OBSSR Connector Monthly Newsletter
The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) Connector Monthly Newsletter is a monthly e-newsletter featuring updates from OBSSR Director William T. Riley, Ph.D., information about behavioral and social sciences in the news, events and announcements, findings from recently published research, funding announcements, and other updates. The current newsletter is provided below.
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January 16, 2020
The NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Turns 25.
This year, 2020, marks the 25th anniversary of OBSSR. OBSSR was enacted by Congress in 1993 and established two years later in July, 1995 to identify projects of behavioral and social sciences research that should be conducted or supported by the national research institutes and develop such projects in cooperation with such institutes, and to coordinate research conducted or supported by the agencies of the National Institutes of Health. Over the past 25 years, OBSSR has worked diligently to fulfill Congress’s charge, guided by three strategic plans during that time.
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Recent research supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) assessed trends from 2005 to 2017 in the prevalence of cannabis use and perceptions of risk associated with its use in the U.S. in people with and without depression. Cannabis is the most commonly used psychoactive drug in the U.S. and globally. Heavy use of cannabis has been associated with psychiatric and substance use comorbidities, disability and psychosocial and health problems. Previous research indicates that heavy cannabis use is both more common in people with depression and has potentially more negative outcomes compared with those without depression or other mental health conditions.
A recent study supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) linked recommended physical activity levels to a decreased risk of seven cancers. In the U.S., 1.7 million people are diagnosed with invasive cancer and more than 600,000 people a year die as a result of malignant diseases, highlighting the importance of cancer prevention. Physical activity has been associated with a lower risk of several cancers, however less is known about the nature of this relationship and amount of exercise required for this effect.
In a recent publication, researchers funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, the US Fulbright Commission, and the Colombian government adapted tools from computational psychiatry and decision neuroscience to identify changes in decision-making processes in patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) preceding opioid reuse. Opioid addiction is a major public health problem with drug overdose now the leading cause of unintentional death in the U.S. Despite the availability of evidence-based treatments, relapse and treatment dropout are common.
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