Standard medications for life-threatening psychological illnesses usually require up to six weeks to take effect, while patients often continue to miss work and experience multiple symptoms, the most serious being suicidal ideation (the medical term for suicidal thinking). To provide better treatment results and faster symptom relief, NIH scientists needed to take a completely novel approach. "Over the last five decades, the drug development industry has constantly refined existing products," Zarate says. "But what they've been developing is not better efficacy, but better tolerability." Zarate and his team are pioneering the development and testing of radical new treatments for depressive illnesses, thus, taking the call-to-action from patients and clinicians seriously.
Ketamine - a drug currently approved for the induction of anesthesia - opened a door to new possibilities and renewed hope for people living with major depressive disorders. Zarate's experimental research in patients with refractory depression has shown unprecedented responses to ketamine within a single day and sometimes just a couple of hours.
To learn more about NIMH Scientist, Carlos Zarate's pioneering research visit NIH's Intramural Research Program.
WEIGHT LOSS IN PEOPLE WITH SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS
A new study showed that a weight-loss intervention can help overweight and obese people with serious mental illnesses - such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression - lose significant weight and keep it off.
More than 80% of people with serious mental illness are overweight or obese - a major factor that helps lead to a death rate 3 times that of the overall population. Factors that contribute to obesity include unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical activity. Medications to help control mental illness symptoms can increase appetite and encourage weight gain. Adding to these challenges, people with serious mental illnesses may have impairments in memory and mental processes that make it more difficult for them to learn and adopt new weight loss behaviors such as counting calories.
To address the problem, researchers led by Dr. Gail L. Daumit at John Hopkins University tested the effectiveness of an 18-month behavioral weight-loss program tailored for adults with serious mental illnesses. The study was funded by NIH's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Results appeared online on March 21, 2013, in the New England Journal of Medicine.
To learn more about Dr. Daumit's research visit NIH's Resarch Matters.
RESEARCH FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
NIMH has released funding announcements for the Reducing the Duration of Untreated Psychosis in the United States initiative.
This Funding Opportunity Annoucement (FOA) will support R34 grants that (1) identify a baseline rate of Duration of Untreated Psychosis (DUP) in community treatment systems that include evidence-based specialty care programs for First Episode of Psychosis (FEP); (2) map referral pathways to FEP care, (3) identify gaps and bottlenecks in the referral pathway, and (4) develop and pilot test feasible strategies for substantially reducing DUP among persons with FEP.
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) with set-aside funds will support R01 grants that test reproducible strategies for substantially reducing DUP among persons with FEP by removing significant bottlenecks in the pathway to specialty FEP care.
CHILDREN'S EXPERIENCE WITH TRAUMA: MEASURES REVIEW DATABASE
The National Center for Traumatic Stress Network has updated its Measures Review Database, a searchable, web-based resource containing in-depth reviews of assessment instruments used by clinicians and researchers in the field of child trauma.
PATIENTS WITH STROKE OR TRANSIENT ISCHEMIC ATTACK SUFFER HIGH LEVELS OF DEPRESSION AND UNDERTREATMENT WITH ANTIDEPRESSANTS
Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder affecting patients who have suffered a stroke. A new study reveals that patients with stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), a "warning stroke" not usually associated with long-lasting functional deficit, have similar frequency of depression and newly identified depression between 3 and 12 months after hospitalization. The risk of depression after even mild stroke or TIA was higher than the general population with a comparable age distribution. The researchers suggest that systematic evaluation for depression in patients with stroke or TIA may improve detection and treatment of this condition. This study was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
BULLETIN ON CHRONIC CHILD NEGLECT
Children who experienced neglect make up approximately three-quarters of children identified as maltreatment victims, and child welfare cases involving neglect are more likely to recur than cases involving other maltreatment types. While there is no single definition for chronic child neglect, a new bulletin from Administration on Children and Families' (ACF) Child Welfare Information Gateway provides identifiers, examples of neglect, and characteristics and stressors.
MORE RESEARCH ON CHILD MALTREATMENT NEEDED
An urgent need exists to build and improve upon the evidence base for interventions promoting the well-being of maltreated children, according to a new research review from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program. While treatment recommendations are still preliminary, a number of interventions show promising comparative benefit for improving child well-being outcomes. The two approaches that have emerged with relatively strong evidence are: SafeCare, a home-visiting approach involving maltreating parents; and Keeping Foster Parents Trained and Supported, a foster parent training program; however, more methodologically rigorous research is needed to evaluate these and other interventions due to limited evidence.
Behavioral Health Services for People Who Are Homeless. This report equips those who provide services to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and who need or are in substance abuse or mental illness treatment with guidelines to support their care. It discusses prevention and treatment as part of integrated care.
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Learn more about the NIMH Outreach Partnership Program
OUTREACH E-NEWSLETTER: OUTREACH CONNECTION
Sign up to learn how the NIMH is disseminating its research and information across the country through the NIMH Outreach Partnership Program. The Program publishes Outreach Connectionthree times a year to feature how its 55 Outreach Partners are bringing NIMH research to their states and communities.