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Many Reasons for Hope: Rapid – and Long Lasting – Treatments for Children and Adults in Development
“As we understand the way in which the brain goes awry, we can be very hopeful that we’re going to discover new ways to treat brain diseases and understand them.”
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Scientific Council member, Daniel S. Pine, MD is making groundbreaking discoveries into the causes of mental illness in children and ultimately bringing scientists closer to finding better treatments, preventative measures, and cures. Dr. Pine is Chief of both the Section on Development and Affective Neuroscience and the Emotion and Development Branch in the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Intramural Research Program. For the past decade, Dr. Pine has been studying the pathophysiology (physical effects on the body) of anxiety disorders particularly in children but also in adults.
“What gives me the most excitement is getting answers to my questions knowing that those answers might someday make a life for a child even a little bit easier.”
The results of his studies are leading to biological and pharmacological solutions including new treatments for mental illnesses. This past October, Dr. Pine was awarded the Ruane Prize for Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Research by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation for his outstanding achievements in this field.
“We have broken the sound barrier where it is clear now that we can develop treatments that work very rapidly within hours as opposed to having to sit for years and several decades, we only have to wait weeks or months.”
Carlos A. Zarate, M.D., a NARSAD Independent Investigator Grantee (2005), has pioneered revolutionary studies that have led to novel treatments for mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder that begin working much faster than previous options. Dr. Zarate is Chief of Experimental Therapeutics of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at George Washington University. With a strong focus on the pathophysiology of severe mental illnesses, his goal is to develop better treatments particularly for patients living with depression, bipolar disorder and/or other mood disorders. His research into a drug called Ketamine has resulted in rapid-acting treatments that work within hours and last 3-5 days or more. Because of the speed at which this drug reacts within the body and the duration of its effects, it is possible that emergency room doctors may have a possible treatment for those suffering from depression and acute suicidality.
“For me it’s an exciting time to be a researcher. We didn’t have much of these technologies even a decade ago and now we have all these options and possibilities. And that will definitely, and it has, led to an increased understanding of what are the causes of the illness, maybe what are potentially promising targets to develop better treatments. These things we didn’t have in recent past.”
Dr. Zarate was recognized for this discovery and his career of work at the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation National Awards Dinner in New York City in October. He was awarded the Prize for Bipolar Mood Disorders Research for his outstanding achievements.