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NIMH Funds Nine Innovative Projects to Pursue Major Challenges
September 3, 2008 • Science Update
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has awarded nine exceptionally innovative research projects that hold promise for broad and deep impact on medical science. The grants, among the first made through a program called EUREKA (for Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration), enable investigators to test novel hypotheses or pursue major methodological or technical challenges.
NIH Funds Nine Centers to Speed Application of Powerful New Research Approach
September 2, 2008 • Press Release
The funding of a network of nine centers across the country that will use high tech screening methods to identify small molecules for use as probes to investigate the diverse functions of cells was announced today by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The network—funded at approximately $70 million annually over the four-year production phase—is designed to increase the pace of development and use of chemical (small molecule) probes, which have become invaluable tools for exploring biologic processes and for developing new therapies for disease.
Gene Associated with Social Behavior in Animals Has Similar Effects in Human Males
September 2, 2008 • Science Update
A gene variant related to the hormone vasopressin appears to be associated with how human males bond with their partners or wives, according to an NIMH-funded study. This is the first study to suggest that the wealth of information on vole pair-bonding may also apply to humans and may help to inform research on human disorders related to impaired social interactions and communication, such as autism.
Family-Focused Therapy Effective in Treating Depressive Episodes of Bipolar Youth
September 1, 2008 • Science Update
Adolescents with bipolar disorder who received a nine-month course of family-focused therapy (FFT) recovered more quickly from depressive episodes and stayed free of depression for longer periods than a control group.
Childhood Bedwetting Occurred Twice as Often in Adults with Schizophrenia
August 29, 2008 • Science Update
Childhood bedwetting occurred twice as often in adults with schizophrenia than in their unaffected brothers and sisters, according to a new study from researchers at NIMH. Their report appears in the September 2008 issue of the journal Brain.
New Research to Refine Approaches in Psychotherapy
August 29, 2008 • Science Update
NIMH is funding eight new projects designed to evaluate, refine and improve psychotherapy-based treatments.
Serotonin Neurons Critical for Mouse Postpartum Maternal Behavior, Pup Survival
August 29, 2008 • Science Update
Mood disorders, including postpartum depression, have long been treated with antidepressants that enhance the mood-regulating brain chemical messenger serotonin. Now, NIMH-supported researchers have demonstrated in mice – for the first time – that critical postpartum mothering behaviors and offspring survival also depend on proper functioning of serotonin-secreting neurons.
Antipsychotic Does Not Harm—and May Improve—Cognitive Skills in Children with Autism
August 27, 2008 • Science Update
The atypical antipsychotic medication risperidone (Risperdal) does not negatively affect cognitive skills of children with autism, and may lead to improvements.
Largest Study of Its Kind Implicates Gene Abnormalities in Bipolar Disorder
August 18, 2008 • Press Release
The largest genetic analysis of its kind to date for bipolar disorder has implicated machinery involved in the balance of sodium and calcium in brain cells. Researchers supported in part by the National Institute of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health, found an association between the disorder and variation in two genes that make components of channels that manage the flow of the elements into and out of cells, including neurons.
A Night’s Sleep Gives Emotional Memories Their Staying Power
August 14, 2008 • Science Update
For the first time, researchers have found that following a night’s sleep, emotional components of scenes are remembered at the expense of neutral components. In contrast, memories of both emotional and neutral components decayed equally following 12 hours of wakefulness. Sleep also promoted memory for generality over detail, says NIMH grantee Robert Stickgold, Ph.D., of Harvard University, who co-authored the recent study of memory consolidation.
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