mental illnesses

The ways of wisdom in schizophrenia

While wisdom is closely linked to improved health and well-being, its role and impact among persons with schizophrenia, possibly the most devastating of mental illnesses, is not known. In a new paper, publishing February 14, 2019 in Schizophrenia Research, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that, on average, persons with schizophrenia (PwS) obtained lower scores on a wisdom assessment than non-psychiatric comparison participants (NPCPs), but that there was considerable variability in…

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New Findings Reveal Surprising Role of the Cerebellum in Reward and Social Behaviors

A new study in rodents has shown that the brain’s cerebellum—known to play a role in motor coordination—also helps control the brain’s reward circuitry. Researchers found a direct neural connection from the cerebellum to the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the brain, which is an area long known to be involved in reward processing and encoding. These findings, published in Science, demonstrate for the first time that the brain’s cerebellum plays a role in controlling reward…

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2,000 Human Brains Yield Clues to How Genes Raise Risk for Mental Illnesses

It’s one thing to detect sites in the genome associated with mental disorders; it’s quite another to discover the biological mechanisms by which these changes in DNA work in the human brain to boost risk. In their first concerted effort to tackle the latter, 15 collaborating research teams of the National Institutes of Health- (NIH-) funded PsychENCODE Consortium leveraged statistical power gained from a large sample of about 2000 postmortem human brains. The teams published their findings…

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Networks of brain activity predict vulnerability to depression

Tapping into the electrical chatter between different regions of the brain may provide a new way to predict and prevent depression, according to new research by Duke University neuroscientists and electrical engineers. The researchers found different networks of electrical brain activity in mice that were more susceptible to developing depression-like symptoms following stressful events than in more resilient mice. If replicated in humans, these results could be the first step toward a test to predict…

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Mental Illnesses by the Numbers

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has launched a redesigned Statistics section on its website that features interactive data visualization tools and sharing capabilities. The section also features improved organization, navigation, and accessibility. The goal: To help people understand the impact of mental illnesses. “There is power in numbers,” said Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., director of NIMH. “Mental illnesses affect tens of millions of people in the United States and across the globe each year.…

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People with mental illness reoffend less if on specialty probation

Each year, some 2 million people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses are arrested for various crimes, inadvertently turning the U.S. correctional system into the nation’s primary provider of inpatient psychiatric care. But an eight-year study led by the University of California, Berkeley, offers a solution. Researchers studied the supervision and outcomes of 359 offenders with mental illness, comparing those who had been placed on traditional probation against those on “specialty mental health…

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Resilience affects whether childhood trauma results in harmful gene response

In a first-ever study to identify how trauma affects gene expression among child soldiers, a Duke researcher and colleagues found resilience to be a key factor in determining individual response at the molecular level. Previous research has shown that chronic exposure to trauma is associated with an increase in pro-inflammatory gene expression and a decrease in antibodies and antiviral responses in immune cells. Those molecular responses have been linked to cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, cancer,…

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