FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 1, 2009 WASHINGTON, D.C. - New advances in research on brain disorders offer the promise of more personalized treatment for individuals suffering from mental illnesses, according to scientists addressing the first Domenici Neuroscience Symposium in Washington today. The symposium featured scientists from such leading neurodiagnostic facilities as the Mind Research Network (MRN), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and Harvard University. The researchers presented their enterprising approaches to unlocking the puzzles of schizophrenia and addictive disorders. “We are making significant progress in identifying complex biomarkers for schizophrenia and addiction,” said Dr. Kent Hutchison, MRN Chief Science Officer. “We expect this research to accelerate and translate into clinical applications, and eventually provide personalized medicine for people with mental illness.” MRN presented the Domenici Neuroscience Symposium, held in honor of MRN’s founder, retired U.S. Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico, who established MRN in Albuquerque in 1998. The Senator envisioned a collaborative research effort to advance brain imaging and genetics techniques that could aid diagnoses and treatment of brain disorders. “Today’s symposium brought together MRN, NIMH, NIAAA, and NIDA both as a tribute to the scientific accomplishments inspired by the Senator, and to present new methods for treating and diagnosing mental illness and brain disease,” said MRN President and CEO Dr. John Rasure. Symposium presentations focused on how neuroimaging, genetics, and computer science are speeding discovery about brain disorders. Progress is being made with use of more sophisticated imaging equipment, novel ways to use existing imaging techniques, and less expensive genetic testing. “I believe MRN and the other symposium scientists are going to produce incredible results in my lifetime,” Senator Domenici predicted. “Equally important, I am optimistic and hopeful that more accurate diagnosis and treatment will help erase the stigma millions of people now face because of mental illness.” MRN and NIMH intend to make the Domenici Neuroscience Symposium a yearly conference for researchers and others focused on brain disorders to come together and discuss how to find better outcomes for individuals and families looking for triumph over brain disease and injury. “NIMH is committed to working collaboratively to close the gap between basic biological knowledge and effective mental health care—paving the way for prevention, recovery, and treatment,” said Tom Insel, M.D., Director of the NIMH.
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