Skip to content

Science News About Basic Research

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.

Continue Reading

Bigger Human Brain Prioritizes Thinking Hub – at a Cost

Press Release

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

NIH BRAIN Initiative Builds on Early Advances

Press Release

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

Continue Reading

NIH BRAIN Initiative Launches Cell Census

Press Release

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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).

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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).

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Revealed: LSD Docked in its Human Brain Target

Science Update

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

Continue Reading

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).

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

NIMH Releases Strategic Research Priorities Update

Science Update

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

NIMH Grantees Named Recipients of Prestigious Kavli Prize

Science Update

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Biomarker for Brain Excitability May Help Track Medication Effect

Science Update

NIMH scientists have recently discovered a link between order in the activity of neurons in the brain and excitability—how likely it is that individual neurons will “fire”— which may provide a means for monitoring treatment of conditions like epilepsy that would be less invasive and thus more versatile than current methods

Continue Reading

NIH-supported NeuroBioBank Joins Autism BrainNet in Brain Donation Initiative

Press Release

Two of the world’s largest brain tissue banks unify efforts to collect and distribute a critical number of brain donations for important autism research.

Continue Reading

Blog, Video Spotlight NIMH Neuroscience Trainee

Science Update

A recent NIH Director’s Blog and Lab TV video feature a young neuroscientist whose discoveries as a graduate student – about a key maternal behavior – were supported, in part, by a NIMH training grant.

Continue Reading

Embracing the SPIRIT of reducing suicide

Science Update

NIMH, NIH, and the National Institute of Justice are collaborating on a 4-year, $6.8 million study called Suicide Prevention for at-Risk Individuals in Transition or “SPIRIT.” The study focuses on the high-risk individuals who are transitioning from jail to community. SPIRIT is NIMH’s first major investment in suicide prevention in the justice system.

Continue Reading

Psychosis Treatment Program Expands in New York

Science Update

New York expanded OnTrackNY, a treatment program for youth with psychosis which is an offshoot of one of the two NIMH-funded Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) studies.

Continue Reading

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

Science Update

View the archived webinars with NIMH experts and grantees, which focus on training, research, and methodology

Continue Reading

Boys More Likely to Have Antipsychotics Prescribed, Regardless of Age

Press Release

Boys are more likely than girls to receive an antipsychotic prescription regardless of age, according to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Continue Reading

Study May Help Department of Veterans Affairs Find Patients with High Risk of Suicide

Press Release

Scientists used health data to identify very small groups of VHA patients with very high, predicted suicide risk. Such methods can help the VHA to target suicide prevention efforts for patients at high risk, and may have more wide-ranging benefits.

Continue Reading

A Patient’s Budding Cortex -- in a Dish?

Press Release

Scientists have perfected mini cultured 3-D structures that grow and function much like the outer mantle – the key working tissue, or cortex – of the brain of the person from whom they were derived.

Continue Reading

Souped-up Remote Control Switches Behaviors On-and-off in Mice

Press Release

Neuroscientists have perfected a chemical-genetic remote control for brain circuitry and behavior.

Continue Reading

Brain Circuitry for Positive vs Negative Memories Discovered in Mice

Press Release

Neuroscientists have discovered brain circuitry for encoding positive and negative learned associations in mice.

Continue Reading

A New Look at Racial/Ethnic Differences in Mental Health Service Use Among Adults

Science Update

New report on mental health service use among racial/ethnic groups

Continue Reading

New NIMH Strategic Plan Aims to Focus, Accelerate Mental Health Research

Press Release

New NIMH Strategic Plan balances the need for long-term investments in basic research with urgent mental health needs.

Continue Reading

NIH Announces Follow that Cell Challenge Finalists

Press Release

NIH has selected 5 prize winners and 11 finalists in Phase 1 of its Follow that Cell Challenge, which aims to develop new ways to predict the behavior and function of a single cell in complex tissue over time.

Continue Reading

Brain Recalls Old Memories via New Pathways

Press Release

Brain retrieval circuitry shifts as fear memory ages

Continue Reading

Seeking Single Cells’ Secrets

Press Release

NIH has awarded grants totaling $7.9 million in 2014 to 25 research teams who are unraveling the workings of single cells.

Continue Reading

Soldiers at Increased Suicide Risk after Leaving Hospital

Press Release

Soldiers hospitalized with a psychiatric disorder have a higher suicide risk in the year following discharge from the hospital.

Continue Reading

NIMH Twitter Chat on Depression and the Development of Novel Medications

Science Update

NIMH Twitter Chat on Depression and the Development of Novel Medications

Continue Reading

NIH Announces First Wave of Funding for BRAIN Initiative Research

Science Update

Calling it “the beginning of an ambitious journey”, the National Institutes of Health announced its first wave of grants in support of the BRAIN Initiative.

Continue Reading

Magnetic Stimulation Boosts Human Memory, Network Connectivity

Science Update

Scientists have improved memory for associations between faces and words by electromagnetically stimulating neural connections in a brain network.

Continue Reading

Suspect Gene Corrupts Neural Connections

Press Release

Researchers have shown in patients’ cells how a rare mutation in a suspect gene disrupts the expression of dozens of other genes underlying neural connections.

Continue Reading

Follow that Cell

Press Release

The National Institutes of Health is challenging science innovators to compete for prizes totaling up to $500,000, by developing new ways to track the health status of a single cell in complex tissue over time.

Continue Reading

NIMH Twitter Chat on Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Science Update

NIMH Twitter Chat on Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Continue Reading

How Might New Neurons Buffer Against Stress?

Science Update

Over the past decade or so, evidence has emerged suggesting that the birth of new neurons in the adult brain’s memory hub, or hippocampus, may play a key role the action of antidepressants, resilience to stress, the benefits of exercise and enriched environments, and preventing memory loss. But understanding how it might work has remained elusive. NIMH researchers in NIH’s new Porter Neuroscience Research Center are following up leads.

Continue Reading

NIMH Twitter Chat on Men and Depression

Science Update

NIMH Twitter Chat on Men and Depression

Continue Reading

NIMH Twitter Chat on Postpartum Depression

Science Update

NIMH Twitter Chat on Postpartum Depression

Continue Reading

Channel Makeover Bioengineered to Switch Off Neurons

Press Release

Scientists have bioengineered an enhancement to a cutting edge technology that provides instant control over brain circuit activity with a flash of light. The research adds the same level of control over switching neurons off that, until now, had been limited to switching them on. What had been working through a weak pump now works through a highly responsive channel -- like going from a squirt to a gushing hose.

Continue Reading

NIMH Twitter Chat on Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis

Science Update

NIMH Twitter Chat on Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis

Continue Reading

Learn About the Adolescent Brain with Expert Dr. Jay Giedd on May 8!

Science Update

NIMH expert Dr. Jay Giedd will discuss the developing adolescent brain at a community event on May 8. The event will be video archived.

Continue Reading

The 22nd NIMH Conference on Mental Health Services Research

Science Update

The 22nd National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Conference on Mental Health Services Research (MHSR): Research in Pursuit of a Learning Mental Health Care System, will be convened on April 23–25, 2014, at the Natcher Conference Center on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Campus, Bethesda, MD.

Continue Reading

NIH-funded Brain Atlas Offers Clues to Psychiatric Disorders

Press Release

A brain blueprint maps where genes are tuned on and off during mid-pregnancy—when most brain disorders such as autism and schizophrenia occur.

Continue Reading

Most Individuals Receive Health Services a Year Before Suicide Death

Science Update

Undetected suicide risk is a critical issue in primary care. According to a NIMH-funded study published in the February 2014 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, 83 percent of individuals received health care services in the year prior to suicide death and half did not have a mental health diagnosis.

Continue Reading

Disorganized Cortical Patches Suggest Prenatal Origin of Autism

Press Release

The architecture of the autistic brain is speckled with patches of abnormal neurons, according to research partially funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 27, 2014.

Continue Reading

Brain Region Singled Out for Social Memory, Possible Therapeutic Target for Select Brain Disorders

Science Update

The hippocampus houses learning and memory—specifically the storage of knowledge of who, what, where, and when. Using a special transgenic mouse, researchers have now pinpointed a hippocampal region called CA2 that is important for social memory, the ability of animal to recognize another of the same species. Understanding this region could be useful in understanding and treating disorders characterized by altered social behaviors such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism.

Continue Reading

Suicide in the Military: Army-NIH Funded Study Points to Risk and Protective Factors

Press Release

Although the suicide attempt and death rates in the U.S. Army have been historically below the civilian rate, these rates began climbing in the early 2000s, and by 2008, exceeded those of civilians. A joint study between the Army and NIMH, called Army STARRS, recently released findings that shed light on the problem.

Continue Reading

NIMH Twitter Chat on Eating Disorders

Science Update

NIMH Twitter Chat on Eating Disorders

Continue Reading

NICHD/NIMH Podcast on Youth Violence

Science Update

NIMH/NICHD experts explain what sparks and halts youth violence.

Continue Reading