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New Experiences Enhance Learning by Resetting Key Brain Circuit

Press Release

A study of spatial learning in mice shows that exposure to new experiences dampens established representations in the brain’s hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, allowing the mice to learn new navigation strategies.

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Gene Readouts Contribute To Distinctness of Mental Disorders

Press Release

A new study conducted by researchers at NIMH suggests that differences in the expression of gene transcripts – readouts copied from DNA that help maintain and build our cells – may hold the key to understanding how mental disorders with shared genetic risk factors result in different patterns of onset, symptoms, course of illness, and treatment responses.

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NIH-funded Study Sheds Light on Abnormal Neural Function in Rare Genetic Disorder

Press Release

A genetic study has identified neuronal abnormalities in the electrical activity of cortical cells derived from people with a rare genetic disorder called 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.

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Study Shows Highly Reproducible Sex Differences in Aspects of Human Brain Anatomy

Press Release

A scientific analysis of more than 2,000 brain scans found evidence for highly reproducible sex differences in the volume of certain regions in the human brain.

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Brain Cells Can Harbor and Spread HIV Virus to the Body

Press Release

Researchers funded by NIMH have found that astrocytes, a type of brain cell, can harbor HIV and then spread the virus to immune cells that traffic out of the brain and into other organs.

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New NIMH Strategic Plan Paves the Way for Advances in Mental Health Research

Press Release

The Strategic Plan for Research advances the Institute’s mission and helps guide future mental health research efforts.

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Fast-Fail Trial Shows New Approach to Identifying Brain Targets for Clinical Treatments

Press Release

An innovative NIMH-funded trial shows that a receptor involved in the brain’s reward system may be a viable target for treating anhedonia (or lack of pleasure), a key symptom of several mood and anxiety disorders.

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Reading the Brain’s Map: Coordinated Brain Activation Supports Spatial Learning and Decision-Making

Press Release

NIH-supported study finds that spatial “replay” in neurons may help rats learn how to navigate toward goals.

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New BRAIN Initiative Awards Accelerate Neuroscience Discoveries

Press Release

The NIH has announced its continued support for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative by funding more than 180 new BRAIN Initiative awards, bringing the total 2019 budget for the program to more than $424 million.

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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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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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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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2,000 Human Brains Yield Clues to How Genes Raise Risk for Mental Illnesses

Press Release

PsychENCODE researchers are discovering the biological mechanisms by which mental illness risk genes work in the human brain.

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Diversity Training Programs Nurture Research Career

Science Update

A trainee tells her story of how NIMH/NIH training programs for members of underrepresented groups have nurtured her scientific career.

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The Pathways Through which Light Affects Learning and Mood

Science Update

In a new study, researchers have traced the brain pathways responsible for the effects of light on learning and mood. The findings revealed that these effects are brought about by two different and distinct pathways from the retina into the brain.

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NIH BRAIN Initiative Debuts Cell Census of Mouse Motor Cortex – for Starters

Press Release

NIH BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN) has debuted its first data release, which focuses on motor cortex. In a related development, researchers have discovered cellular secrets of key social behaviors – mating, parenting, and aggression – in mouse hypothalamus.

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Understanding Critical Components of the Brain’s Stress Circuitry

Science Update

A new study has revealed more about the organization and function of a brain structure—the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus—that may serve a key role in linking stress detection to the development of adaptive behaviors.

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Bigger Human Brain Prioritizes Thinking Hub – at a Cost

Press Release

Scientists have discovered that bigger human brains are organized differently than smaller ones.

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Molecular Secrets Revealed: Antipsychotic Docked in its Receptor

Press Release

Scientists have deciphered the molecular structure of a widely-prescribed antipsychotic docked in its key human brain receptor. The discovery may hold clues to designing better treatments for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses.

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Memory Gene Goes Viral

Press Release

A gene crucial for learning can send its genetic material from one neuron to another by employing a strategy commonly used by viruses.

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Brain’s Alertness Circuitry Conserved Through Evolution

Press Release

Using a molecular method likely to become widely adopted by the field, researchers have discovered brain circuitry essential for alertness – and for brain states more generally.

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NIH BRAIN Initiative Builds on Early Advances

Press Release

NIH has announced funding for 110 new awards totaling $169 million for the BRAIN Initiative.

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NIH BRAIN Initiative Launches Cell Census

Press Release

The NIH today launched a major effort to discover and catalog the brain’s “parts list.”

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NIH Completes Atlas of Human DNA Differences that Influence Gene Expression

Science Update

NIH researchers have completed an atlas documenting how DNA influence human gene expression.

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NIMH Releases Strategic Research Priorities Update

Institute Update

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) recently released its second annual update of the Strategic Research Priorities.

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Depression’s “Transcriptional Signatures” Differ in Men vs. Women

Science Update

Brain gene expression associated with depression differed markedly between men and women. Such divergent “transcriptional signatures” may signal divergent underlying illness processes requiring sex-specific treatments.

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Breakthrough Method Yields Trove of Neuron Subtypes, Gene Regulators

Science Update

Scientists have discovered a trove of neuronal subtypes by identifying their unique epigenomic signatures.

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Our Brains Harbor “Residual Echo” of Neanderthal Genes

Science Update

Researchers have produced the first direct evidence that parts of our brains implicated in mental disorders may be shaped by a “residual echo” from our ancient past. The more a person’s genome carries genetic vestiges of Neanderthals, the more certain parts of his or her brain and skull resemble those of humans’ evolutionary cousins that went extinct 40,000 years ago.

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Webinar: RDoC - Fear & Anxiety: From Mechanisms to Implementation

Institute Update

This November 2016 RDoC webinar highlights the role of fear and anxiety in disorders such as phobias and depression.

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Scientists Replay Movie Encoded in DNA

Press Release

For the first time, a primitive movie has been encoded in – and then played back from – DNA in living cells. It’s a major step toward a “molecular recorder” that may someday reveal secrets of the developing brain.

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NIH Names Winners of “Follow that Cell” Phase 2 Competition

Press Release

Two biological engineering researchers are winners in Phase 2 of NIH’s Follow that Cell Challenge. The winners will share $400,000 in prizes awarded for development of new tools and methods for predicting the behavior and function of a single cell in complex tissue over time – and how that reflects the health of the tissue.

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Brain Circuit Tweak Wins Her Affection (if she’s a vole)

Science Update

For the first time, neuroscientists have boosted a female rodent’s partnering with a male by stimulating connectivity of a brain reward circuit. Understanding the circuitry of such affiliative behaviors may lead to improved treatments for social impairment in severe mental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder.

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Connections Strengthen Within Specialized Networks as Brain’s Executive Function Matures

Science Update

As we grow up, our brain’s specialized networks become more structurally segregated, contributing to improved executive functioning. These densely interconnected “modules” process information for key functions that underlie development of mental control and self-regulation.

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NIMH Grantee Wins One of Science’s Most Coveted Prizes

Science Update

NIMH grantee Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University, has been awarded one of science’s most generous prizes. A German foundation presented the inventor of technologies that are transforming neuroscience with its 4 million euros Fresenius Prize.

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NIMH to Host Multimodal Brain Stimulation Speaker Series

Science Update

Beginning May 31, 2017, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) will launch a speaker series intended to bring together leaders in the field conducting research using non-invasive brain stimulation and functional imaging including EEG, fMRI, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

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Brain “Relay” Also Key to Holding Thoughts in Mind

Press Release

Long overlooked as a mere “relay,” an egg-like structure in the middle of the brain also turns out to play a pivotal role in tuning-up thinking circuity. A trio of studies in mice are revealing that the thalamus sustains the ability to distinguish categories and hold thoughts in mind. It might even become a target for interventions for psychiatric disorders marked by working memory problems, such as schizophrenia.

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Human Forebrain Circuits Under Construction – in a Dish

Press Release

Neuroscientists have created a 3D window into the human brain’s budding executive hub assembling itself during a critical period in prenatal development.

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Potential Source of HIV Persistence Confirmed

Science Update

Scientists have shown that a class of immune cells not thought to be a primary reservoir for HIV can harbor the virus even following antiretroviral treatment (ART).

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Sleep May Trim Neural Connections to Restore Learning Ability

Science Update

Sleep may be the price we pay for the ability to learn. It streamlines neural connections for optimal efficiency.

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Revealed: LSD Docked in its Human Brain Target

Science Update

Scientists have discovered the molecular structure of LSD in its human brain receptor.

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Two NIMH Grantees Receive Prestigious Presidential Award

Science Update

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) congratulates two NIMH grantees, Mary Kay Lobo from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Eric Morrow from Brown University, who are among the 102 scientists and researchers receiving the 2017 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

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