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Science News from 2019

NIH BRAIN Initiative Tool May Transform How Scientists Study Brain Structure and Function

Press Release

Researchers have developed a high-tech support system that can keep a large mammalian brain from rapidly decomposing in the hours after death, enabling study of certain molecular and cellular functions.

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Ketamine Reverses Neural Changes Underlying Depression-Related Behaviors in Mice

Press Release

Researchers have identified ketamine-induced brain-related changes that are responsible for maintaining the remission of behaviors related to depression in mice — findings that may help researchers develop interventions that promote lasting remission of depression in humans.

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Fifth Annual BRAIN Initiative Investigators Meeting

Institute Update

On April 11-13, 2019, approximately 1,500 scientists from many disciplines will attend the fifth annual Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN)® Initiative Investigators Meeting in Washington, DC. This open meeting provides a forum for discussing scientific developments and potential new directions, and to identify areas for collaboration and research coordination.

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NIMH-Supported Researcher to Receive John Dirks Canada Gairdner Award for Global Health

Institute Update

Vikram Harshad Patel, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., whose research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), will receive the John Dirks Canada Gairdner Award for Global Health. This honor recognizes the world’s top scientists and their outstanding achievements in global health research. Dr. Patel will receive the award on October 24, 2019, in Toronto, Canada.

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Suicide: How You Can Make a Difference

Science Update

The recent deaths of two school shooting survivors has brought the topic of suicide into everyday conversations. It’s important to know some facts and to know what to do if you think someone might be at risk for self-harm.

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Bench-to-Bedside: NIMH Research Leading to Brexanolone, First-Ever Drug Specifically for Postpartum Depression

Press Release

FDA approval of the postpartum depression treatment brexanolone represents the final phase of a bench-to-bedside journey for this drug — a journey that began in the NIMH Intramural Research Program. NIMH experts are available to provide information on postpartum depression and the importance of, and the science underlying, this new drug.

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NIH Study Reveals Differences in Brain Activity in Children with Anhedonia

Press Release

Researchers have identified changes in brain connectivity and brain activity during rest and reward anticipation in children with anhedonia, a condition where people lose interest and pleasure in activities they used to enjoy.

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NIH Study Shows Many Preteens Screen Positive for Suicide Risk During ER Visits

Press Release

A research team found nearly one-third of youth ages 10 to 12 years screened positive for suicide risk in emergency department settings, including those seeking help for physical concerns only.

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Neuromelanin-Sensitive MRI Identified as a Potential Biomarker for Psychosis

Press Release

Researchers have shown that a type of magnetic resonance imaging — called neuromelanin-sensitive MRI (NM-MRI) — is a potential biomarker for psychosis. NM-MRI signal was found to be a marker of dopamine function in people with schizophrenia and an indicator of the severity of psychotic symptoms in people with this mental illness.

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Mega Docking Library Poised to Speed Drug Discovery

Press Release

Researchers have launched an ultra-large virtual docking library expected to grow to more than 1 billion molecules by next year. It will expand by 1000-fold the number of such “make-on-demand” compounds readily available to scientists for chemical biology and drug discovery.

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Brain Biomarkers Could Help Identify Those at Risk of Severe PTSD

Press Release

This study has shed light on the neurocomputational contributions to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder in combat veterans, finding distinct patterns for how the brain and body respond to learning danger and safety depending on the severity of PTSD symptoms.

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Puerto Rico’s “Fear Lab” Mentors Neuroscience Rigor amid Diversity

Press Release

A lineage of young neuroscientists from diverse backgrounds trace their scientific roots to a “fear lab” in Puerto Rico that the National Institutes of Health has been supporting for two decades.

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New Findings Reveal Surprising Role of the Cerebellum in Reward and Social Behaviors

Press Release

A new study in rodents has demonstrated, for the first time, that the brain’s cerebellum plays a role in controlling reward and social preference behavior—findings that shed light on the brain circuits critical to the affective and social dysfunction seen across multiple psychiatric disorders.

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Sensorimotor Domain Added to the RDoC Framework

Institute Update

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) announces the addition of the new Sensorimotor domain to the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) framework. The aim of the new domain is to help foster earlier and more precise identification of the role of motor systems disruptions in psychopathology and aid in the development of more effective treatments for people who are affected with these disruptions.

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