Director’s Blog NIMH was established nearly 65 years ago to help the nation address the mental health issues of veterans after World War II. Several wars later, we are still committed to helping those who have served, but today the problems are different. At the One Mind for Research meeting last week at UCLA, the differences were clear. Fewer than one percent of Americans have served in Iraq or Afghanistan – 2.7 million men and women over this past decade. Most were under 25, many had never traveled before, and all were volunteers. Over 5,000 died in combat. For many more, war has meant so called “invisible wounds”: the improvement in body armor has protected limbs and lives, but not brains and minds.
Director’s Blog There are so many reasons not to share scientific data – in industry, among academics, and even for some patients. For pharmaceutical companies, data are usually considered proprietary, with sharing limited by intellectual property rules.
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
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.
Director’s Blog In February 2009, a recently inaugurated President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to invest $787 billion to create jobs, spur the economy, and foster transparency in government spending. About $10 billion of these funds were allocated to NIH for spending in 2009 and 2010. After several years of budgets not keeping up with inflation, NIH welcomed these funds as a chance for the biomedical research community to be part of the ARRA mission.
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.
Abstract: Objectives: The aim of this research was to investigate whether a training intervention to enhance collaboration between mental health and primary care professionals improved the detection and management of mental health problems in primary health care in four large cities in Brazil. The training intervention was a multifaceted program over 96 h focused on development of a shared care model.Method: A quasiexperimental study design was undertaken with assessment of performance by nurse and general practitioners (GPs) pre- and postintervention. Rates of recognition of mental health disorders (compared with the General Health Questionnaire) were the primary outcome, while self-reports of patient-centered care, psychosocial interventions and referral were the secondary outcomes.Results: Six to 8 months postintervention, no changes were observed in terms of rate of recognition across the entire sample.
Director’s Blog The last days of this long, hot summer are a good time to catch up on a few of the season’s scientific breakthroughs, which have been coming fast and furious during what has been a down time for many people outside of science. What about this week’s story of an increase in spontaneous mutations in children of older dads? We already knew that children with autism and schizophrenia were more likely to have been conceived by fathers over 40
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
Director’s Blog In recent months, there has been a growing global interest in brain science. The President called attention to the effort to map the human brain in his State of the Union address, the European Union recently announced its largest scientific award (1 billion euros) for the Human Brain Project , and private foundations such as the Allen Brain Institute and the Kavli Foundation have announced new bold efforts to map the brain. 1 At the same time, there has been an unprecedented national conversation about what role mental illness plays in gun violence