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Introduction

Psychiatric disorders, including depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, affect millions of people around the world. Without intervention, they can have devastating effects and interfere with daily life. Decades of research led to a variety of therapeutic options for people with psychiatric disorders, but how well they work varies greatly from person to person. Researchers in neuroscience and related disciplines are studying genes and brain areas affected by psychiatric disorders in animals and humans in an effort to develop better therapies alongside more traditional treatments. Recent studies are helping scientists identify factors that increase the risk of developing a psychiatric disorder, including a person’s genetic makeup and exposure to early life stress or brain trauma. Researchers are also finding structural differences in brains of people with some psychiatric disorders. Scientists hope this information will create new paths to treatments that offer faster relief with fewer side effects, and diagnostic tests that identify psychiatric disorders earlier.

Discoveries

Source: Dana Foundation
A series of recent studies now offers preliminary evidence that depression may, indeed, alter aspects of perception.
Source: Dana Foundation
Tom Insel, M.D., National Institute of Mental Health, on an alternate way to look at mental disorders.
Source: Society for Neuroscience
Even though many cases of depression respond well to treatment, not everyone seeks medical help. A recent study found only half of Americans with depression receive any treatment.

Psychiatric Disorders in the News

Source: Scientific American
Date: 13 Aug 2014

Several factors, such as severity of symptoms, family history, substance abuse and a “mixed” depressive and manic state may combine to increase the risk for suicide.

Source: New York Times
Date: 11 Aug 2014
The discovery of a small network of brain cells holds the potential to advance to treatment of eating disorders in people.
Source: New York Times
Date: 21 July 2014

The Broad Institute announced a $650 million donation for psychiatric research from the Stanley Family Foundation — one of the largest private gifts ever for scientific research.

Source: The Washington Post
Date: 2 July 2014
He's beaten Tourette's and the British press. And now he's made World Cup history.

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