Roundup

Mental Health Awareness

  • Published21 May 2015
  • Reviewed21 May 2015
  • Author Michael W. Richardson
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN
Actress Glenn Close at Neuroscience 2010

The fierce stigma associated with mental illness, including depression, prevents many people from seeking diagnosis and treatment. Learn what is being done and how you can help.

Copyright 2010, Society for Neuroscience. All rights reserved. Photos by Joe Shymanski.
Actress Glenn Close at Neuroscience 2010
A hippocampal pyramidal neuron (red) innervated by GABAergic axons (black) depicted in traditional Chinese watercolor.
Major Depression

Clinical or major depression, with its harrowing feelings of sadness, hopelessness, pessimism, loss of interest in life, and reduced emotional well-being, is one of the most common and debilitating mental disorders.


Peng, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2010.
A hippocampal pyramidal neuron (red) innervated by GABAergic axons (black) depicted in traditional Chinese watercolor.
Distribution of orexin-immunoreactive neurons in a horizontal brain slice from an orexin/Halorhodopsin transgenic mouse.
Bipolar Disorder

People with bipolar disorder, previously known as manic-depressive illness, usually experience episodes of deep depression and manic highs.


Tsunematsu, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2011.
Distribution of orexin-immunoreactive neurons in a horizontal brain slice from an orexin/Halorhodopsin transgenic mouse.
Whole-mount X-gal staining of sensory axons innervating the limbs of an embryonic day 15.5 mouse carrying the LacZ gene driven by the sensory neuron promoter of Brn3a.
Anxiety Disorders: OCD and Phobia

Considered the most common mental illnesses, anxiety disorders affect an estimated 18 percent of the adult population in a given year, or 40 million Americans.


Schoenmann, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2010.
Whole-mount X-gal staining of sensory axons innervating the limbs of an embryonic day 15.5 mouse carrying the LacZ gene driven by the sensory neuron promoter of Brn3a.
GABA neurons are highlighted in red in the cross-section of a mouse brain.
Image of the Week: What A Mouse Brain Can Teach Us About Schizophrenia

Turning off a group of cells in the mouse brain can produce behaviors relevant to schizophrenia.


Nguyen, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2014.
GABA neurons are highlighted in red in the cross-section of a mouse brain.
Left hemisphere BOLD response to invalid mnemonic cueing (e.g., the cue “likely old” presented with an item correctly judged as new).
Schizophrenia

Marked by disturbances in thinking, cognition, emotional reactions, and social behavior, schizophrenia usually results in chronic illness and personality change.


O'Connor, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2010.
Left hemisphere BOLD response to invalid mnemonic cueing (e.g., the cue “likely old” presented with an item correctly judged as new).
Three-dimensional model of the brain showing regions of increased volume in the insula, cerebellar vermis, and substantia nigra in individuals with genetic predisposition for bipolar disorder.
Tourette Syndrome

One of the most common and least understood neurobiological disorders, Tourette syndrome is an inherited disorder that affects about 200,000 Americans. Males are affected three to four times as often as females.


Kempton, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2009.
Three-dimensional model of the brain showing regions of increased volume in the insula, cerebellar vermis, and substantia nigra in individuals with genetic predisposition for bipolar disorder.
Soldier using virtual reality equipment
Fear and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Until now, there have been few treatment options to combat PTSD. However, new basic science and clinical research on the biological basis of fear suggests promising new therapeutic avenues.


Credit: Image courtesy of U.S. Department of Defense, Photo by Senior Airman Renae Kleckner.
Soldier using virtual reality equipment

Mental health disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety may affect more than 18 percent of people. Left untreated, these diseases can destroy lives. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so take some time to learn about the diseases that affect millions of people around the world. To find out more, browse through the images and their descriptions and click on the link in each caption to read the full articles.

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