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Science News About Depression

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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.

Image of brain using color to show the strength of electric field generated through MST.
Magnetic Seizure Therapy as Effective as Electroconvulsive Therapy for Treating Depression

This clinical trial found that MST is equally effective at reducing depression symptoms as ECT, but with fewer side effects.

Scrabble pieces spelling out "Ketamine."
Cracking the Ketamine Code

75th Anniversary

NIMH supported science and NIMH researchers helped pave the way for the development of ketamine—a groundbreaking treatment that has improved the lives of those who are impacted by treatment-resistant depression.

A mother tightly hugging her young daughter.
Mothers' Difficult Childhoods Impact Their Children’s Mental Health

In this NIMH-funded study, researchers examined how trauma gets passed from one generation to the next.

Pregnant woman holds her baby bump while a therapist in the background takes notes.
Population Study Finds Depression Is Different Before, During, and After Pregnancy

New NIMH-funded research tracked population-level rates of postpartum depression among new mothers before, during, and after pregnancy.

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Brief Cognitive Training May Extend the Antidepressant Effects of Ketamine

An NIMH-supported study suggests that a brief self-association training program can extend the effects of a single ketamine infusion by shifting people’s negative self-beliefs.

A father and son sitting on a park bench.
Family-Based Intervention Lowers Long-Term Suicide Risk in Youth

In a recent study supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, researchers examined the impact of a family-based intervention on suicide risk in youth and found risk-reduction benefits up to 10 years later.

Hands typing at a computer
Mindful Mood Balance Effective for Treating Residual Depressive Symptoms and Suicidal Ideation

NIMH-supported researchers have found an online mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy—called Mindful Mood Balance—is effective at reducing residual depressive symptoms and at reducing suicidal ideation in those who experience these symptoms.

Illustrated human head with red spot in the center
New Approach Allows Magnetic Brain Stimulation to Target Deep Brain Structures

TMS can only directly stimulate the outermost layer of the brain, but NIMH researchers have found that mapping a person’s brain architecture may make it possible to guide TMS to deep brain targets.

Enhanced photo of researchers standing and wearing virtual reality headsets to plan DBS implantation.
Personalizing Deep Brain Stimulation for Treatment-Resistant Depression

A recent NIMH-supported study investigated whether deep brain stimulation could be personalized for individuals with treatment-resistant depression.

Photo of a pair of woman’s hands holding another woman’s hand on a table.
Assessing Suicide Risk Among Childbearing Women in the U.S. Before and After Giving Birth

NIMH-supported researchers investigated suicide risk among women in the year before and year after giving birth.

National Institute of Mental Health
NIMH Addresses Critical Need for Rapid-Acting Interventions for Severe Suicide Risk

NIMH is working to meet the urgent need for rapid-acting suicide prevention interventions by supporting research investigating the feasibility and safety of treatment protocols that have the potential to quickly reduce severe suicide risk in youth and adults.

Illustration of DNA double helix
Gene Readouts Contribute To Distinctness of Mental Disorders

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.

Using Mobile Technology to Improve Care for Teens with Depression
Using Mobile Technology to Improve Care for Teens with Depression

In a project funded by the NIMH Small Business Technology Transfer program, researchers are investigating whether mobile technology can be used to create a passive monitoring system that can predict teens’ depressive symptoms and improve the quality of their care.

Dr. Carlos Zarate
NIMH’s Carlos Zarate Jr., M.D., Elected to National Academy of Medicine

Carlos Zarate Jr., M.D., chief of the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch within the NIMH Intramural Research Program, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

Black silhouette of a toddler, teen, and adult placed against a yellow and blue background.
Infant Temperament Predicts Personality More Than 20 Years Later

Researchers investigating how temperament shapes adult life-course outcomes have found that behavioral inhibition in infancy predicts a reserved, introverted personality at age 26 and for some, a risk of internalizing psychopathology such as anxiety and depression.

This is an image of neuronal receptors.
Fast-Fail Trial Shows New Approach to Identifying Brain Targets for Clinical Treatments

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.

Combined Electroconvulsive Therapy and Venlafaxine a Well-Tolerated Depression Treatment for Older Adults
Combined Electroconvulsive Therapy and Venlafaxine a Well-Tolerated Depression Treatment for Older Adults

The use of right unilateral ultrabrief pulse (RUL-UB) electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in combination with the antidepressant venlafaxine to treat depression in elderly patients is well tolerated and results in minimal neurocognitive side effects, according to a new NIH-funded study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Developing Rapid, Accurate Assessment of Mental Disorders, Suicide Risk in Youth
Developing Rapid, Accurate Assessment of Mental Disorders, Suicide Risk in Youth

For many adults who have a mental disorder, symptoms were present—but often not recognized or addressed—in childhood and adolescence. Early treatment can help prevent more severe, lasting impairment or disability as a child grows up.

illustration of a human head with braiwaves superimposed at the top
Neural Signature Identifies People Likely to Respond to Antidepressant Medication

NIH-funded research uses machine learning algorithm to predict individual response to a commonly-prescribed antidepressant.

doctor standing by IV pole
Side Effects Mild, Brief with Single Antidepressant Dose of Intravenous Ketamine

A single, low-dose ketamine infusion was relatively free of side effects for patients with treatment-resistant depression.

Image showing a sagittal view of a human brain with the hippocampus and amygdala marked
Study Reveals Sex-Based Differences in the Development of Brain Hubs Involved in Memory and Emotion

Researchers have uncovered sex-based differences in the development of the hippocampus and amygdala—brain areas that have been implicated in the biology of several mental disorders that impact males and females differently.

ALACRITY - Progress, Promising Practices, and Future Prospects - Center Directors' Meeting - July 16-17, 1029, Bethesda, MD
Mental Health Research Centers Forge Collaborations – with ALACRITY

Mental health research center directors emerged from a recent meeting with a renewed commitment to help each other achieve their common mission – to transform care of children, adolescents and adults with severe psychiatric disorders.

photo of teen girl propped on elbows, looking at a phone
Release of “13 Reasons Why” Associated with Increase in Youth Suicide Rates

A study conducted by researchers at several universities, hospitals, and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that the Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” was associated with a 28.9% increase in suicide rates among U.S. youth ages 10-17 in the month (April 2017) following the shows release, after accounting for ongoing trends in suicide rates.

Speaking Up About Mental Health essay contest poster
Nationwide Essay Contest Challenges High Schoolers to be Frank About Mental Health

The National Institutes of Health invites students ages 16 to 18 years old to participate in the “Speaking Up About Mental Health!” essay contest to explore ways to address the stigma and social barriers that adolescents from racial and ethnic minority populations may face when seeking mental health treatment.

Images of dendritic spine remodeling. Images taken at baseline, after exposure to a stressor (Chronic CORT), and after a single dose of ketamine. Credit: Reprinted with permission from Conor Liston, Science (2019)
Ketamine Reverses Neural Changes Underlying Depression-Related Behaviors in Mice

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.

mom holding baby with pacifier
Bench-to-Bedside: NIMH Research Leading to Brexanolone, First-Ever Drug Specifically for Postpartum Depression

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.

Image showing differences in fMRI activation between children with and without anhedonia during reward anticipation.
NIH Study Reveals Differences in Brain Activity in Children with Anhedonia

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.

Preteen girl talks to doctor in hospital
NIH Study Shows Many Preteens Screen Positive for Suicide Risk During ER Visits

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.