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Major NIMH research project to test approaches to altering the course of schizophrenia
Date:7/21/2009

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is launching a large-scale research project to explore whether using early and aggressive treatment, individually targeted and integrating a variety of different therapeutic approaches, will reduce the symptoms and prevent the gradual deterioration of functioning that is characteristic of chronic schizophrenia.

The Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) project is being funded by NIMH with additional support from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). RAISE is a model example of how money from the Recovery Act can accelerate science related to public health problems and potentially benefit those citizens most in need.

"This new initiative will help us determine whether intervention that is started early, incorporates diverse treatment and rehabilitation approaches, and is sustained over time, can make it possible for more people with schizophrenia to return successfully to work and school," said NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D. "Moreover, the interventions being tested will be designed from the outset to be readily adopted in real-world health care settings and quickly put into practice."

Despite the availability of moderately effective treatments, such as antipsychotic medications and various psychosocial interventions, people with schizophrenia often do not receive treatment until the disease is already well-established, with recurrent episodes of psychosis, resulting in costly multiple hospitalizations and disabilities that can last for decades. Periods of unemployment, homelessness, and incarceration are common, making schizophrenia a costly disease for individuals, their families, and the community at large.

RAISE will test approaches that involve intervening immediately upon first diagnosis, systematically incorporating the range of options that are now available in a more piecemeal fashion to people with schizophrenia. These
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Contact: Charlotte Armstrong
NIMHpress@nih.gov
301-443-4536
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health
Source:Eurekalert

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