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and treatment of mental illnesses.

Science News About Depression

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Dynamic Associations Among Motor Activity, Sleep, Energy, and Mood Could Suggest New Focus for Depression Treatment
Dynamic Associations Among Motor Activity, Sleep, Energy, and Mood Could Suggest New Focus for Depression Treatment

A new study looking at interactions among sleep, energy, activity level, and mood suggests that instability in activity and sleep systems could lead to mood changes. The findings suggest new targets for depression treatment.

Photo of young boy sitting on a park bench.
Intervention Shows Promise for Treating Depression in Preschool-Aged Children

Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have shown that a therapy-based treatment for disruptive behavioral disorders can be adapted and used as an effective treatment option for early childhood depression.

NIMH Twitter Chat
NIMH to Host Twitter Chat on Teen Depression

On May 3, 2018, join NIMH for a Twitter chat on teen depression with experts Dr. Argyris Stringaris and Dr. Ken Towbin.

Chart shows correlations of gene expression between mental disorders.
Suspect Molecules Overlap in Autism, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder

Depression, schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder share some of the same patterns of suspect gene expression – molecular signatures.

NIMH Twitter Chat
NIMH Twitter Chat on Seasonal Affective Disorder

On February 20, 2018, join NIMH for a Twitter chat on Seasonal Affective Disorder with expert Dr. Matthew Rudorfer.

zebrafish brain
Brain’s Alertness Circuitry Conserved Through Evolution

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.

depression-linked gene expression in males, females
Depression’s “Transcriptional Signatures” Differ in Men vs. Women

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.

NIMH Research Domain Criteria
Webinar: RDoC - Fear & Anxiety: From Mechanisms to Implementation

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

teens sitting on stairs
Pediatrics-based Brief Therapy Outdoes Referral for Youths with Anxiety and Depression

A streamlined behavioral therapy delivered in a pediatrics practice offered much greater benefit to youth with anxiety and depression than a more standard referral to mental health care with follow-up in a clinical trial comparing the two approaches.

3-D analysis of intact mouse hippocampus
NIMH Grantee Wins One of Science’s Most Coveted Prizes

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.

hippocampus PET scan
Estrogen Alters Memory Circuit Function in Women with Gene Variant

Brain scans reveal that fluctuations in estrogen can trigger atypical functioning in a key brain memory circuit in women with a common version of a gene. Since working memory function is often disturbed in mental disorders, such gene-hormone interactions are suspect mechanisms that may confer risk.