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Brain Development May Explain Different Rates of Mental Health Conditions in Adolescence

Oct 02 2019
The amygdala and the hippocampus — structures in the brain that are involved in emotion, learning and memory — play a role in many of mental health conditions. To learn more about how the amygdala and the hippocampus develop in early life, researchers analyzed brain scans from over 700 participants. The results indicated significant differences in growth trajectories between males and females, which may help explain why conditions develop at different times and at different rates. To learn more, please visit the NIMH website.

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Initial Study Shows Promise for Biomarker-Based PTSD Screening

Sep 25 2019
An accurate diagnosis is the first step to care and recovery. Diagnosing mental illness can be difficult, however, because symptoms are primarily self-reported. To provide clinicians with an objective screening tool for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), researchers from NYU, Harvard University and the US Army created a biomarker panel that was approximately 80% accurate in identifying PTSD in an initial study. Although the panel requires further testing in a larger population, it is a significant step forward for objective, reliable screening tools for mental health conditions. To learn more, please see the study in JAMA

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Risk of Schizophrenia Depends on Gene Expression Patterns More Than Individual Genes

Sep 23 2019
Genome-wide associate studies show that at least 143 chromosomal sites are involved in the development of schizophrenia. Individually, each site adds only a small fraction of risk — no single gene can explain why schizophrenia is highly inheritable. New research using advanced molecular modelling technology has shown that “expression regulators” can have a much larger impact. Working with specially lab-grown brain cells, researchers have shown that just four genes, when working in tandem, alter the expression of 1,261 others. Understanding this dynamic may help researchers identify which genes are most responsible for risk of schizophrenia. To learn more, please visit the NIMH website.

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