National Institute of Mental Health

Bethesda, MD, United States

National Institute of Mental Health

Bethesda, MD, United States
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Gerfen C.R.,National Institute of Mental Health | Surmeier D.J.,Northwestern University
Annual Review of Neuroscience | Year: 2011

The basal ganglia are a chain of subcortical nuclei that facilitate action selection. Two striatal projection systems-so-called direct and indirect pathways-form the functional backbone of the basal ganglia circuit. Twenty years ago, investigators proposed that the striatum's ability to use dopamine (DA) rise and fall to control action selection was due to the segregation of D1 and D2 DA receptors in direct-and indirect-pathway spiny projection neurons. Although this hypothesis sparked a debate, the evidence that has accumulated since then clearly supports this model. Recent advances in the means of marking neural circuits with optical or molecular reporters have revealed a clear-cut dichotomy between these two cell types at the molecular, anatomical, and physiological levels. The contrast provided by these studies has provided new insights into how the striatum responds to fluctuations in DA signaling and how diseases that alter this signaling change striatal function. © 2011 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


Insel T.R.,National Institute of Mental Health | Landis S.C.,U.S. National Institutes of Health
Neuron | Year: 2013

As directors of two NIH institutes supporting neuroscience research, we explore the gap between 25 years of stunning progress in fundamental neuroscience and the persistent needs of those with brain disorders. We conclude that closing this gap will require a more detailed comprehension of brain function, a rethinking of how we approach translational science, a focus on human neurobiology, and a continuing commitment to build a diverse, innovative neuroscience workforce. In contrast to many other areas of medicine, we lack basic knowledge about our organ of interest. The next phase of progress on brain disorders will require a significantly deeper understanding of fundamental neurobiology.


Ernst M.,National Institute of Mental Health
Brain and Cognition | Year: 2014

The triadic neural systems model is a heuristic tool, which was developed with the goal of providing a framework for neuroscience research into motivated behaviors. Unlike dual models that highlight dynamics between approach systems centered on striatal function and control systems centered on prefrontal cortex, the triadic model also includes an avoidance system, centered on amygdala-related circuits. A first application of this model has been to account for adolescent behavior. © 2014.


Bandettini P.A.,National Institute of Mental Health
NeuroImage | Year: 2012

Since its inception over twenty years ago, the field of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has grown in usage, sophistication, range of applications, and impact. After twenty years, it's useful to briefly look back as well as forward - to size up just how far we have come and speculate just how far we may go. This is an introduction to the special issue of "Twenty years of fMRI: the science and the stories." The one-hundred and three papers in this special issue highlight the major methodological developments and controversies of fMRI from a first person perspective over the past twenty years. The growth of this field is not just fascinating from a science and technology perspective, but also from a human perspective. Most who were fortunate enough to be part of this effort at the beginning, as well as those who jumped in along the way have their fair share of interesting stories consisting of top rate science as well as intense thought and effort, good or bad fortune, and some claim to a contribution. These stories are in the following papers, written by the current leaders in the field and the innovators throughout the twenty year history. The categories, designed to cover every aspect of the emergence and development of fMRI, include: pre-fMRI; the first BOLD brain activation results; developments in pulse sequences, imaging methods, and hardware for fMRI; methodological developments, issues, and mechanisms; new paradigm designs; education; and the future. Within this issue, we have a collage of overlapping, complementary, yet sometimes contradictory accounts of what happened during the breathtakingly diverse and intense development of this still growing field over the past twenty years. © 2012 .


Insel T.R.,National Institute of Mental Health
Molecular Psychiatry | Year: 2014

Although inherited DNA sequences have a well-demonstrated role in psychiatric disease risk, for even the most heritable mental disorders, monozygotic twins are discordant at a significant rate. The genetic variation associated with mental disorders has heretofore been based on the search for rare or common variation in blood cells. This search is based on the premise that every somatic cell shares an identical DNA sequence, so that variation found in lymphocytes should reflect variation present in brain cells. Evidence from the study of cancer cells, stem cells and now neurons demonstrate that this premise is false. Somatic mutation is common in human cells and has been implicated in a range of diseases beyond cancer. The exuberant proliferation of cortical precursors during fetal development provides a likely environment for somatic mutation in neuronal and glial lineages. Studies of rare neurodevelopmental disorders, such as hemimegencephaly, demonstrate somatic mutations in affected cortical cells that cannot be detected in unaffected parts of the brain or in peripheral cells. This perspective argues for the need to investigate somatic variation in the brain as an explanation of the discordance in monozygotic twins, a proximate cause of mental disorders in individuals with inherited risk, and a potential guide to novel treatment targets. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.


Cuthbert B.N.,National Institute of Mental Health
Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience | Year: 2015

The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project was initiated by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in early 2009 as the implementation of Goal 1.4 of its just-issued strategic plan. In keeping with the NIMH mission, to "transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research," RDoC was explicitly conceived as a research-related initiative. The statement of the relevant goal in the strategic plan reads: "Develop, for research purposes, new ways of classifying mental disorders based on dimensions of observable behavior and neurobiological measures." Due to the novel approach that RDoC takes to conceptualizing and studying mental disorders, it has received widespread attention, well beyond the borders of the immediate research community. This review discusses the rationale for the experimental framework that RDoC has adopted, and its implications for the nosology of mental disorders in the future. © 2015, AICH - Servier Research Group.


Murray E.A.,National Institute of Mental Health
Current opinion in neurobiology | Year: 2010

Recent research indicates that the orbital prefrontal cortex (PFo) represents stimulus valuations and that the amygdala updates these valuations. An exploration of how PFo and the amygdala interact could improve the understanding of both. PFo and the amygdala function cooperatively when monkeys choose objects associated with recently revalued foods. In other tasks, they function in opposition. PFo uses positive feedback to promote learning in object-reward reversal tasks, and PFo also promotes extinction learning. Amygdala function interferes with both kinds of learning. The amygdala underlies fearful responses to a rubber snake from the first exposure on, but PFo is necessary only after the initial exposure. The amygdala mediates an arousal response in anticipation of rewards, whereas PFo sometimes suppresses such arousal. A role for PFo in advanced cognition, for the amygdala in instinctive behavior, and for cortex-subcortex interactions in prioritizing behaviors provides one account for these findings. (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Insel T.R.,National Institute of Mental Health
Science Translational Medicine | Year: 2012

There has been a steady retreat by the private sector away from developing medications for mental disorders. This retreat comes just as research is identifying new molecular targets, new clinical targets, and new uses of current treatments that may serve as the basis for the next generation of treatments for mental disorders.


Insel T.R.,National Institute of Mental Health
Nature | Year: 2010

How will we view schizophrenia in 2030? Schizophrenia today is a chronic, frequently disabling mental disorder that affects about one per cent of the world's population. After a century of studying schizophrenia, the cause of the disorder remains unknown. Treatments, especially pharmacological treatments, have been in wide use for nearly half a century, yet there is little evidence that these treatments have substantially improved outcomes for most people with schizophrenia. These current unsatisfactory outcomes may change as we approach schizophrenia as a neurodevelopmental disorder with psychosis as a late, potentially preventable stage of the illness. This ĝ€̃ rethinkingĝ€™ of schizophrenia as a neurodevelopmental disorder, which is profoundly different from the way we have seen this illness for the past century, yields new hope for prevention and cure over the next two decades. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


In 2008, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) included in its new Strategic Plan the following aim: "Develop, for research purposes, new ways of classifying mental disorders based on dimensions of observable behavior and neurobiological measures". The implementation of this aim was named the Research Domain Criteria project, or RDoC. RDoC is a programmatic initiative that will fund grants, contracts, early-phase trials, and similar activities for the purpose of generating studies to build a research literature that can inform future versions of psychiatric nosologies based upon neuroscience and behavioral science rather than descriptive phenomenology. RDoC departs markedly from the DSM and ICD processes, in which extensive workgroup meetings generate final and finely-honed sets of diagnoses that are modified in field tests only if problems with clinical utility arise. Rather, in keeping with its provenance as an experimental system, the RDoC provides a framework for conducting research in terms of fundamental circuit-based behavioral dimensions that cut across traditional diagnostic categories. While an important aim of the project is to validate particular dimensions as useful for eventual clinical work, an equally important goal is to provide information and experience about how to conceive and implement such an alternative approach to future diagnostic practices that can harness genetics and neuroscience in the service of more effective treatment and prevention. This paper summarizes the rationale for the RDoC project, its essential features, and potential methods of transitioning from DSM/ICD categories to dimensionally-oriented designs in research studies. Copyright © 2014 World Psychiatric Association.

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