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NIMH: Study Probes Environment-Triggered Genetic Changes in Schizophrenia—Life’s Hard Knocks Can Leave Marks That Turn Genes On and Off

The first study of its kind to pinpoint environment-triggered genetic changes in schizophrenia has been launched with $9.8 million in funding from NIMH. The five-site study seeks telltale marks in the genome that hold clues to how nurture interacts with nature to produce the illness. These "epigenetic" changes that occur with aging and other environmental influences regulate the turning on and off of the genes we inherit, with pivotal consequences for health. Thus, if one identical twin develops schizophrenia, the other twin is similarly affected in only about half of cases, despite the fact that they share the same genes and the illness is estimated to be 80 to 90 percent heritable. Evidence suggests that epigenetic differences may account for the discrepancy.

Science Update: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2008/study-probes-environment-triggered-genetic-changes-in-schizophrenia.shtml

 

NIDA Releases a New Research Report on Comorbidity of Addiction and other Mental Illnesses

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) released a research report, Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Illnesses, summarizing the state of the science regarding the complex relationship between substance abuse and other mental disorders.

Press Release: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/jan2009/nida-06.htm

Report: http://www.drugabuse.gov/researchreports/comorbidity/index.html

 

Drug Abusing Offenders Not Getting Treatment They Need in Criminal Justice System—
Treating Inmates Has Proven Public Health, Safety and Economic Benefits

The vast majority of prisoners who could benefit from drug abuse treatment do not receive it, despite two decades of research that demonstrate its effectiveness, according to researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health. In a report published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, NIDA scientists note that about half of all prisoners (including some sentenced to non-drug-related offenses) are dependent on drugs, yet less than 20 percent of inmates suffering from drug abuse or dependence receive formal treatment.

Press Release: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/jan2009/nida-13.htm

SAMHSA: Nationwide Report Reveals That More Than 1 in Every 10 Adults Experienced Serious Psychological Distress in the Past Year—Report shows that less than half of those with serious psychological distress received mental health services

An estimated 24.3 million people aged 18 years or older experienced serious psychological distress in the past year – and only 44.6 percent of them received any kind of mental health services, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Serious psychological distress is an overall indicator of past-year mental health problems such as anxiety and/or mood disorders. The report also highlights significant differences in the levels of serious psychological distress suffered among various demographic groups, as well as considerable differences in the level of mental health services they received.

Press Release: http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/0901060319.aspx

Report: http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k8/spdtx/spdtx.cfm

 

The November/December issue of SAMHSA News focuses on new parity law.

http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter/default.aspx

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