Neurobiology and Neuroprotection in Emerging Mental Disorders

Overview

The neurobiology and neuroprotection research program comprises a number of randomised controlled clinical trials and basic research projects that together investigate the neurobiology of the onset phase of psychiatric disorders and test the efficacy, safety and acceptability of novel biological interventions in youth with emerging mental health problems. It also has a strong focus on investigating low-risk interventions that are suitable for early or preventive treatment in young people (e.g., omega-3 fatty acids; fish oil).

Why is this research important?

Mental illnesses such as psychosis and depression are the 'chronic diseases of the young'. They are the conditions that cause most disability in young people and are the most costly illnesses in terms of personal, economic and societal cost. Early intervention can improve outcomes and intervention in at-risk individuals and holds the promise of even better outcomes, with the potential to prevent major psychiatric disorders. Our research aims to improve current treatment options and to find safe and effective treatments for early intervention or preventive use. The identification of biomarkers predicting the course of illness and functional outcomes is another important area of our work.

Key Questions

- What biological treatments are most acceptable for early/preventive treatment among young people?
- What interventions are effective at reducing the risk of developing psychosis or severe mood disorders among young people?