The New Genetics of Autism – Why Environment Matters

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NIMH Director Dr. Thomas Insel discusses how new research may help tie together seemingly disparate findings on genetic and environmental risk factors in ASDs.

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/director/2012/the-new-genetics-of-autism-why-environment-matters.shtml

Mental Health Needs of Out-of-School Adolescents and Young Adults

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An Intervention Conducted in Employment Training Programs: The primary objective of this study was to evaluate changes in depressive symptoms, coping strategies, and receipt of mental health services among low-income African American adolescents and young adults receiving a mental health intervention integrated into an employment training program.

http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2012/11_0163.htm

Pattern Recognition Technology May Help Predict Future Mental Illness in Teens

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A technique combining computer-based pattern recognition and brain imaging data accurately distinguished teens at risk for mental disorders from those with low risk and may someday be useful in predicting risk in individuals, according to an National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded study published February 15, 2012, in the journal PLoS One.

Science News: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2012/pattern-recognition-technology-may-help-predict-future-mental-illness-in-teens.shtml

Spontaneous Gene Glitches Linked to Autism Risk with Older Dads

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Researchers have turned up a new clue to the workings of a possible environmental factor in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs): fathers were four times more likely than mothers to transmit tiny, spontaneous mutations to their children with the disorders. Moreover, the number of such transmitted genetic glitches increased with paternal age. The discovery may help to explain earlier evidence linking autism risk to older fathers. The results are among several from a trio of new studies, supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), finding that such sequence changes in parts of genes that code for proteins play a significant role in ASDs. One of the studies determined that having such glitches boosts a child’s risk of developing autism five to 20 fold.

Press release: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2012/spontaneous-gene-glitches-linked-to-autism-risk-with-older-dads.shtml

Nicotine Dependence Linked to Higher Rates of Mental Disorders Among Teens

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This National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded study found that teens who reported more symptoms of nicotine dependence in a recent study had higher prevalence of mood, anxiety, and disruptive (attention deficit hyperactivity, conduct, oppositional defiant) disorders. Researchers attributed the correlations mainly to psychiatric problems increasing the risk of nicotine dependence, although nicotine dependence heightened the risk of one psychiatric diagnosis, oppositional defiant disorder.

http://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2012/03/nicotine-dependence-linked-to-higher-rates-mental-disorders-among-teens

Pattern Recognition Technology May Help Predict Future Mental Illness in Teens

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A technique combining computer-based pattern recognition and brain imaging data accurately distinguished teens at risk for mental disorders from those with low risk and may someday be useful in predicting risk in individuals, according to an National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded study published February 15, 2012, in the journal PLoS One.

Science News: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2012/pattern-recognition-technology-may-help-predict-future-mental-illness-in-teens.shtml

Genetics Research on Schizophrenia Offers New Possibilities

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Recent work done by a group of Hopkins researchers has shed new light on the factors contributing to the development of schizophrenia in individuals.

The findings, published in Cell, highlight the connections between schizophrenia and the combination of both genetic and environmental risk factors that can increase the chances of developing this disorder.

According to the study, a newborn can either carry defects in schizophrenia-risk genes or be subjected to environmental stress soon after birth, but still have the same chances to grow and develop normally as do a newborn without such difficulties. However, when defective genes and stress both occur together, the chances of schizophrenia development rise by nearly 140 percent.

by Erick Sun

John Hopkins News-Letter

http://www.jhunewsletter.com/science-technology/genetics-research-on-schizophrenia-offers-new-possibilities-1.2848480#.T5X4brNYuVo

Parity Law Author Condemns Implementation Delay

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Regulatory action needed to implement the federal mental health care parity law has stalled, which has led to “uncertainty and confusion for employers over what they must cover and when parity applies,” stated the law’s frustrated coauthor in an op-ed column in the Washington Post on April 13.

Psychiatric News

http://alert.psychiatricnews.org/2012/04/parity-law-author-condemns.html?

Veterans Affairs Department Will Increase Mental Health Staffing by Nearly 10%

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The Department of Veterans Affairs will announce on Thursday that it plans to hire about 1,600 additional psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other mental health clinicians in an effort to reduce long wait times for services at many veterans medical centers.

The hiring, which would be augmented by the addition of 300 clerical workers, would increase the department’s mental health staff by nearly 10 percent at a time when the veterans health system is being overwhelmed not just by veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, but also by aging veterans from the Vietnam era……

by James Dao at the New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/us/veterans-affairs-dept-to-increase-mental-health-staffing.html?_r=1

 

New Programs to Improve the Quality of Care in Psychiatric Emergency

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that 11 States and the District of Columbia will participate in the Medicaid Emergency Psychiatric Demonstration, established under the Affordable Care Act, to test whether Medicaid beneficiaries who are experiencing a psychiatric emergency get more immediate, appropriate care when institutions for mental diseases receive Medicaid reimbursement.

http://www.cms.gov/apps/media/press/release.asp?Counter=4300&intNumPerPage=10&checkDate=&checkKey=&srchType=1&numDays=3500&srchOpt=0&srchData=&keywordType=All&chkNewsType=1%2C+2%2C+3%2C+4%2C+5&intPage=&showAll=&pYear=&year=&desc=false&cboOrder=date