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Science News from 2016

Adding Better Mental Health Care to Primary Care

Science Update

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

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NIMH Training Grant Recipient Wins Research Prize

Science Update

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.

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Molecular Tool Parses Social Fear Circuit Intertwined with Aggression Hub

Science Update

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

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Worldwide Study Seeks to Unlock the Brain’s Genetic Code

Science Update

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

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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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RDoC Unit to Co-host Webinar Series

Science Update

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.

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

Press Release

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.

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NIMH-Funded Study to Track the Effects of Trauma

Science Update

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.

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NIH Nearly Doubles Investment in BRAIN Initiative Research

Press Release

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.

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NIMH Releases Strategic Research Priorities Update

Science Update

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

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RDoC Unit to Host Virtual “Office Hours”

Science Update

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

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Powered-Up Probe ID’s Schizophrenia Genes That Stunt Brain Development

Science Update

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

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NIMH Funds 3 ‘Zero Suicide’ Grants

Science Update

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

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Recruitment Begins for Landmark Study of Adolescent Brain Development

Press Release

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

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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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Designer Agent Blocks Pain in Mice Without Morphine’s Side Effects

Science Update

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

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How “Quickly Forgotten” Early Life Experiences Mature the Brain

Science Update

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

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Schizophrenia, Autism Risk Gene Trajectories Point to Shared Causes

Science Update

Schizophrenia, autism risk gene trajectories point to shared causes

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NIMH Grantees Named Recipients of Prestigious Kavli Prize

Science Update

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

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Tapping Crowd-Sourced Data Unearths a Trove of Depression Genes

Press Release

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.

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Coping With Familial Mental Illness in Stressful Times

Science Update

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

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Connectome Map More Than Doubles Human Cortex’s Known Regions

Press Release

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

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Electroconvulsive Therapy Lifts Depression, Sustains Remission in Older Adults

Science Update

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.

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Webinar: Analyzing and Using RDoC Data in Your Research

Institute Update

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.

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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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Webinar Series 2016 – Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health

Institute Update

ORDGMH conducts two series of webinars with NIMH grantees, focusing on mental health disparities and research.

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Human Connectome Project Marks its First Phase

Press Release

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.

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World Leaders and Advocates Unite in Washington, D.C. for One Mission: Make Mental Health a Global Priority

Science Update

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

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NIMH Grantees Named Recipients of Prestigious Presidential Award

Science Update

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

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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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Biomarker Tracks Accelerated HIV-Associated Aging

Science Update

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.

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Distractible Mice Offer Clues to Attention Deficit

Science Update

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.

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Facebook Q&A on Electroconvulsive Therapy

Science Update

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

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Students Explore the Brain with NIH Scientists

Press Release

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

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Circuit for Experience-Informed Decision-Making ID’d in Rats

Press Release

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

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RDoC Launches User-Friendly Matrix Format

Science Update

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.

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Symptoms Outdo Diagnoses in Predicting Bipolar Disorder in At-Risk Youth

Science Update

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.

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A BRIGHT Technological Future for Mental Health Trials

Science Update

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.

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Psychophysiology: Special Issue Features RDoC Initiative

Science Update

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

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Team-based Treatment for First Episode Psychosis Found to be High Value

Press Release

Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis is Cost Effective

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Genome-Wide Study Yields Markers of Lithium Response

Science Update

Genome-Wide Study Yields Markers of Lithium Response

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Schizophrenia’s Strongest Known Genetic Risk Deconstructed

Press Release

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.

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Experimental Combination Surprises with Anti-HIV Effectiveness

Science Update

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.

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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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