New Report Details Impact of the Affordable Care Act

Millions of Americans have gained coverage, and millions more have had their coverage substantially improved

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released an extensive compilation of national and state-level data illustrating the substantial improvements in health care for all Americans in the last six years. The uninsured rate has fallen to the lowest level on record, and 20 million Americans have gained coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But beyond those people who would otherwise be uninsured, millions of Americans with employer, Medicaid, Medicare, or individual market coverage have benefited from new protections as a result of the law.

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Help for people with Schizophrenia and Related Disorders

Now it is easy to record details and specifics about symptoms, medication, moods, and more. Choose what you want to track, and see all the information you need to help you or your loved one who is living with schizophrenia and related disorders. Get the Schizophrenia Health Storylines™ Mobile App Today! The mobile app is FREE for all users on iOS and Android devices. There is also a web version available, accessible through the browser of any desktop computer or mobile device.

What are you doing for your self­care today? With your feedback, Schizophrenia Health Storylines introduces two new health tools to help you track your self­care and physical activities. Self­care goes beyond the pill and we want to make sure your tools reflect that. With the new and improved tools, you will be able to:

 

  • Reflect holistically on your self­care activities with the Self­Care Reflection Tool
  • Track the intensity of your physical activity with the Physical Activity Tracker

The All of Us Research Program Seeks Feedback from the Community

The All of Us Research Program will create a community of one million or more people from across the U.S. to improve the future of health. Those who join the program will contribute their health, environment, and lifestyle information over an extended period of time. By gathering information from such a large group of people, researchers will be able to learn how specific factors impact an individual’s health, and disease prevention and treatment. This approach to tailoring health care for each unique individual is called, “precision medicine.” The research program developers want to hear from everyone about their thoughts and ideas for how to make All of Us a success. Ideas on topics such as participant engagement and communications, health information data security, and the type of data to be collected are welcome from researchers, health care providers, patients, or anyone who wants to contribute to greater knowledge.

For online form, click here.

NIMH Director’s Message: The Push for Suicide Prevention, By Joshua Gordon

I wrote in my welcome message about my priorities. First, we need to fund excellent science. Second, we should support studies that will yield benefits on short, medium, and long­term timescales. I also have three particular areas of interest: neural circuits, computational and theoretical psychiatry, and suicide prevention. Here I will discuss possible approaches to suicide prevention, representing an area of research with the potential to yield benefits in the short­term.

READ MORE NIMH » The Push for Suicide Prevention

 

SAMHSA provides up to $121 million for adult mental health and substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded up to a total of $121 million over the next five years for mental health and substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery. These SAMHSA grants are geared toward expanding and enhancing behavioral health care services for adults across the nation. “This funding will help fulfill SAMHSA’s commitment to reduce the impact of substance use and mental health disorders on America’s communities,” said SAMHSA Principal Deputy Administrator Kana Enomoto. “It will provide services to a number of vulnerable groups including people with HIV/AIDS and the homeless, among others.”

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Childhood brain injury linked to adult psychiatric illness, earlier death

Young people who sustain a traumatic brain injury before the age of 25 may be more likely experience a psychiatric illness and die earlier than those who have not had such an injury, according to an analysis funded by the National Institutes of Health. The researchers also found that those who had a head injury may complete fewer years of school and are more likely receive a disability pension.

Read more Childhood brain injury linked to adult psychiatric illness, earlier deat…

Family member engagement with early psychosis specialty care

BACKGROUND: Family members of individuals with early psychosis (EP) play critical roles in their engagement with EP services, but family member experiences of those roles are insufficiently understood.

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The RAISE Connection Program: Psychopharmacological Treatment of People With a First Episode of Schizophrenia. Abstract

OBJECTIVE: This study examined the adherence of psychiatrists to the Schedule of Recommended First and Second Line Antipsychotic Medications (“Antipsychotic Schedule”), which was implemented in two Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) Connection Program Implementation and Evaluation Study clinics.

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Worldwide Study Seeks to Unlock the Brain’s Genetic Code; Data scientists discover seven genetic variants linked to intracranial volume, Parkinson’s disease risk, and cognitive ability

Scientists collaborating across 250 institutions in 35 countries have identified variations of the genetic code that are associated with intracranial volume, which is a reflection of the maximum brain volume an individual achieves over a lifetime. These variations were also found to be associated with a person’s individual risk for Parkinson’s disease and to cognitive ability. The findings provide new avenues of research that may lead to an enhanced understanding of how differences in our genetic code can predispose individuals to brain disorders.

The findings were the result of the collective analysis of MRI brain scans and DNA from over 32,000 people worldwide. The researchers published their work in the October 3, 2016 issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience .

“The magnitude of this study is truly remarkable,” said Vinay Pai, Ph.D., director of the Division of Health Informatics Technologies at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). “If you want to discover genes that affect the brain, the only way we know how to do that is by analyzing tens of thousands of brain scans and their corresponding genetic data. But, that requires bringing together hundreds of researchers and their biomedical datasets, all of whom may have a different way of looking at the data. In this study, we are seeing the fruits of NIH investments in data science, which have helped to ensure that all the researchers were analyzing the data in the same way and with the same degree of scientific rigor. This is a study that simply could not have been conducted five years ago because no system existed to enable collaboration on this scale.”

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Molecular Tool Parses Social Fear Circuit Intertwined with Aggression Hub

In its debut performance, a powerful new genetic engineering tool has revealed secrets of functionally distinct brain circuits for social fear and aggression in mice. This, even though these sets of neurons seem hopelessly intertwined. The tool, called CANE (Capturing Activated Neuronal Ensembles), helps trace distinct pathways embedded within the brain’s spaghetti-like wiring.

NIMH grantee Fan Wang, Ph.D. , of Duke University, and colleagues, reported on their discovery November 23, 2016 in the journal Neuron.

“CANE promises to be widely adopted, in part, because it uses readily available ‘on-the-shelf’ methods that many neuroscientists are already familiar with,” explained Michelle Freund, Ph.D., of the NIMH Office of Technology Development and Coordination, which funds the project.

CANE provides a window into the cause-and-effect relationship between specific behaviors and brain circuitry. It combines genetically-engineered mice and viruses with optogenetics – which permits specific circuits to be experimentally switched on-and-off by pulses of light. The viruses infect neurons with telltale tracers that visualize circuits when activated by specific behaviors, enabling precise timing and targeting.

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