Considerable progress has been made in understanding how neural circuits contribute to mental processing and psychiatric disorders. This research has highlighted the importance of network dysfunction, particularly changes in the balance between excitatory and inhibitory transmission within and across brain regions that underlie cognition, emotion, and motivation.

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Abstract: Objective: Screening for emotional distress in newly arrived refugees is not a standard practice due to multiple barriers, one being the absence of a valid screening instrument for multiple refugee populations. The Refugee Health Screener-15 (RHS-15) was empirically developed to be a valid, efficient and effective screener for common mental disorders in refugees.Method: Development followed published methods. Two hundred fifty-one refugees from three countries were screened at their public health visit with a pilot instrument, and 190 were administered diagnostic proxy instruments (DPs)

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Director’s Blog In previous posts I have described the crisis of medication development for mental disorders. Medications developed over the past five decades have been prescribed widely but have not been sufficient for reducing the morbidity and mortality of mental disorders. Yet there is diminishing activity in research and development for new medications within either the biotech or pharmaceutical industries

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Abstract: Objective: Depression during pregnancy can negatively affect both maternal and fetal health. The benefits of early detection and treatment for antenatal depression have been emphasized. Therefore, we investigated risk factors for antenatal depression with a focus on emotional support.Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of pregnant women (n=1262) enrolled from the local division of a community mental health center.

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Director’s Blog When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited NIH last November , she spoke of an “AIDS-free generation” and the promise of research to achieve this goal. AIDS is an infectious disease, and not surprisingly, most NIH AIDS research is supported by NIAID. But the AIDS epidemic is driven by behavior, so NIMH has been an important part of the NIH fight against HIV/AIDS for over two decades.

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Director’s Blog In spite of new treatments, more treatments, and more people getting treatment for mental illness, the suicide rate has not decreased in America. The most recent statistics from the CDC report over 36,000 suicides annually, nearly 100 per day in this country. That is twice the rate of homicide and even higher than the number of traffic fatalities—two major causes of death that have, in contrast to suicide, dropped considerably in recent years.

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Importance Genome-wide hypothesis-free discovery methods have identified loci that are associated with heavy smoking in adulthood. Research is needed to understand developmental processes that link newly discovered genetic risks with adult heavy smoking. Objective To test how genetic risks discovered in genome-wide association studies of adult smoking influence the developmental progression of smoking behavior from initiation through conversion to daily smoking, progression to heavy smoking, nicotine dependence, and struggles with cessation

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Director’s Blog There has been a lot of hand wringing recently over the lack of innovation in medication development for mental disorders and the reduced investments from the pharmaceutical industry in the development of psychiatric medications. This may be an era of angst for medication development, but simultaneously there has been a quiet flowering of innovative behavioral treatments. From cognitive therapy developed to reduce repeat suicide attempts, 1  to family-based therapy for those with anorexia nervosa, 2 structured behavioral interventions have been shown to be effective in randomized controlled trials

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Abstract: Objective: Aquagenic pruritus is the development of severe, prickling-like skin discomfort without observable skin lesions that is evoked by contact with water at any temperature.Method: This is a case report of a man presenting with aquagenic pruritus after starting clomipramine treatment for anxiety and depression.Results: The patient’s aquagenic pruritus resolved after discontinuing the clomipramine but reemerged when treatment was restarted.Conclusions: A greater awareness and knowledge about aquagenic pruritus among physicians could help improve the clinical recognition and management of this clinical entity.

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Director’s Blog NIMH just reached a milestone — our first grant was awarded 65 years ago last month. Rather than celebrating, this anniversary has been allowed to pass quietly. With so much progress in genomics and neuroscience, we at NIMH have mostly been trying to keep up

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