National Institute of Mental Health tagged posts

The Future for Depression Is Bright, But We Have to Be Patient

William Z. Potter

William Z. Potter, M.D., Ph.D., Foundation for the National Institutes of Health

Care for Your Mind acknowledges and appreciates the collaboration of the American Brain Coalition and the National Network of Depression Centers in developing this series.

Despite the hurdles that stand in the way of developing new treatments for depression and other mood disorders, I believe we have every reason to be optimistic.

When it comes to science, time is on our side, and the landscape for drug development will look much, much different in 10 to 20 years when we have a better understanding of the brain. But in the meantime, we need to find ways to help the millions of people who are suffering now.

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To Heal Depression, We Have to Learn More About the Brain

William Z. Potter

William Z. Potter, M.D., Ph.D., National Institutes of Health

Care for Your Mind acknowledges and appreciates the collaboration of the American Brain Coalition and the National Network of Depression Centers in developing this series.

With 350 million people worldwide suffering from depression and diagnoses rising steadily since the 1980s, you’d hope scientists would have a thorough understanding of this pervasive condition. Needless to say, we don’t. Not even close.

Despite decades of study, we’re just starting to scratch the surface when it comes to understanding the brain. Its complexity has proved a huge hurdle when it comes to developing effective new treatments for the millions of people dealing with depression.

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Care for Your Mind’s 2013 Best Of List: Mental Health Policy Advancements

It’s that time of year again when the “Best Lists” come out. The mission at CFYM is to facilitate discussion by sharing the views of experts in the community. In that spirit, we are summarizing the “Ten Best” list from the National Institute of Mental Health to create our own “Five Best List.” We want to hear from you. Read the post and tell us what you believe are the best advances in policy and advocacy during 2013.

Mental Health Advocacy Begins with Science

Director Thomas Insel of the National Institute of Mental Health makes the argument that science leads to better policy. We are encouraged that scientific advances shift the conversation towards more self-directed treatment plans. It is the empowerment of treatment ownership that fosters advocacy and ultimately leads to a life of thriving, not just surviving.  We’ve compiled our top five list below, with the corresponding NIMH rank in parenthesis.

5. (10 on the NIMH List):  “Nobel Prize—This year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (and Lasker Award) recognized NIMH grantee Thomas Südhof for his discoveries of how neurotransmitters are released from the pre-synaptic terminal.”

This research includes better understanding on how neurons in the brain communicate. We don’t know where the research will lead, but better knowledge about how molecules translate bio-chemical messages, give us reason to hope for advances in treatment options.

4. (9 on the NIMH List): “Beyond Magic Bullets—Several important new trends emerged this year in non-pharmacological treatments, sometimes from pharmaceutical companies. In April, a Nature commentary that included authors from the pharmaceutical giant GSK described “electroceuticals,” heralding a new era in treatment development focusing on devices to deliver electric signals rather than drugs to alter the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain.”

Many peers have reported successful outcomes with this type treatment. We are encouraged that pharmaceuticals are exploring options outside of strict pharmacology protocols.

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