescence.

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Agent Reduces Autism-like Behaviors in Mice

Press Release

Autism-like behaviors in mice have been reduced, using an experimental agent being tested in patients for a related disorder.

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Possible Causes of Sudden Onset OCD in Kids Broadened

Press Release

The syndrome, Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS), includes children and teens that suddenly develop on-again/off-again OCD symptoms or abnormal eating behaviors, along with other psychiatric symptoms – without any known cause. An immune-based treatment study is underway at NIH.

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Computer-Based Treatment Eases Anxiety Symptoms in Children

Science Update

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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Linked Brain Centers Mature in Sync

Science Update

Brain imaging is providing a new picture of how functionally connected parts of the brain develop in sync.

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Gene Regulator in Brain’s Executive Hub Tracked Across Lifespan – NIH study

Press Release

For the first time, scientists have tracked the activity, across the lifespan, of an environmentally responsive regulatory mechanism that turns genes on and off in the brain’s executive hub. Among key findings of the study by National Institutes of Health scientists: genes implicated in schizophrenia and autism turn out to be members of a select club of genes in which regulatory activity peaks during an environmentally-sensitive critical period in development.

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

Press Release

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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National Survey Dispels Notion that Social Phobia is the Same as Shyness

Science Update

Normal human shyness is not being confused with the psychiatric anxiety disorder known as social phobia, according to an NIMH survey comparing the prevalence rates of the two among U.S. youth.

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New Neurons in Adult Brain Buffer Stress

Science Update

New neurons growing in the adult brain help buffer the effects of stress, according to a new study in mice.

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Stress-Defeating Effects of Exercise Traced to Emotional Brain Circuit

Science Update

Evidence in both humans and animals points to emotional benefits from exercise, both physical and mental. Now, in recent experiments with mice, scientists have traced the stress-buffering effect of activity to a brain circuit known to be involved in emotional regulation as well as mood disorders and medication effects. The finding is a clue to understanding the neurological roots of resilience, key to developing new means of prevention and treatment for stress-related illness.

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Teen Brain Less Discerning of Threat vs. Safety, More Vulnerable to Stress

Science Update

Teen brains rely on early-maturing brain structures that process fear differently than adult brains, according to an NIMH-funded study. As a result, teens may have more difficulty than adults in differentiating between danger and safety, leading to more pervasive stress and anxiety. The study was published online ahead of print on February 23, 2011, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Most Teens with Eating Disorders Go Without Treatment

Science Update

About 3 percent of U.S. adolescents are affected by an eating disorder, but most do not receive treatment for their specific eating condition, according to an NIMH-funded study published online ahead of print March 7, 2011, in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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International Impact of Bipolar Disorder Highlights Need for Recognition and Better Treatment Availability

Science Update

The severity and impact of bipolar disorder and bipolar-like symptoms are similar across international boundaries, according to a study partially funded by NIMH.

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Majority of Youth with Mental Disorders May Not Be Receiving Sufficient Services

Science Update

A substantial proportion of youth with severe mental disorders do not receive mental health care, according to data from an NIMH-funded survey published in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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Transgenic Mouse Offers a Window on Gene/Environment Interplay: Prenatal Infection Alters Behavior in Genetically Vulnerable

Science Update

Experiments in transgenic mice have provided a novel glimpse of how a prenatal infection could interact with a specific gene variant to cause behavioral and neurologic changes in adults that mirror those seen in major psychiatric disease.

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NIMH’s Dr. Mortimer Mishkin to be Awarded National Medal of Science

Press Release

National Institutes of Health intramural researcher Mortimer Mishkin, Ph.D., will be awarded the National Medal of Science at a White House ceremony later this month. Mishkin is chief of the National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) Section on Cognitive Neuroscience, and acting chief of its Laboratory of Neuropsychology. He is the first NIMH intramural scientist to receive the medal, which the President presents each year for outstanding contributions to science. Mishkin is among 10 recipients this year.

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National Survey Confirms that Youth are Disproportionately Affected by Mental Disorders

Science Update

About 20 percent of U.S. youth during their lifetime are affected by some type of mental disorder to an extent that they have difficulty functioning, according to a new NIMH survey published in the October 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The data support the observation from surveys of adults that mental disorders most commonly start in early life.

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Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder May Go Undiagnosed in Some Adults with Major Depression

Science Update

Nearly 40 percent of people with major depression may also have subthreshold hypomania, a form of mania that does not fully meet current diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder, according to a new NIMH-funded study. The study was published online ahead of print August 15, 2010, in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Experimental Medication Lifts Depression Symptoms in Bipolar Disorder Within an Hour

Science Update

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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Study Shows Possibilities for Predicting How Patients Will Respond to Antidepressants

Science Update

In a study of an experimental treatment for major depression, pretreatment testing to probe the function of a specific brain center predicted how patients would respond to ketamine, a medication that can lift depression rapidly in some people.

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Rapid Antidepressant Action of Common Medication Confirmed by Repeat Trial

Science Update

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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Novel Model of Depression from Social Defeat Shows Restorative Power of Exercise

Science Update

In a study in a mouse model that mimics the contribution of social stress to human depression, an environment that promotes exercise and exploration alleviated depressive behavior in the mice. The beneficial effect of activity depended on the growth of new neurons in the adult brain.

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Imaging Studies Help Pinpoint Child Bipolar Circuitry

Science Update

A series of imaging studies are revealing that the brain works differently in youth with bipolar disorder (BD) than in chronically irritable children who are often diagnosed with pediatric BD.

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Gene’s Impact on Forgetting a Fear-Based Memory Same in Humans and Mice

Science Update

Both humans and mice carrying a variant of a gene that plays a role in memory were slow to learn to forget a fear-based memory. The parallels in gene effects observed in mice and humans in this work means that investigation using the mouse model can provide insights into effects in humans; results may inform treatment approaches to anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

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National Survey Tracks Rates of Common Mental Disorders Among American Youth

Press Release

Only about half of American children and teenagers who have certain mental disorders receive professional services, according to a nationally representative survey funded in part by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The survey also provides a comprehensive look at the prevalence of common mental disorders.

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Symptoms in Mice Lacking a Single Receptor Type Mimic the Development of Schizophrenia

Science Update

Deleting one type of neurotransmitter receptor in a specific population of brain cells can induce schizophrenia-like behavior in mice, but only when the receptor is deleted early in development, according to a study by NIMH intramural scientists. The work provides strong support for previous observations implicating these receptors in psychosis; further, the mice provide a model of how psychotic symptoms can arise from a disruption in neuronal development, consistent with observations of how schizophrenia emerges in humans.

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First Direct Evidence: Instability is the Normal State of the Brain’s Cortex

Science Update

Even when we’re not doing much of anything, our brain’s cortex, or outer mantle, is bustling with activity. In fact, scientists for the first time have detected “avalanches” of cortex activity in awake monkeys at rest.

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Schizophrenia Linked to Over-expression of Gene in Fetal Brain

Science Update

A gene called DISC1, (for “disrupted in schizophrenia”) has been a leading contender among possible genetic causes since it was implicated in schizophrenia in a large Scottish clan two decades ago. The DISC1 gene codes for a protein important for brain development, as well as for mood and memory – functions that are disturbed in schizophrenia. However, until now there have been few clues as to how DISC1 might increase risk for the chronic mental disorder.

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Brain Emotion Circuit Sparks as Teen Girls Size Up Peers

Press Release

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.

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Much Touted “Depression Risk Gene” May Not Add to Risk After All

Press Release

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.

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Flow of Potassium Into Cells Implicated in Schizophrenia

Press Release

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.

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Key Molecule in Inflammation-Related Depression Confirmed

Science Update

Scientists have confirmed the role of an immune-activated enzyme in causing inflammation-related depression-like symptoms in mice.

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Brain Scanning Gives Clues to How Genes Shape Behavior, Disease Risk

Science Update

In an experiment in which people viewed changing images of slot machines, inherited differences in brain chemistry predicted the magnitude of responses in the brain to the prospect and receipt of reward.

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Research Shows How Chronic Stress May be Linked to Physical and Mental Ailments

Science Update

While scientists have long known that the levels of certain hormones rise in response to chronic stress, an NIMH study is the first to describe a potential fundamental mechanism for this process.

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Anxious and Depressed Teens and Adults: Same Version of Mood Gene, Different Brain Reactions

Science Update

An NIMH study using brain imaging shows that some anxious and depressed adolescents react differently from adult patients when looking at frightening faces.

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Anxious and Healthy Adolescents Respond Differently to an Anxiety-provoking Situation

Science Update

Brain scans show heightened activity among anxious adolescents exposed to an anxiety-provoking situation when compared with normal controls, according to an NIMH study published in the November 2008 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Brain’s Response to Scary Faces Imaged Faster Than You Can Say “Boo!”

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Scientists have captured the split-second workings of the brain’s fear circuitry in people viewing frightful faces.

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Brain’s Wiring Stunted, Lopsided in Childhood Onset Schizophrenia

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Growth of the brain’s long distance connections, called white matter, is stunted and lopsided in children who develop psychosis before puberty, NIMH researchers have discovered.

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Social Phobia Patients Have Heightened Reactions to Negative Comments

Science Update

In a study using functional brain imaging, NIMH scientists found that when people with generalized social phobia were presented with a variety of verbal comments about themselves and others (you are ugly, or hes a genius, for example) they had heightened brain responses only to negative comments about themselves.

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Millisecond Brain Signals Predict Response to Fast-Acting Antidepressant

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Images of the brains fastest signals reveal an electromagnetic marker that predicts a patients response to a fast-acting antidepressant, researchers have discovered.

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Why “My Get Up and Go Has Got Up and Went”

Science Update

If, as the song laments, our get up and go fades as we get older, it may stem from aging-related changes in a brain reward circuit.

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Gene Variants Force Mental Trade-offs: Efficiency vs. Resiliency

Press Release

Mice genetically engineered to have an over active version of a human gene, like their human counterparts, gain in emotional mettle under stress, but at a cost of less efficient thinking, NIMH scientists have discovered.

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Childhood Bedwetting Occurred Twice as Often in Adults with Schizophrenia

Science Update

Childhood bedwetting occurred twice as often in adults with schizophrenia than in their unaffected brothers and sisters, according to a new study from researchers at NIMH.

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Depression Patients’ Brain Circuitry Makes Them Vulnerable to Relapse

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Using brain imaging, NIMH researchers have produced direct evidence that people prone to depression -- even when theyre feeling well -- have abnormal mood-regulating brain circuitry.

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Errant Stress/Immune Indicators Detected in Depression-Prone Women’s Sweat

Science Update

An experimental skin patch test detected abnormal levels of markers for immune function and stress in the sweat of women with histories of depression, NIMH researchers say.

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Potential New Target Found for Developing Medications to Treat Bipolar Disorder

Science Update

Medications that target the protein BAG1, which regulates a process that can trigger symptoms in people who have bipolar disorder, may offer a new way of treating the disease, according to NIMH scientists.

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Anxious Youth Have Disturbed Brain Responses When Looking at Angry Faces

Science Update

When looking at angry faces so quickly that they are hardly aware of seeing them, youth with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) have unchecked activity in the brain’s fear center, say NIMH researchers.

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The Maturing Brain Parallels its Evolution

Science Update

Evolutionarily older areas of the human brain that mature earliest follow a simple, straight-line growth pattern.

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Human Brain Appears “Hard-Wired” for Hierarchy

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Human imaging studies have for the first time identified brain circuitry associated with social status, according to researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) of the National Institutes of Health. They found that different brain areas are activated when a person moves up or down in a pecking order – or simply views perceived social superiors or inferiors. Circuitry activated by important events responded to a potential change in hierarchical status as much as it did to winning money.

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OCD Risk Higher When Several Variations in Gene Occur Together

Science Update

Several variations within the same gene act together to raise the risk of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), new NIMH research suggests. The gene produces a protein that helps make the brain chemical serotonin available to brain cells.

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One Gene Overrides Another to Prevent Brain Changes that Foster Depression

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For what appears to be the first time in humans, scientists have detected an interaction between genes that may help prevent brain changes that increase vulnerability to depression.

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Bipolar Youths’ Misreading of Faces May be Risk Marker for Illness

Science Update

Youngsters with pediatric bipolar disorder and healthy peers who have first-degree relatives with bipolar disorder share the same difficulty labeling facial emotions, NIMH researchers have discovered. Reporting in the February 2008 online edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry, the scientists suggest that the facial emotion recognition impairment might be part of an inherited predisposition to the illness.

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Cold, Unfeeling Traits Linked to Distinctive Brain Patterns in Kids with Severe Conduct Problems

Science Update

The callous, unemotional characteristics of some children and adolescents who bully or steal or have other severely disruptive behavior problems may have partial roots in a brain area called the amygdala.

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Scans Reveal Faulty Brain Wiring Caused by Missing Genes

Science Update

An NIMH study using an emerging imaging technology has discovered faulty wiring in the brains of people with Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects some aspects of thinking.

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Faster-Acting Medications for Bipolar Disorder’s Manic Phase May Be Feasible

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Scientists may be able to develop faster-acting medications for the manic phase of bipolar disorder, new research shows.

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Mood Disorders Predict Later Substance Abuse Problems

Science Update

People with manic symptoms and bipolar disorder type II are at significant risk of later developing an alcohol abuse or dependence problem, a long-term study conducted in Switzerland confirms. The study was published in the January 2008 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Schizophrenia-Related Gene Linked to Imbalance in Dopamine Pathways

Science Update

Forms of a gene known to increase risk for schizophrenia may create an imbalance in brain pathways for dopamine, suggests a recent study by NIMH scientists.

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Depression Linked to Bone-Thinning in Premenopausal Women

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Premenopausal women with even mild depression have less bone mass than do their nondepressed peers, a study funded in part by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), shows.

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Brain Matures a Few Years Late in ADHD, But Follows Normal Pattern

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In youth with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the brain matures in a normal pattern but is delayed three years in some regions, on average, compared to youth without the disorder.

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Behavioral Intervention Normalizes Stress-related Hormone in High-Risk Kids

Science Update

A family-based behavioral intervention that helps prevent social and behavior problems in high-risk preschoolers also may help normalize their cortisol levels when they anticipate stressful situations, results of a new NIMH study suggest.

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Mental Disorders Account for Large Percentage of Adult Role Disability

Science Update

An NIMH-funded study finds that more than half of U.S. adults have a mental or physical condition that prevents them from working or conducting their usual duties (e.g., role disability) for several days each year, and a large portion of those days can be attributed to mental disorders.

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Genes Linked to Suicidal Thinking During Antidepressant Treatment

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Specific variations in two genes are linked to suicidal thinking that sometimes occurs in people taking the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressants, according to a large study led by scientists at the National Institutes of Healths (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

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Manic Phase of Bipolar Disorder Benefits from Breast Cancer Medication

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The medication tamoxifen, best known as a treatment for breast cancer, dramatically reduces symptoms of the manic phase of bipolar disorder more quickly than many standard medications for the mental illness, a new study shows.

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Rates of Bipolar Diagnosis in Youth Rapidly Climbing, Treatment Patterns Similar to Adults

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The number of visits to a doctors office that resulted in a diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents has increased by 40 times over the last decade, reported researchers funded in part by the NIH.

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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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Gene Predicts Better Outcome as Cortex Normalizes in Teens with ADHD

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Brain areas that control attention were thinnest in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who carried a particular version of a gene in a study by the National Institutes of Healths (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

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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

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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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Genetic Roots of Bipolar Disorder Revealed by First Genome-Wide Study of Illness

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The likelihood of developing bipolar disorder depends in part on the combined, small effects of variations in many different genes in the brain, none of which is powerful enough to cause the disease by itself, a new study shows.

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Bipolar Spectrum Disorder May Be Underrecognized and Improperly Treated

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A new study supports earlier estimates of the prevalence of bipolar disorder in the U.S. population, and suggests the illness may be more accurately characterized as a spectrum disorder.

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Cortex Area Thinner in Youth with Alzheimer’s-Related Gene

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A part of the brain first affected by Alzheimer’s disease is thinner in youth with a risk gene for the disorder, a brain imaging study by researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has found.

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Adolescent Brains Show Lower Activity in Areas That Control Risky Choices

Science Update

A new NIMH study could help explain why adolescents are so prone to make risky choices. When contemplating risky decisions, they show less activity in regions of the brain that regulate processes involved in decision-making, compared with adults.

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Virtual-Reality Video Game Helps Link Depression to Specific Brain Area

Science Update

Scientists are using a virtual-reality, three-dimensional video game that challenges spatial memory as a new tool for assessing the link between depression and the hippocampus, the brain’s memory hub.

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Common Gene Version Optimizes Thinking — but With a Possible Downside

Press Release

Most people inherit a version of a gene that optimizes their brain’s thinking circuitry, yet also appears to increase risk for schizophrenia, a severe mental illness marked by impaired thinking, scientists at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) have discovered.

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Brain’s Reward Circuit Activity Ebbs and Flows with a Woman’s Hormonal Cycle

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Fluctuations in sex hormone levels during women’s menstrual cycles affect the responsiveness of their brains’ reward circuitry, an imaging study at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has revealed.

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Extreme Irritability: Is It Childhood Bipolar Disorder?

Press Release

Results of a new study may help improve the diagnosis and treatment of two debilitating childhood mental disorders — pediatric bipolar disorder (BD) and a syndrome called severe mood dysregulation (SMD).

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Gene Variant Linked to Schizophrenia

Science Update

A gene implicated in schizophrenia in adults has now also been linked to schizophrenia in children for the first time, strengthening evidence that the gene plays a role in the disease.

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