Skip to main content

Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Celebrating 75 Years! Learn More >>

Science News from 2016

Adding Better Mental Health Care to Primary Care
Adding Better Mental Health Care to Primary Care

Medicare’s new policy supports Collaborative Care and could improve the lives of millions of people with behavioral health conditions.

Neir Eshel MD, PhD
NIMH Training Grant Recipient Wins Research Prize

NIMH training grant recipient Neir Eshel was named the 2016 Grand Prize winner of the Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists for research related to the cellular basis of learning.

CANE visualized neurons
Molecular Tool Parses Social Fear Circuit Intertwined with Aggression Hub

A genetic engineering tool has disentangled seemingly hopelessly intertwined brain circuits for social fear and aggression in mice.

medical background with magnifying glass examining brain
Worldwide Study Seeks to Unlock the Brain’s Genetic Code

Big data pinpoints genetic variation linked to brain volume and risk for disorders.

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

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.

Karen F. Berman, M.D.
NIMH’s Karen F. Berman, M.D. elected to National Academy of Medicine

At its annual meeting for 2016, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) announced the election of 79 regular members, including the National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH Karen F. Berman, M.D. One of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine, election to the Academy recognizes outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

NIMH Research Domain Criteria
RDoC Unit to Co-host Webinar Series

The NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) unit, the Delaware Project (DP), and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) will launch a webinar series examining the science-to-service pipeline in psychology and psychiatry.

National Institute of Mental Health
NIMH-Funded Study to Track the Effects of Trauma

By carefully tracking 5,000 people after they have experienced a traumatic event, a just-launched NIMH-funded study aims to provide a finely detailed map of the array of factors that play a role in the development of mental disorders that occur in the wake of trauma.

BRAIN Initiative research
NIH Nearly Doubles Investment in BRAIN Initiative Research

NIH’s third round of grants to support the goals of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative total just over $150 million.

Strategic Research Priorities image
NIMH Releases Strategic Research Priorities Update

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) recently released updates to its Strategic Research Priorities.

NIMH Research Domain Criteria
RDoC Unit to Host Virtual “Office Hours”

RDoC Unit at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) announce that they are holding monthly virtual “office hours” starting Friday, October 14, 2016.

Cropped image of RNA molecule
Powered-Up Probe ID’s Schizophrenia Genes That Stunt Brain Development

Scientists have pinpointed several schizophrenia-related gene variants that alter expression of other genes in illness-implicated circuitry of the human brain.

logo for Zero Suicide in health and behavioral health care
NIMH Funds 3 ‘Zero Suicide’ Grants

NIMH is supporting Zero Suicide efforts with 3 new research grants. Each project focuses on prevention and health care systems.

Girl holding brain
Recruitment Begins for Landmark Study of Adolescent Brain Development

The study will follow the biological and behavioral development of more than 10,000 children through adolescence into early adulthood.

2-systems graph - featured
Circuitry for Fearful Feelings, Behavior Untangled in Anxiety Disorders

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

PSM21 docked in opioid receptor
Designer Agent Blocks Pain in Mice Without Morphine’s Side Effects

Scientists have synthesized a molecule with a unique profile of highly specific pain-relieving properties and demonstrated its efficacy in mice.

Laboratory Rat
How “Quickly Forgotten” Early Life Experiences Mature the Brain

Brain memory circuitry’s keen sensitivity to experience during an early critical period enables long-term memory ability to develop through practice.

Gene activation by cortex layer featured image
Schizophrenia, Autism Risk Gene Trajectories Point to Shared Causes

Schizophrenia, autism risk gene trajectories point to shared causes

Kavli lighted neurons
NIMH Grantees Named Recipients of Prestigious Kavli Prize

Three NIMH grantees have been named recipients of the 2016 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience.

chromosomes and double helix
Tapping Crowd-Sourced Data Unearths a Trove of Depression Genes

Scientists have discovered 15 genome sites – the first ever – linked to depression in people of European ancestry. But – in a twist – the researchers didn’t have to sequence anyone’s genes! Instead, they analyzed data already shared by people who had purchased their own genetic profiles via an online service and elected to participate in its research option.

Richard Nakamura, Ph.D.
Coping With Familial Mental Illness in Stressful Times

“An NIH/NIMH lifer” reveals how his Asian American family successfully coped with severe mental illness compounded by discrimination.

map of areas in human cortex
Connectome Map More Than Doubles Human Cortex’s Known Regions

Researchers have mapped 180 distinct areas on our brain’s cortex — more than twice the number previously known.

National Institute of Mental Health
Electroconvulsive Therapy Lifts Depression, Sustains Remission in Older Adults

An individualized program of follow-up treatment with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) combined with an antidepressant was effective in preventing relapse in patients 60 years and older who had had a successful initial course of treatment for severe depression.

NIMH Research Domain Criteria
Webinar: Analyzing and Using RDoC Data in Your Research

The NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Unit hosts a webinar featuring a conversation with three NIMH-funded researchers who have approached the issue of how to analyze and integrate data that illustrate RDoC principles.

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

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

National Institute of Mental Health
Twitter Chat on African American Men’s Mental Health

A live Twitter chat discussing African American men’s mental health.

high resolution brain scan
Human Connectome Project Marks its First Phase

Studies based on a database made available by the Human Connectome Project’s first phase reveal that an individual’s brain connectivity can predict his or her behavior.

profile of a human head with Earth features superimposed upon it
World Leaders and Advocates Unite in Washington, D.C. for One Mission: Make Mental Health a Global Priority

World leaders and advocates gathered in Washington, D.C. on April 13-15, 2015 to discuss making mental health a global priority.

The White House logo
NIMH Grantees Named Recipients of Prestigious Presidential Award

NIMH congratulates four NIMH grantees who received the 2016 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

National Institute of Mental Health
Twitter Chat on Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder and Severe Irritability

A live Twitter chat discussing the symptoms and treatments for disruptive mood dysregulation disorder and severe irritability.

Chemical structure of antidepressant metabolite
Ketamine Lifts Depression via a Byproduct of its Metabolism

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

The thinker with brain map superimposed
Secrets to Our Smarts Hidden in the Folds of Our Cortex

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

High Chromosomes
Biomarker Tracks Accelerated HIV-Associated Aging

By measuring a molecular signature of aging, researchers have found that HIV infection accelerates aging, adding an average of five years to someone’s biological age.

photo of a white mouse against a white background
Distractible Mice Offer Clues to Attention Deficit

A recent NIMH-funded study sheds new light on how the brain’s processing of sensory information, a key impairment in autism and ADHD, can affect higher level cognitive functions, such as attention and decision making.

Facebook Q&A Featured Image
Facebook Q&A on Electroconvulsive Therapy

On March 17, 2016, NIMH hosts a Facebook Q&A on electroconvulsive therapy with expert Dr. Sarah Lisanby.

a colorful brain with gears in it
Students Explore the Brain with NIH Scientists

Students explore the brain with NIH scientists in celebration of Brain Awareness Week (March 14-18, 2016).

Brain circuitry and decision making for rats -featured
Circuit for Experience-Informed Decision-Making ID’d in Rats

Scientists have discovered secrets of how the brain recalls experiences of being in a particular location in making informed choices.

NIMH Research Domain Criteria
RDoC Launches User-Friendly Matrix Format

The NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative recently launched a redesigned version of the RDoC Matrix, a tool designed to help researchers implement the principles and logic of RDoC in their studies.

group of teens talking
Symptoms Outdo Diagnoses in Predicting Bipolar Disorder in At-Risk Youth

Three types of symptoms emerged as powerful predictors of whether a youth with one parent with bipolar disorder will go on to develop the disorder, according to a new NIMH-funded study of 391 at-risk youth.

a man's hands hold a smartphone
A BRIGHT Technological Future for Mental Health Trials

Is mobile mental health research the next frontier for smartphones? Based on Dr. Patricia Areán’s pioneering BRIGHTEN study, research via smartphone app is already a reality.

NIMH Research Domain Criteria
Psychophysiology: Special Issue Features RDoC Initiative

The March 2016 issue of the journal Psychophysiology will be a special one focused on NIMH’s Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative.

Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode
Team-based Treatment for First Episode Psychosis Found to be High Value

Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis is Cost Effective

High Chromosomes
Genome-Wide Study Yields Markers of Lithium Response

Genome-Wide Study Yields Markers of Lithium Response

NIMH Twitter Chat
Twitter Chat on Mind and Body Approaches for Stress

Twitter chat discussing the latest science on using mind and body approaches to managing stress.

C4 tower in genomic skyline featured
Schizophrenia’s Strongest Known Genetic Risk Deconstructed

Versions of a gene linked to schizophrenia may trigger runaway pruning of the teenage brain’s still-maturing communications infrastructure.The gene switched on more in people with the suspect versions, who faced a higher risk of developing the disorder.

HIV-infected T-cells
Experimental Combination Surprises with Anti-HIV Effectiveness

A compound developed by NIH-supported scientists to protect the nervous system from HIV surprised researchers by augmenting the effectiveness of an investigational antiretroviral drug beyond anything expected.

chart illustration of mouse and stimulus
Circuit Tweak Boosts Social Memory in Mice

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