Director’s Blog *Dr. Insel was one of several innovative leaders invited to present at the 2014 National Council for Behavioral Health Conference. Download his presentation: Quest for the Cure: Scientific Breakthroughs in Treating Mental Illness

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Director’s Blog Each year at this time, the Kavli Foundation announces its annual scientific prizes. In contrast to the Nobel Prizes, the Kavli Prizes cover three focal areas of science: astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience. Fred Kavli, who died recently, described these prizes as recognizing those who work on “the biggest, the smallest, and the most complex.” This year’s awards in neuroscience, to Brenda Milner, John O’Keefe, and Marcus Raichle, continue the tradition of recognizing those who embrace complexity.

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It’s time again for the year’s ten best from NIMH. A year that included a 16-day government shutdown and a 5.2 percent sequester also saw some outstanding scientific breakthroughs and historic changes in policy.

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Since September 11, 2001, more than 2.5 million service members have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. In contrast to previous wars, these recent wars have been fought by an all-volunteer force that has experienced multiple deployments. Many of the service members are in reserve or National Guard units

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June 3 marked the first White House Conference on Mental Health in 14 years. President Obama opened the event by describing how many people “suffer in silence” rather than seeking help: Source: WhiteHouse.gov We see it in the veterans who come home from the battlefield with invisible wounds of war, but who feel like seeking treatment is somehow a sign of weakness – when, in fact, it’s a sign of strength. We see it in the parents who would do anything for their kids, but who often fight their mental health battle alone – afraid that reaching out would invite judgment or reflect badly on them.

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A couple of weeks ago, President Obama launched a new open data policy (pdf) for the federal government. Declaring that, “…information is a valuable asset that is multiplied when it is shared, ” the Administration’s new policy empowers federal agencies to promote an environment in which shareable data are maximally and responsibly accessible. The policy supports broad access to government data in order to promote entrepreneurship, innovation, and scientific discovery

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Director’s Blog The physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson once noted, “New directions in science are launched by new tools much more often than by new concepts.” 1 This week marks the publication of a new tool that may alter the way we look at the brain. Karl Deisseroth and his colleagues at Stanford University have developed a method they call CLARITY. Yes, CLARITY is an acronym, for Clear Lipid-exchanged Anatomically Rigid Imaging/immunostaining-compatible Tissue hYdrogel.

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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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Director’s Blog In another week or so, I will have been director of NIMH for ten years. This is longer than any previous director dating back to the inaugural director, Bob Felix, who served from 1949 to1964. In leadership, longevity is not necessarily a virtue but it does guarantee perspective

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Director’s Blog In a wonderful new paper in Science , Jordi Quoidbach, Dan Gilbert, and Tim Wilson describe the “end of history illusion.” 1 This is not about the Mayan calendar or a Y2K syndrome. These scientists studied 19,000 people across six studies to answer a simple question: why do people so often make decisions that their future selves regret? Their results show that people consistently report that they have changed substantially in the past decade and just as consistently predict that they will not change nearly as much in the next decade

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