When the Public Library of Science (PLOS) launched its first open access journal in 2003, it was big news. Although many physics and computer science journals had already been free and open for several years, biomedical research had followed a business model dictated by the publishing industry, with access limited to subscribers. Subscriptions could often cost over $1000/year per journal, and more often than not, way above this figure.

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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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Abstract: Objective: A technical expert panel convened by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Institute of Mental Health was charged with reviewing the state of research on behavioral intervention technologies (BITs) in mental health and identifying the top research priorities. BITs refers to behavioral and psychological interventions that use information and communication technology features to address behavioral and mental health outcomes.Method: This study on the findings of the technical expert panel.Results: Videoconferencing and standard telephone technologies to deliver psychotherapy have been well validated.

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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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Director’s Blog In a few weeks, the American Psychiatric Association will release its new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This volume will tweak several current diagnostic categories, from autism spectrum disorders to mood disorders. While many of these changes have been contentious, the final product involves mostly modest alterations of the previous edition, based on new insights emerging from research since 1990 when DSM-IV was published.

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In the above article, there was an error in the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital Research Fund grant number from which the authors received support. The correct grant number is as follows:

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Director’s Blog In a visit to a mental asylum in 1912 you would have seen many patients with “general paresis.” The word “paresis” is Latin for weakness. General paresis was a form of psychosis with delusions, hallucinations, and memory problems often of rapid onset and thought to be due to a general constitutional weakness. At least that was the explanation until 1913, when general paresis was shown to be caused by syphilitic infection of the brain

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Director’s Blog Autism is always surprising. Earlier today, the CDC released new numbers from their ongoing surveillance of autism prevalence, the Autism and Developmental Disability Monitoring (ADDM) Network . What was once considered a rare disorder is now reported as affecting 1 in 88 children, 1 in 54 boys

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Director’s Blog Meredith, a 15-year-old high school student from San Diego, wrote this year’s breakthrough paper on modeling global epidemics. An 11-year-old boy from upstate New York solved a problem in protein folding using a computer game called Foldit.

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Director’s Blog Last week a short piece in the British medical journal, The Lancet, described an “identity crisis” in psychiatry. In the U.K., the number of medical students choosing psychiatry has dropped more than 50 percent since 2009 and over the past decade the number of psychiatrists has dropped by 26 percent while the number of physicians overall has increased more than 31 percent. Ninety-five percent of posts for junior physicians across all specialties are generally filled; but psychiatry posts, as of last summer, were running more than one third unfilled.

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