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by Steven E. Hyman, M.D.
When it comes to funding drug research to treat depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders, the global pharmaceutical industry prefers to invest its research dollars in cancer, metabolism, autoimmunity, and other disease areas. This comes despite the fact that one in five Americans currently take at least one psychiatric drug and that mental disorders are recognized worldwide. The author traces the evolution of psychiatric drug development, the reasons for its retreat, and what needs to change to meet the growing demand. From Cerebrum, our online magazine of ideas.
Amidst an explosion of oxytocin research, neuroscientists express cautious enthusiasm about the hormone's potential applications, but also warn of misperceptions brought on by oversimplified reporting.
Traditionally viewed as a process that needs to be turned off in spinal cord injury, programmed cell death may, in fact, play a critical role in axon regeneration. This Q&A with Aravinthan Samuel, Ph.D., is the latest in a series of interviews with Dana grantees.
The movie Men in Black ends with a sequence where Tommy Lee Jones' character is reported in the popular press to have awakened miraculously after 20 years in a coma. Although clinicians traditionally have scoffed at such reports, such cases do make the news now and again, and raise the question of whether and how that can happen. Recent advances provide some answers, and suggest some treatments that might promote such an outcome. One of our series of Reports on Progress.
The path to disease in the brain may not be the same for all, or even many, of the people diagnosed with such disorders as schizophrenia or autism. And now researchers have found that the same pathways may underlie very different disorders.
Researchers find people who can not anticipate fear because of a rare disease can still experience it in real-time. This suggests a more-complex role for the amygdala and other fear-sensing circuits.
Researchers are starting to explore links between genetic variation and a how a person responds to certain psychiatric therapies. Perhaps someday your doctor will say, "There's an X probablility you'll respond to this therapy."
The "BRAIN" Initiative, described by President Obama last week, aims to accelerate the development and application of technologies to help researchers produce a dynamic picture of the brain that, for the first time, could should how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both time and space.