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Celebrating 75 Years! Learn More >>

Science News from 2024

An image showing, from Left to Right, Dr. Benjamin Le Cook, Dr. Jessica Goodkind, Dr. Sidney Hankerson, and Dr. Christina Borba as they speak on a panel at NIMH’s 75th Anniversary symposium, Amplifying Voices and Building Bridges: Toward a More Inclusive Future, on March 18, 2024. Courtesy of NIMH.
Amplifying Voices and Building Bridges: NIMH Symposium Calls for Action Towards an Inclusive Path Forward

75th Anniversary

The National Institute of Mental Health hosted its second 75th Anniversary event—a symposium focused on inclusion in research, disparities in health and access to care, and diversity in the mental health workforce.

Toddler watching clips via the SenseToKnow app while sitting in caregiver's lap
Digital Autism Screening Tool Could Enhance Early Identification

A tablet-based screening tool that analyzes children’s behavior in response to specific video clips shows promise for enhancing early autism screening, according to a study supported by NIMH.

Brain surrounded by interconnected beams of light.
Noninvasively Stimulating Deep Brain Areas to Treat Depression Symptoms

In a new neuroimaging study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, researchers used repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation to target regions deep in the brain to help reduce depression symptoms.

Thumbnail image for the 'Speaking Up About Mental Health' National Essay Contest. The image features three gold award winners: a young woman from Tustin, CA, a young man from Jupiter, FL, and a young woman from Philadelphia, PA. Each winner's photo is displayed with their name and location underneath.
NIH Announces Winners of 2023-2024 High School Mental Health Essay Contest

Learn about the 24 youth who received prizes in the national essay contest addressing mental health and mental health stigma.

Illustration of a DNA helix over top of a human brain
Scientists Map Networks Regulating Gene Function in the Human Brain

An NIMH-funded research consortium has produced the largest and most advanced multidimensional maps of gene regulation networks in the brains of people with and without mental disorders.

sad little girl rest on swing
Characterizing Childhood Irritability Across Ages and Stages

NIMH-supported research captures expressions of irritability across developmental stages via a clinically relevant measurement tool: the MAPS Temper Loss Scale.

Women with her head in her hand holding a crying baby.
Basic Research Powers the First Medication for Postpartum Depression

75th Anniversary

Decades of NIMH-supported basic research led to a pioneering treatment for postpartum depression and continues to power exciting advances in women's mental health care.

Section of mouse cerebellum. Credit: Wang et. al., 2024, Neuron.
Understanding the Underpinnings of Sensory Hypersensitivity in SCN2A-Associated Autism

In this NIMH-supported study, researchers investigated the neural underpinnings of sensory hypersensitivity in SCN2A-associated autism.

Image showing transplanted human cortical organoids made from cells taken from individuals with Timothy syndrome with immunostaining. Chen et al., Nature.
Gene-Based Therapy Restores Cellular Development and Function in Brain Cells From People With Timothy Syndrome

In a proof-of-concept study, researchers demonstrated the effectiveness of a potential new therapy for Timothy syndrome, an often life-threatening and rare genetic disorder that affects a wide range of bodily systems, leading to severe cardiac, neurological, and psychiatric symptoms as well as physical differences such as webbed fingers and toes.

A smiling parent sits in an exam room holding her happy child and talking with a health care provider
Accelerating Science to Improve Early Autism Screening

75th Anniversary

Persistent, collective efforts in the research community show how making early autism screening part of routine health care can support the well-being of children and families.

Father and daughter arguing over homework. Daughter looks pouty and disgruntled.
Novel Treatment Helps Children With Severe Irritability

A new study by NIMH researchers demonstrated the effectiveness, feasibility, and safety of exposure-based cognitive behavioral therapy for severe irritability and temper outbursts in children. The positive results set the foundation to continue exploring exposure therapy as a potential treatment for childhood irritability.

An image depicting the RDoC Framework.
Revolutionizing the Study of Mental Disorders

75th Anniversary

The Research Domain Criteria Initiative (RDoC) represented a new way to conceptualize the study of mental illnesses. In celebration of NIMH's 75th Anniversary, we reflect on the beginning and progress of this initiative.

Retro video game arcade screens saying You win! and You lose.
Study Reveals Potential Neural Marker for Social Impairment in Psychotic Disorders

Research funded by NIMH found a link between a low level of social interest among people with psychotic disorders and brain regions in the social motivation system.

Image showing brain activation taken from Figure 1 from Norman LJ et al. “Subcortico-Cortical Dysconnectivity in ADHD: A Voxel-Wise Mega-Analysis Across Multiple Cohorts” (Am J Psychiatry; doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.20230026). Copyright © 2024 American Psychiatric Association.
NIH Researchers Identify Brain Connections Associated With ADHD in Youth

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have discovered that symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are tied to atypical interactions between the brain’s frontal cortex and information processing centers deep in the brain.

A photo of Ray Lay.
Life with Schizoaffective Disorder

75th Anniversary

In this lived experience feature story, Ray Lay describes the challenges of living with schizoaffective disorder and his later success in life.

A headshot of Dr. Joshua Gordon.
Dr. Joshua Gordon to Step Down as Director of the National Institute of Mental Health

On February 29, 2024, Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., announced his decision to end his tenure as the director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

Outline of a head filled with blue and green watercolor paint.
Intervention Reduces Likelihood of Developing Postpartum Anxiety and Depression by More Than 70%

Results from a large clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health show that an intervention for anxiety provided to pregnant women living in Pakistan significantly reduced the likelihood of the women developing moderate-to-severe anxiety, depression, or both six weeks after birth.

Swarm of human immunodeficiency virus. Credit: istock/fpm.
Decades of Dedication and Collaboration: Unraveling the HIV Mystery

75th Anniversary

In celebration of NIMHs 75th anniversary, we reflect on decades of work by the institute to understand and eradicate HIV.

Photo from the back of a child holding tightly to and leaning on a parent's arm.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Alters Brain Activity in Children With Anxiety

Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health found that unmedicated children with anxiety disorders show widespread overactivation in brain functioning and that treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy led to a clinically significant drop in anxiety symptoms and improved brain functioning.

Illustration of an X chromosome cut open to expose a piece of the DNA strand.
Researchers Expand Understanding of Genetic Mechanisms Underlying Fragile X Syndrome

An NIMH-supported study of the 3D genome revealed widespread silencing of genes with important roles in brain function in fragile X syndrome and related disorders.

NIMH leadership and presenters posing for a group photo at NIMH's inaugural 75th Anniversary symposium.
NIMH Hosts 75th Anniversary Symposium

75th Anniversary

The National Institute of Mental Health recently hosted a symposium to kick off its 75th Anniversary celebrations.

Brain made up of glowing, connected lights.
Using Games to Explore the Mind

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the non-profit organization The Many Brains Project partnered with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) All of Us Research Program to adapt a series of new game-like tasks that are now part of the All of Us Research Program’s participant experience.

Group of diverse people without faces, several of whom are grayed out.
Disparities in Psychotic Disorder Diagnoses and Other Negative Health Outcomes

NIMH researchers found racial and ethnic disparities in rates of psychotic disorders, which were associated with co-occurring medical conditions and negative health outcomes.