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Science News from 2015

Biomarkers Outperform Symptoms in Parsing Psychosis Subgroups

Press Release

Three biomarker-based categories, called “biotypes,” outperformed traditional diagnoses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder with psychosis, in sorting psychosis cases into distinct subgroups on the basis of brain biology

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Biomarker for Brain Excitability May Help Track Medication Effect

Science Update

NIMH scientists have recently discovered a link between order in the activity of neurons in the brain and excitability—how likely it is that individual neurons will “fire”— which may provide a means for monitoring treatment of conditions like epilepsy that would be less invasive and thus more versatile than current methods

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NIH-supported NeuroBioBank Joins Autism BrainNet in Brain Donation Initiative

Press Release

Two of the world’s largest brain tissue banks unify efforts to collect and distribute a critical number of brain donations for important autism research.

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Combating Early Death in People with Serious Mental Illness

Science Update

Recent articles in JAMA Psychiatry report and comment on the premature mortality seen among adults with schizophrenia; NIMH research is underway to reduce health risk factors in people with serious mental illness.

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Federal Agencies Partner to Promote Coordinated Services for Patients with First Episode Psychosis

Science Update

On October 16, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced support for a new treatment for first episode psychosis called coordinated specialty care (CSC). This decision means more clinics may be able to offer CSC and it may become more readily available.

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Antipsychotics Use Among Older Adults Increases with Age

Press Release

Researchers find antipsychotic use among older adults increases with age despite known health risks. In 2010, more than 3/4 of seniors receiving an antipsychotic prescription had no documented clinical psychiatric diagnosis during the year. In addition, among those who did have a diagnosed mental disorder and/or dementia, nearly half of the oldest patients had dementia, regardless of FDA warnings that antipsychotics increase mortality in people with dementia.

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Team-based Treatment is Better for First Episode Psychosis

Press Release

New research shows that a team-based, coordinated specialty care treatment plan produces better outcomes than typical community care for people with first episode psychosis. Investigators also found that treatment is most effective for people who receive care soon after psychotic symptoms begin.

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Blog, Video Spotlight NIMH Neuroscience Trainee

Science Update

A recent NIH Director’s Blog and Lab TV video feature a young neuroscientist whose discoveries as a graduate student – about a key maternal behavior – were supported, in part, by a NIMH training grant.

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Webinar: Facts and Myths about RDoC

Science Update

On October 13, 2015, the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Unit is hosting a webinar to answer the most frequently asked questions about the RDoC initiative.

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National Suicide Prevention Month: Update 2015

Science Update

In the year following the release of a Prioritized Research Agenda for Suicide Prevention by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Research Prioritization Task Force, NIMH has undertaken a series of initiatives aimed at reducing suicide rates within specific risk groups and settings. The goal is to identify through research the most effective strategies for preventing suicide, for the greatest number of people.

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Our Brain’s Secrets to Success?

Press Release

We owe our success -- both as a species and as individuals – to uniquely human brain wiring that is just now beginning to be understood, thanks to the BRAIN Initiative and the Human Connectome Project.

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RDoC Joins the Twitterverse

Science Update

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)’s Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Unit has launched its official account on Twitter, @NIMH_RDoC.

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Embracing the SPIRIT of reducing suicide

Science Update

NIMH, NIH, and the National Institute of Justice are collaborating on a 4-year, $6.8 million study called Suicide Prevention for at-Risk Individuals in Transition or “SPIRIT.” The study focuses on the high-risk individuals who are transitioning from jail to community. SPIRIT is NIMH’s first major investment in suicide prevention in the justice system.

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Psychosis Treatment Program Expands in New York

Science Update

New York expanded OnTrackNY, a treatment program for youth with psychosis which is an offshoot of one of the two NIMH-funded Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) studies.

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Webinar Series – Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health

Science Update

View the archived webinars with NIMH experts and grantees, which focus on training, research, and methodology

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Attention-Control Video Game Curbs Combat Vets’ PTSD Symptoms

Science Update

A video game that implicitly taught combat vets that threatening stimuli are irrelevant to performing their task reduced their PTSD symptoms.

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NIH Joins Public-Private Partnership to Fund Research on Autism Biomarkers

Press Release

James McPartland, Ph.D. of Yale University will lead a new four-year $28 million Biomarkers Consortium project that aims to improve clinical evaluation of treatments for social impairment in children with autism.

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NIH Joins with Women’s Organization to Debut Postpartum Depression Video

Science Update

A new video about postpartum depression marks the launch of a mental health education collaboration by two NIH Institutes and one of the nation’s largest African-American women’s organizations.

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Boys More Likely to Have Antipsychotics Prescribed, Regardless of Age

Press Release

Boys are more likely than girls to receive an antipsychotic prescription regardless of age, according to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

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Study May Help Department of Veterans Affairs Find Patients with High Risk of Suicide

Press Release

Scientists used health data to identify very small groups of VHA patients with very high, predicted suicide risk. Such methods can help the VHA to target suicide prevention efforts for patients at high risk, and may have more wide-ranging benefits.

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A Patient’s Budding Cortex -- in a Dish?

Press Release

Scientists have perfected mini cultured 3-D structures that grow and function much like the outer mantle – the key working tissue, or cortex – of the brain of the person from whom they were derived.

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GTEx Findings Reveal New Insights into how DNA Differences Influence Gene Activity, Disease Susceptibility

Press Release

Data resource begins to reveal how genetic variability influences key tissues in health and disease.

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The NIMH Research Domain Criteria

Science Update

NIMH’s Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) is a groundbreaking initiative designed to help bring precision medicine to mental illnesses.

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Souped-up Remote Control Switches Behaviors On-and-off in Mice

Press Release

Neuroscientists have perfected a chemical-genetic remote control for brain circuitry and behavior.

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Brain Circuitry for Positive vs Negative Memories Discovered in Mice

Press Release

Neuroscientists have discovered brain circuitry for encoding positive and negative learned associations in mice.

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A New Look at Racial/Ethnic Differences in Mental Health Service Use Among Adults

Science Update

New report on mental health service use among racial/ethnic groups

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Dr. Insel Reflects on Autism Awareness Month

Science Update

Dr. Insel describes recent accomplishments related to autism spectrum disorder over the past year—from the reauthorization of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee to promising therapeutic results from clinical trials.

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New NIMH Strategic Plan Aims to Focus, Accelerate Mental Health Research

Press Release

New NIMH Strategic Plan balances the need for long-term investments in basic research with urgent mental health needs.

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HIV Can Spread Early, Evolve in Patients’ Brains

Press Release

HIV can replicate independently and early in the illness process, genetically evolving differently than in the periphery.

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NIH Announces Follow that Cell Challenge Finalists

Press Release

NIH has selected 5 prize winners and 11 finalists in Phase 1 of its Follow that Cell Challenge, which aims to develop new ways to predict the behavior and function of a single cell in complex tissue over time.

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Lisanby Chosen to Lead NIMH Division of Translational Research

Science Update

Dr. Sarah Hollingsworth Lisanby, one of the leading researchers in the area of neuromodulatory interventions for treating major depression, will join NIMH as the director of the Division of Translational Research.

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Pioneering NIMH Data Sharing

Science Update

NIMH’s first major effort to share clinical trial research data—established before many current data registries existed—is still doing a brisk business.

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Disorders Share Risk Gene Pathways for Immune, Epigenetic Regulation

Science Update

Risk genes for different mental disorders work through same pathways

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Webinar Series - Suicide Prevention: An Action Plan to Save Lives

Science Update

Suicide Prevention: An Action Plan to Save Lives

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Brain Recalls Old Memories via New Pathways

Press Release

Brain retrieval circuitry shifts as fear memory ages

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