‘Nation’s Psychiatrist’ Thomas Insel Takes Stock


The nation’s mental health crisis is “a question of practice, not a question of research,” he said. Good treatments already exist for serious illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, he said, and it’s not the job of scientists at NIMH to provide services.

He said it had nothing to do with what they did. “He wants French food from an Italian restaurant.”

Still, her comments ruffled some feathers at the agency she manages.

The current director of NIMH, Dr. In an interview with Gordon, Dr. He said Insel failed to acknowledge “some of the really great things that were done at NIMH” or “the tremendous work we continue to do in research” during his tenure. short-term effects on mental health care.”

He presented examples of two new treatments developed on the basis of neurobiological research: ketamine treatment-resistant depression and brexanolone for postpartum depression. He said the NIMH also funded studies that led to the treatments used today. a large-scale study determining the effectiveness of comprehensive services for people experiencing the first episode of psychosis.

As for major breakthroughs, he said, they take decades to realize. Dr. Gordon was in graduate school when scientists cloned the gene for Huntington’s disease, and only now, three decades later, has this work led to new, effective treatments. He said it was “bravado” for predicting breakthrough treatments in the short term.

Definitive genetically based treatments for autism, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are “unlikely to disappear in the next five or 10 years,” he said. But the researchers have identified hundreds of genes of interest and are “starting to understand the function of these genes in the context of the brain,” he said, which could provide a pathway to better treatments.

“Could this be the same bullying?” said. “I don’t use dates.”

Dr. As for Insel, he sees himself in a different role now, unlike Al Gore, who has reinvented himself as a truth-teller on climate change after serving as senator and vice president.


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