Brain is Not Fully Mature Until 30s and 40s

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Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a neuroscientist with the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, said until around a decade ago many scientists had “pretty much assumed that the human brain stopped developing in early childhood,” but recent research has found that many regions of the brain continue to develop for a long time afterwards.

The prefrontal cortex is the region at the front of the brain just behind the forehead, and is an area of the brain that undergoes the longest period of development. It is an important area of the brain for high cognitive functions such as planning and decision-making, and it is also a key area for social behavior, social awareness, for empathy and understanding and interacting with other people, and various personality traits. Prof. Blakemore said the prefrontal cortex “is the part of the brain that makes us human,” since there is such a strong link between this area of the brain and a person’s personality.

Prof. Blakemore said brain scans show the prefrontal cortex continues to change shape as people reach their 30s and up to their late 40s. She said the region begins to change in early childhood and then is reorganized in late adolescence but continues to change after that.

The research could explain why adults sometimes act like teenagers, sulking or having tantrums if they do not get their own way, and why some people remain socially uncomfortable until they are well out of their teens.

In earlier research
Professor Blakemore studied the brains of teenagers in detail, as reported in PhysOrg.

Reported by by Lin Edwards
PhysOrg.com
http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-brain-fully-mature-30s-40s.html#

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

Transgenic Mouse Offers a Window on Gene/Environment Interplay: Prenatal Infection Alters Behavior in Genetically Vulnerable

Experiments in transgenic mice have provided a novel glimpse of how a prenatal infection could interact with a specific gene variant to cause behavioral and neurologic changes in adults that mirror those seen in major psychiatric disease. The mouse model used offers a means to explore gene/environment interactions and to identify both the mechanisms involved and critical periods of vulnerability.

Background
Research has established that the risk of developing a psychiatric illness and the features of the illness are the outcome of interactions between the environment and genes. Understanding the details of these interactions is a complex task, however. Many genes shape brain development and function, and gene function is in turn influenced by myriad environmental factors unfolding across a lifespan.

Genetic technology has made it possible to create model animals that carry risk genes, providing a way to focus on how single genes or mutations shape function and how specific environmental factors alter it.

This Study
Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore led by Mikhail Pletnikov developed the mouse model used in this study by inserting a gene with a mutation known to be associated in humans with schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder. They used a technique that allows them to turn the gene on and off at desired time points during brain development. In earlier research, mice with the gene, mhDISC1 (mutant human disrupted-in-schizophrenia-1) showed effects on social behavior and mood which differed depending on the sex of the mice, and the age at which the gene was active…….

NIMH Press Office

Reference: Abazyan, B., Nomura, J., Kannan, G., Ishizuka, K., Tamashiro, K.L., Nucifora, F., Pogorelov, V., Ladenheim, B., Yang, C., Krasnova, I.N., Cadet, J.L., Pardo, C., Mori, S., Kamiya, A., Vogel, M.W., Sawa, A., Ross, C.A., and Pletnikov, M.V. Prenatal interaction of mutant DISC1 and immune activation produces adult psychopathology. Biological Psychiatry 2010;68:1172-1181.

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2010/transgenic-mouse-offers-a-window-on-gene-environment-interplay-prenatal-infection-alters-behavior-in-genetically-vulnerable.shtml

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

Upcoming Open Policy Day of the National Advisory Mental Health

You are cordially invited to attend the Friday, January 14, 2011 Open Policy
Session of the National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC). This policy
session is an excellent opportunity for the mental health research and
advocacy communities to become informed about current programs and
priorities of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

The upcoming Council Session will be held in Building 31C, 6th floor
conference center, conference room 6,
on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus, located at 9000 Rockville
Pike, Bethesda, Maryland.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 am and conclude by 12:30 p.m.

The agenda will include Dr. Thomas Insel’s report on important activities at
NIMH as well as the biennial report on inclusion in NIMH research. The
agenda also includes a discussion of several potential research initiatives
as well as a presentation by Dr. Karl Deisseroth on the topic of
optogenetics.

Time for public comments is currently scheduled for 12:15 pm, although the
time could change. We recommend that you check the Website for details
concerning the agenda, available soon at
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/NAMHC.

If you plan to attend, please register by noon, Wednesday, January 12 at
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/forms/namhcreg.jsp

Please be advised that NIH has instituted strict security procedures.
Security screening takes place at the campus perimeter and visitor passes
are issued at the NIH Gateway Center. Please consult the security alert Web
site at http://www.nih.gov/about/visitorsecurity.htm.

We look forward to the upcoming Council session and hope that you will be
able to join us.

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

Announcing New NIMH Statistics Resource

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is pleased to announce the
launch of its new statistics section on the web: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics.

This resource represents the best mental health research information from
across the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal
departments, and places it all within an easy-to-navigate format. It is a
vast expansion from NIMH’s previous statistics pages and includes
information on the prevalence of mental disorders and treatment, mental
health-related disability, suicide, and the economic costs associated with
mental illness.

This new section is very much a living resource. It will continue to be
updated regularly as new mental health data from across the federal
government are reported and its format will continue to evolve in order to
ensure the most straightforward usability and clearest presentation of
information. We encourage you to explore this resource, to share it with
your affiliates and members, and to provide us with feedback about what
works and what else might be included or changed. Your thoughts and
feedback may be sent to NIMHstatistics@nih.gov.

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

National Task Forces Take Lead to Prevent Suicides in America

WASHINGTON, D.C. November 19, 2010—The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance), a public-private partnership created in September to address the preventable public health tragedy of suicide, announced today the creation of its first three task forces. The respective task forces will identify and develop systems and strategies to improve data collection and surveillance of suicidal behaviors in the United States, prioritize research on suicide prevention, and update the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP) (http://www.actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org/).

ActionAllianceTaskForceAnnouncement

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

WANTED: A FEW GOOD ASSAYS

There has been much concern over the fate of medication development for mental disorders. Some have complained that there are no truly novel medications coming from the pharmaceutical companies in the past three decades. Others have worried that the recent departure of pharmaceutical companies from psychiatric medication development presages a long draught with no new medical treatments likely. Meanwhile results from the large NIMH-funded comparative effectiveness trials, like CATIE and STAR*D, remind us of the need for a new generation of medications. At NIMH, we have been discussing how we might catalyze the next generation of drug discovery and development. One way, we believe, is by creating assays to probe new molecular targets relevant to mental disorders and to screen for new medications. Judging from recent progress, this approach looks hopeful………

Thomas R. Insel, M.D.
NIMH Director
NIMH DIRECTOR BLOG
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/director/index.shtml#p118147


Disclaimer
: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

Fish Oil to Fend Off Psychosis: New Evidence

Mental healthcare providers continue to struggle with an inadequacy of treatment options for the most serious psychiatric illnesses, including schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders. Although diverse psychosocial treatments (eg, assertive community treatment, cognitive-behavioral therapy, cognitive remediation, family interventions, integrated substance abuse treatment, psychoeducation, social skills training, supported employment) are clearly beneficial in key outcome domains, diverse symptoms, and disabling psychosocial impairment continue to stand in the way of adequate remission and recovery for many affected individuals. While the armamentarium of antipsychotic agents is expanding, pharmacologic treatments for symptom clusters outside of the positive symptom domain (eg, negative symptoms, disorganization or formal thought disorder, neurocognitive deficits) remain largely elusive. Given the need for more effective treatments, the potential for symptom amelioration through dietary modification or dietary supplements represents an enticing possible treatment modality.

Along these lines, recent years have witnessed a growing interest in the possibility that polyunsaturated fatty acids, some of which feature prominently in fish oils, may be beneficial for psychiatric disorders……

Reported by Michael T. Compton, MD, MPH
Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/731049

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

The Potential Role of Appetite in Predicting Weight Changes During Treatment with Olanzapine

Background: Clinically significant weight gain has been reported during treatment with atypical antipsychotics. It has been suggested that weight changes in patients treated with olanzapine may be associated with increased appetite.
Methods: Data were used from adult patients for whom both appetite and weight data were available from 4 prospective, 12- to 24-week clinical trials. Patients’ appetites were assessed with Eating Behavior Assessment (EBA, Study 1), Platypus Appetite Rating Scale (PARS, Study 2), Eating Inventory (EI, Study 3), Food Craving Inventory (FCI, Study 3), and Eating Attitude Scale (EAS, Study 4).
Results: In Studies 1 (EBA) and 4 (EAS), patients who reported overall score increases on appetite scales, indicating an increase in appetite, experienced the greatest overall weight gains. However, in Studies 2 (PARS) and 3 (EI, FCI), patients who reported overall score increases on appetite scales did not experience greater weight changes than patients not reporting score increases. Early weight changes (2–4 weeks) were more positively correlated with overall weight changes than early or overall score changes on any utilized appetite assessment scale. No additional information was gained by adding early appetite change to early weight change in correlation to overall weight change.
Conclusions: Early weight changes may be a more useful predictor for long-term weight changes than early score changes on appetite assessment scales.

Reported by Michael Case; Tamas Treuer; Jamie Karagianis; Vicki Poole Hoffmann
BMC Psychiatry
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/730428

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

Which Antipsychotics are Metabolically Safest?

This study examined the potential association between prescriptions of antipsychotics and antidiabetic medications. All people who purchased antipsychotics in Denmark during 1996 to 2005 were included (N = 345,937) and compared with a random sample of about 30% of the total Danish population (N = 1,426,488). Among the total population, incident diabetes subsequently developed in 50,379 individuals. Compared with unexposed individuals, treatment with first- (relative ratio [RR], 1.53; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.49-1.56) as well as second-generation (RR, 1.32; 95% CI 1.22-1.42) antipsychotics was associated with increased risk for subsequent incident diabetes. The rate of incident diabetes varied substantially between individual second-generation antipsychotic drugs (olanzapine, risperidone, clozapine compared with unexposed individuals: low-to-moderate RR between 1.17 and 1.57; ziprasidone and sertindole: 2 or more times increased rate ratio; amisulpride, quetiapine, and aripiprazole: no significantly increased RR). For both first- and second-generation antipsychotics, the incidence of diabetes increased with the number of prescriptions. Additionally, the incidence of diabetes increased with the number of combined antipsychotic drugs….

Reported by Leslie Citrome, MD, MPH
Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/733130

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

SAMHSA AWARDS UP TO $14.4 MILLION TO SUPPORT PEOPLE IN RECOVERY FROM SUBSTANCE ABUSE ADDICTION

SAMHSA is announcing up to $14.4 million in new grants to help people in substance abuse treatment programs. The new grants are designed to bring together community resources such as housing, employment programs, transportation and treatment services, and create recovery oriented systems that support people working to attain and sustain recovery.

http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/1011224650.aspx

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.