New research identifies the brain chemicals and circuits involved in mental illnesses like schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety, giving potential new directions to their treatment. In addition, research with children shows that early-life depression and anxiety changes the structure of the developing brain.
The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2011, the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.
One in 17 Americans suffer from a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorder, making it one of the leading causes of disability. Yet science is only beginning to understand the underlying physical causes of these diseases.
New findings show:
"If we can fully understand the roots of mental illness in brain circuitry and systems, we may be able to develop better treatment targets for the millions suffering from these diseases," said press conference moderator Carol Tamminga, MD, of the University of Texas Southwestern, who is an expert on schizophrenia.
This research was supported by national funding agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, as well as private and philanthropic organizations.
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