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Latest achievements in brain research and treatment for mental disorders

February 18, 2016

In addition, the risk for metabolic syndrome in patients with schizophrenia and mood disorders is increased compared to the general population. Even the single components of the metabolic syndrome (overweight, hypertension, hyperlipidemia) are significantly more frequent in schizophrenia and mood disorders. Whether these metabolic and cardiovascular conditions are primarily due to the illness or secondarily induced by psychopharmacological treatment is subject to current research. Since metabolic and cardiovascular risk in long-term psychopharmacological treatment has been evaluated extensively, cardio-metabolic risk factors in patients with severe mental illness, especially when treated with antipsychotic agents, are now much better recognised, and efforts to ensure improved physical health screening and prevention are becoming established.

Psychopharmacologic approaches have increasingly expanded the boundaries to treat numerous other disorders not traditionally part of practice including obesity, hypoactive sexual desire disorder, fibromyalgia, perimenopausal vasomotor symptoms, numerous dementias, pain management, and even gambling. Increasing evidence for the intrinsic analgesic effect of antidepressants and the antidepressant efficacy of neurological treatments in patients with Morbus Parkinson has opened up the way to new treatments. In the future, neuropsychopharmacologic approaches will have to increasingly deal also with non-pharmacologic devices, including not only classical electroconvulsive therapy but also vagus nerve stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and deep brain stimulation.

Neuropsychopharmacology is a dynamic field that is continuously expanding the boundaries of research and practice. New developments in neuropsychopharmacology are improving the interdisciplinary health care and patient management.

European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP)

The European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) is Europe's largest and leading forum for the exchange and dissemination of interdisciplinary research on the brain and brain dysfunction. ECNP is an independent scientific association founded in 1987 by European scientists and clinicians working in neuropsychopharmacology and related disciplines to encourage innovative research across the neurosciences and to translate new knowledge on fundamental disease mechanisms into clinical applications.

ECNP serves as a uniquely broad interdisciplinary platform, which strongly emphasises the complementary nature of research at the bench and at the bedside or clinic. This so-called 'translational research' is target-oriented, promoting the development of diagnostic procedures and laboratory outcomes in the service of discoveries that will result in improved patient care.

To achieve its objectives, ECNP has established a number of activities and programmes stimulating interdisciplinary forces designed to promote the communication and cross-fertilisation of research results and ideas in the field of neuropsychopharmacology. These include the ECNP Congresses, the largest high-level scientific meeting on neuropsychopharmacology and mental disorders in Europe, Regional Meetings, Seminars and Consultation Meetings, as well as activities for young scientists. The scientific journal of ECNP, European Neuropsychopharmacology (ENP), publishes original findings from basic and clinical research. Recently the ECNP School of Neuropsychopharmacology has been established with the aim of teaching junior clinicians high-standard practice in neuropsychopharmacology and to involve them in the development of local good practice in teaching and training. The second ECNP School of Neuropsychopharmacology has been held in Oxford, UK, from 11 to16 July 2010.

Through all its activities, ECNP aims to increase the understanding of brain disorders, helping to pave the way to improved treatments, and to promote the development of common standards in Europe.

Highlights of the 23rd ECNP Congress 2010

From 28 August to 1 September 2010, renowned experts and 7,000 anticipated participants will meet in Amsterdam to present, discuss and evaluate the latest achievements and future perspectives in the fields of schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, drugs and addiction, Alzheimer-s disease, chronopsychiatry, eating disorders, autism spectrum disorders, as well as basic and clinical neuroscience and psychopharmacology. Great emphasis will be put on clear take-home messages that can easily be translated into clinical practice by medical professionals.

The scientific programme includes more than 35 sessions to be presented by more than 150 speakers from 20 countries, and will comprise, among others, the following topics:

The neural basis of the depressive self Gene-environment interactions in psychosis Circadian rhythms: their role and dysfunction in affective disorder Predictors of relapse in alcohol dependence Avenues to novel antipsychotics: moving to exploratory strategies Fear memory and extinction: options for new treatments Stress and affective disorders Neuroprotective therapies: common potential targets in multiple sclerosis, stroke and neurodegenerative disease

The educational update sessions at the ECNP Congress will deal with the neurobiology and neuropharmacology of compulsivity in addictive behaviour, pain and neuropsychopharmacology, the placebo in psychiatry, neurostimulation techniques in mood disorders, metabolic and cardiovascular risks in the long-term psychopharmacological treatment of patients with psychiatric disorders, as well as psychiatric symptoms and their treatment in neurological disorders. Three poster sessions with in total more than 750 poster presentations from scientists from all over the world will offer an exciting insight into the research activities of (young) scientists.

Furthermore, ECNP is proud to present the results of the ECNP Consultation Meeting 2010 on -The future of the placebo in clinical trials in brain diseases-. Through annual Consultation Meetings on specific topics, ECNP aims to facilitate the dialogue and exchange of advice between the participating parties, i.e. scientists, regulatory authorities and the pharmaceutical industry.

Invitation: meet the scientists!

Experts will be available for questions by journalists in the course of press conferences at the 23rd ECNP Congress. Please refer to the detailed schedule of press conferences in the enclosed -press information and procedures-.

The 23rd ECNP Congress will once again present a high-calibre and balanced scientific programme, in which the latest achievements and future perspectives in neuropsychopharmacology and related disciplines of virtually all disorders of the brain are discussed, including the various aspects of pharmacotherapy in order to improve the life of patients with psychiatric and neurological disorders.

Source: European College of Neuropsychopharmacology