Clinical Neuropsychiatry in the 21st Century

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With relentless advances in neuroscience, and the emphasis on translation of this research into clinical practice, the clinical neuropsychiatrist is continually faced with novel diagnostic and therapeutic challenges.  To meet these challenges, the the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) and the Neuropsychiatric Institute (NPI) once again teamed up to co-host the annual Neuropsychiatry Training Weekend on the 17th and 18th of March.

The theme for this year’s program was ‘Clinical Neuropsychiatry in the 21st Century: New Developments, New Challenges’ which saw leading experts guide the practising clinician through some of this unchartered territory in modern neuropsychiatry and neuropsychology.  This year marks the third collaboration of CHeBA and the NPI to provide training weekends tailored for professionals across these fields of expertise.

The objective of this year’s program was to offer a series of diverse and contemporary topics.

Co-Director of CHeBA and Director of the NPI, Professor Perminder Sachdev, said that the intention of this weekend was to prepare clinicians for neuropsychiatric medicine in the 21st century. 

“Some examples of the kinds of questions we asked when putting together this program were 'whether pharmocogenetics is ready for the clinic' and 'whether the neuropsychiatrist is ready for genomic medicine?'” said Professor Sachdev.

He said, “As a clinical academic discipline, Neuropsychiatry is at the forefront of translational neuroscience and a practising clinician may find it difficult to keep abreast of the latest developments in the field.  The training weekend endeavours to keep these busy clinicians abreast of these developments.” 

For this year’s event, an expert line up of speakers with both clinical and research backgrounds was engaged to lead the sessions with topics varying from neuroconnectomics and neuroinflammation to pharmogenetics genomics and novel drugs.The program commenced on Friday and looked at bringing precision medicine to psychiatric disorders. This session was represented by leading academics in the disciplines of neuroimmunology, pharmacology and cognitive neurology. The second session of the day saw two lleading neuroscientists examine why a clinician should care about the developments in brain networks and lthe role of neuroinflammation in major mental illness, in particular schizophrenia.

The second day of the program commenced with a thought-provoking look at newer treatments for clinicians, namely medical cannabis and ketamine, and what considerations should be given before their introduction into the clinic. This was followed by a look at movement and non-epileptic seizures with informative real-life case studies to demonstrate the diagnostic aspects, causes and management. An interactive panel discussion was held during the third session of the day that considered prescribing lifestyle for the neuropsychiatric patient with factors such as diet, exercise and cognitive training addressed. The final session of the program focussed on the clinical space, which included a practical demonstration, and an evaluation of the role of SPECT in diagnostic neuropsychiatry.

Attendees commented that the program was well themed, stimulating and the programming for 2017 was beneficial to learn from doctors from other disciplines.

Speakers at the 2017 Neuropsychiatry Training Weekend were Professor Perminder Sachdev, Professor Iain McGregor, Professor Andrew Somogyi, Professor Cyndi Shannon Weickert, Professor Colleen Loo, Professor Katherine Samaras, Professor Maria Fiatarone Singh, Professor Michael Breakspear, Professor Michael Valenzuela, Associate Professor Clement Loy, Associate Professor David Brown, Associate Professor Ernest Somerville, Associate Professor Greg de Moore, Dr Adith Mohan, Dr Stephen Tisch, Dr Rebecca Koncz and Dr Anna Takacs.

This event was sponsored by Avant. For information regarding the 2018 Neuropsychiatry Training Weekend hosted by CHeBA and the NPI please contact m.chungue@unsw.edu.au

 Media contact:Heidi Douglass, Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing,
+61 2 9382 3398, 0435 579 202  | heidi.mitchell@unsw.edu.au

Date Published: 
Monday, 3 April 2017
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