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Science News About Treatments

A Shorter—but Effective—Treatment for PTSD

Science Update

Research supported by the National Institute of Mental Health has shown that a shorter therapy (written exposure therapy) may be just as effective as lengthier first-line treatments for PTSD.

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Therapy Reduces Risk in Suicidal Youth

Science Update

A recent clinical trial of a psychotherapy called dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)—which has been shown to be effective in reducing suicide-related behavior in adults—showed that DBT can also reduce suicide attempts and suicidal behavior in adolescents.

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Delay in HIV Treatment Associated with Brain Atrophy

Science Update

People infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, known as HIV, display reductions in brain volume compared with people who are not infected with HIV, but now an NIMH-funded study has shed light on the course of this deterioration and shows that antiretroviral treatment started in the first few years of infection may stop these brain changes.

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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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Guidelines published for treating PANS/PANDAS

Science Update

An expert panel has published guidelines for treatment of Pediatric Acute Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) and a subset of patients diagnosed with PAN Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infection (PANDAS).

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Imaging Pinpoints Brain Circuits Changed by PTSD Therapy

Science Update

Using brain imaging to track the effects of treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), scientists have identified a brain circuit on which a frequently used and effective psychotherapy (prolonged exposure) acts to quell symptoms. The findings help explain why the neural circuit identified is a promising target for additional treatment development, including brain stimulation therapies.

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Pediatrics-based Brief Therapy Outdoes Referral for Youths with Anxiety and Depression

Science Update

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.

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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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Prescribing Patterns Change Following Direct Marketing Restrictions

Press Release

A study of how policies restricting pharmaceutical promotion to physicians affect medication prescribing found that physicians in academic medical centers (AMCs) prescribed fewer of the promoted drugs, and more non-promoted drugs in the same drug classes, following policy changes to restrict marketing activities at those medical centers.

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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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Sex Hormone–Sensitive Gene Complex Linked to Premenstrual Mood Disorder

Press Release

Researchers have discovered molecular mechanisms that may underlie a woman’s susceptibility to disabling irritability, sadness, and anxiety in the days leading up to her menstrual period.

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Adding Better Mental Health Care to Primary Care

Science Update

Medicare’s new policy supports Collaborative Care and could improve the lives of millions of people with behavioral health conditions.

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Designer Agent Blocks Pain in Mice Without Morphine’s Side Effects

Science Update

Scientists have synthesized a molecule with a unique profile of highly specific pain-relieving properties and demonstrated its efficacy in mice.

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Electroconvulsive Therapy Lifts Depression, Sustains Remission in Older Adults

Science Update

An individualized program of follow-up treatment with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) combined with an antidepressant was effective in preventing relapse in patients 60 years and older who had had a successful initial course of treatment for severe depression.

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Ketamine Lifts Depression via a Byproduct of its Metabolism

Press Release

A chemical byproduct, or metabolite, created as the body breaks down likely holds the secret to its rapid antidepressant action .

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Facebook Q&A on Electroconvulsive Therapy

Science Update

On March 17, 2016, NIMH hosts a Facebook Q&A on electroconvulsive therapy with expert Dr. Sarah Lisanby.

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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.

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Team-based Treatment for First Episode Psychosis Found to be High Value

Press Release

Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis is Cost Effective

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Federal Agencies Partner to Promote Coordinated Services for Patients with First Episode Psychosis

Science Update

On October 16, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced support for a new treatment for first episode psychosis called coordinated specialty care (CSC). This decision means more clinics may be able to offer CSC and it may become more readily available.

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Antipsychotics Use Among Older Adults Increases with Age

Press Release

Researchers find antipsychotic use among older adults increases with age despite known health risks. In 2010, more than 3/4 of seniors receiving an antipsychotic prescription had no documented clinical psychiatric diagnosis during the year. In addition, among those who did have a diagnosed mental disorder and/or dementia, nearly half of the oldest patients had dementia, regardless of FDA warnings that antipsychotics increase mortality in people with dementia.

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Team-based Treatment is Better for First Episode Psychosis

Press Release

New research shows that a team-based, coordinated specialty care treatment plan produces better outcomes than typical community care for people with first episode psychosis. Investigators also found that treatment is most effective for people who receive care soon after psychotic symptoms begin.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Medications for Patients with First Episode Psychosis May Not Meet Guidelines

Press Release

Many patients with first-episode psychosis receive medications that do not meet guidelines. A study finds that almost 40 % of people with first-episode psychosis in community mental health clinics across the country might benefit from medication treatment changes.

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Largest Autism Gene Dragnet Fingers 33 Prime Suspects

Science Update

Many patients with psychosis develop health risks associated with premature death early in the course of their mental illness, researchers have found.

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Rapid Agent Restores Pleasure-seeking Ahead of Other Antidepressant Action

Press Release

A drug being studied as a fast-acting mood-lifter restored pleasure-seeking behavior independent of – and ahead of – its other antidepressant effects.

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Groundbreaking Suicide Study

Science Update

A groundbreaking study will help researchers learn more about treating people with suicidal thoughts. Nearly 20,000 patients will be able to enroll in the trial. One of the treatments being tested was developed with the help of other patients

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Increased Health Risks Linked to First-episode Psychosis

Press Release

Many patients with psychosis develop health risks associated with premature death early in the course of their mental illness, researchers have found.

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NIMH Twitter Chat on Depression and the Development of Novel Medications

Science Update

NIMH Twitter Chat on Depression and the Development of Novel Medications

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For Schizophrenia, Newer Injectables Not Necessarily Better

Science Update

Treatment adherence is a problem among people with schizophrenia, who may not take medications because they don’t perceive its need or benefit, don’t like the side effects, or forget. To combat this issue, long-acting injectable medications are administered every 2-4 weeks. But are the new forms of these drugs better than the old ones?

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