post by Bill Gardner
Dr. Thomas Insel, the Director of the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), lists the top 10 advances in the science of mental health in 2011.
1. Complexity: Discovering New Sources of Genetic Variance.
2. Transcriptome: Developing Brains Have Unique Molecular Signatures.
3. Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: Disease in a Dish.
4. De Novo Genetic Variants.
5. Epigenomics: How Experience Alters Behavior.
6. Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health.
7. Precision Medicine.
8. National Database for Autism Research.
9. New Culture of Discovery: Team Science.
10. Public Private Partnerships.
There is fascinating science in this list. But there are no advances in effective treatments for mental illness. And it has been a long time since we have seen such a discovery. I do not think that NIMH has simply ignored important discoveries of new treatments -- I certainly did not hear of any in 2011. Perhaps in 20 years epigenomics (or one of the other 10 advances) will be seen as the foundation of truly effective mental health treatments. However, a list of 10 advances that provide no direct benefits to patients is just sad.
I mean no criticism of NIMH. I have no idea what they should do to get us better treatments faster.
h/t to David Ahern for the pointer to the list.