Friday, 13 March 2009

Science News: National Institute of Mental Health

Ever wonder where funding for mental health research goes? Or how research evidence informs medicine and practice?

The scientific evidence used in medicine comes from a pool of tens of thousands of published research studies. There are many types of studies, and the design of any given study usually depends on the question that the researchers want answered. Studies can differ considerably in the way they are designed and conducted, and can therefore differ considerably in quality.

Often the scientific community behind mental health research, studies and reports don't get a lot of attention or gratitude, but without them our knowledge of mental health and mental illness would develop pretty slowly.

Evidence-based medicine is extremely important in the treatment of mental illness in general, and is particularly important in the treatment of mental illness in children and adolescents.
Here are some recent examples of research related to adolescents conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health.

(Our group is not affiliated with any of these studies, their results or NIMH)

An NIMH study using brain imaging shows that some anxious and depressed adolescents react differently from adult patients when looking at frightful faces. This difference occurs even though the adolescent and adult patients have the same version of a mood gene. Researchers in the NIMH Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program and colleagues reported these findings online October 31, 2008, in the Journal Biological Psychiatry.

Adolescents with major depression who received cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) after responding to an antidepressant were less likely to experience a relapse or recurrence of symptoms compared to teens who did not receive CBT, according to a small, NIMH-funded pilot study published in the December 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Certain circumstances may predict suicidal thinking or behavior among teens with treatment-resistant major depression who are undergoing second-step treatment, according to an analysis of data from an NIMH-funded study. The study was published online ahead of print February 17, 2009, in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Some teens with treatment-resistant depression are more likely than others to get well during a second treatment attempt of combination therapy, but various factors can hamper their recovery, according to an NIMH-funded study published online ahead of print February 4, 2009, in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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