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  • Estimation of premorbid intelligence in schizophrenia.

    13 January 2019

    To determine whether the National Adult Reading Test (NART) would provide a valid estimate of premorbid intelligence in schizophrenia, two schizophrenic samples were recruited, one consisting of 35 patients resident in long-stay wards, the other of 29 patients normally resident in the community. Schizophrenic patients were individually matched for age, sex, and education with a healthy, normal subject. Both schizophrenic samples scored significantly lower on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) than their respective control groups. NART-estimated IQ did not differ significantly between the community-resident schizophrenics and their controls, suggesting that the NART provides a valid means of estimating premorbid intelligence in such a population. NART-estimated IQ was significantly lower in the long-stay sample than in their controls. Although low NART scores in this latter sample could be a valid reflection of low premorbid IQ, the alternative explanation that NART performance was impaired by onset of the disease cannot be ruled out.

  • Cortical grey matter reductions associated with treatment-resistant chronic unipolar depression. Controlled magnetic resonance imaging study.

    13 January 2019

    BACKGROUND: The aetiology of treatment-resistant major depression is little understood; its apparent intractability may reflect brain abnormality. METHOD: Magnetic resonance images of the brains of 20 subjects with major depression lasting for two years or more were compared with 20 healthy control subjects and 20 other subjects who had completely recovered from depression. Subjects were individually matched for age, gender, years of education and premorbid IQ. Grey matter was segmented from the images, and compared between groups on a voxel-by-voxel basis. RESULTS: Subjects with chronic depression showed reduced grey matter density in the left temporal cortex including the hippocampus. There was also a trend for reduction in the right hippocampus. Left hippocampal grey matter density was correlated with measures of verbal memory, supporting the functional significance of the observed magnetic resonance imaging changes. CONCLUSIONS: Our results potentially challenge the accepted view of depression as a functional and fully reversible illness, implying instead that more permanent brain changes may be associated with chronicity. Confirmatory longitudinal and prospective studies are required to determine whether these differences pre-date the onset of depression or are the result of the chronic illness process or its treatment.

  • Reduced cortical excitability in depression. Impaired post-exercise motor facilitation with transcranial magnetic stimulation.

    13 January 2019

    BACKGROUND: In healthy controls, preactivation of muscles by exercise results in enhanced motor-evoked potential (MEP) responses to transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). AIMS: We tested the hypothesis that medicated, depressed patients would show reduced post-exercise MEP facilitation compared with controls. METHOD: Ten patients with DSM-IV depression (two male, eight female) and ten controls (three male, seven female) participated. MEPs were elicited at rest, then after exercising the contralateral abductor pollicis brevis muscle, using TMS of the primary motor cortex. RESULTS: The mean MEP amplitude recorded after exercise (expressed as a percentage of baseline) was 210% in controls and 130% in patients. There was a significant difference in post-exercise MEP between patients and controls (P = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS: Post-exercise MEP facilitation was demonstrated in controls but not in patients. This supports the hypothesis that the modulation of cortical excitability may be impaired in depression.

  • Uptake of 99mTc-exametazime shown by single photon emission computed tomography before and after lithium withdrawal in bipolar patients: associations with mania.

    13 January 2019

    BACKGROUND: Early manic relapse following lithium discontinuation offers an important opportunity to investigate the relationship between symptoms, effects of treatment and regional brain activation in bipolar affective disorder. METHOD: Fourteen stable bipolar patients on lithium were examined with neuropsychological measures, clinical ratings and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) before and after acute double-blind withdrawal of lithium. Brain perfusion maps were spatially transformed into standard stereotactic space and compared pixel-by-pixel. A parametric analysis was used to examine the change in brain perfusion on lithium withdrawal, and the relationship between symptom severity and brain perfusion separately both between and within subjects. RESULTS: Lithium withdrawal was associated with an important redistribution of brain perfusion, with increases in inferior posterior regions and decreases in limbic areas, particularly anterior cingulate cortex. Seven of the 14 patients developed manic symptoms during the placebo phase, correlating with relative increases in perfusion of superior anterior cingulate and possibly left orbito-frontal cortex. CONCLUSIONS: The important effect of lithium withdrawal on brain perfusion implies that after withdrawal of lithium, the brain develops an abnormal state of activity in limbic cortex. The structures involved did not co-localise with those apparently modulated by manic symptoms.

  • Cerebral perfusion correlates of depressed mood.

    13 January 2019

    BACKGROUND: The spontaneous diurnal variation of mood and other symptoms provides a substrate for the examination of the relationship between symptoms and regional brain activation in depression. METHOD: Twenty unipolar depressed patients with diurnal variation of mood were examined at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. with neuropsychological measures, clinical ratings and single photon emission tomography (SPET). Brain perfusion maps were spatially transformed into standard stereotactic space and compared pixel-by-pixel. A parametric (correlational) analysis was used to examine the relationship between symptom severity and brain perfusion, both between and within subjects. RESULTS: Global depression severity and an independent 'vital' depression factor were associated in subjects with increased perfusion in cingulate and other paralimbic areas. In addition there was a probable association between an increase in an anxious-depression factor and reduced frontal neocortical perfusion. CONCLUSIONS: Depressive symptom changes are associated with metabolic changes in the cingulate gyrus and associated paralimbic structures.

  • Preface

    13 January 2019

  • Prof Simon Lovestone heads up £7 million trial to find early Alzheimer's test

    7 September 2016

    Professor Lovestone, from the University of Oxford's Department of Psychiatry announces the launch of a pioneering new trial in the quest to treat Alzheimer's disease.

  • The Guardian: 'No new antidepressants likely in next decade'

    12 January 2017

    At a media briefing to selected journalists, Professors Guy Goodwin, Andrea Cipriani and Seena Fazel presented the latest evidence on antidepressants.

  • Final Call! Apply for 7,000 GBP Research Funding from OHSRC

    5 August 2013

    Trainees, would you like a small research grant to develop your interests? Research grants are available to those working in the NHS in Oxfordshire, including those with honorary contracts!

  • Psychiatric Disorders at Oxford Autumn School in Cognitive Neuroscience

    12 August 2015

    A two day school, 1-2 October 2015, brings together leading experts in Neuroscience, featuring sessions on psychiatric disorders chaired by Catherine Harmer

  • A neural basis of restrictive eating in Anorexia Nervosa

    29 November 2016

    Dr Jessica Scaife compares neural responses to high vs low calorie food pictures in restrictive Anorexia Nervosa.

  • Autoimmune causes of schizophrenia

    1 May 2013

    A proportion of patients with psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia may have a treatable autoimmune condition underlying their symptoms. We have shown, for the first time that patients with a first episode of psychosis had antibodies against the NMDA receptor or Voltage Gated Potassium Channel.

  • Five new academic psychiatric training posts (ACFs) funded by National Institute of Health Research

    6 February 2014

    The Oxford NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) will fund 2 new academic clinical fellows (ACF) in core psychiatry and 1 new ACF run-through to child and adolescent psychiatry this year. This is in addition to 1 ACF in psychiatry funded by NIHR, and a further extra ACF post in child and adolescent psychiatry won in last year's national competition.

  • Brain injury survivors 3x more likely to die prematurely

    16 January 2014

    People who survive a traumatic brain injury are three times more likely to die prematurely than the general population, often from suicide or fatal injuries, according to a study led by Dr Seena Fazel, Wellcome Trust senior research fellow in Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry. The study of 41 years' worth of Swedish medical records, published in JAMA Psychiatry, also found that TBI survivors were twice as likely to kill themselves (and 2.6 times as likely to die generally) before the age of 56 as unaffected siblings, who were included in the study to control for genetic factors and early upbringing. [The Guardian online, 16/01/2014, Haroon Siddique]

  • "Predicting violence in mentally disordered offenders needs considerable caution" says our Seena Fazel

    2 October 2013

    "Assessment tools used to predict how likely a psychopathic prisoner is to re-offend if freed from jail are "utterly useless" and parole boards might just as well flip a coin when deciding such risks, psychiatrists said on Tuesday. A Queen Mary University of London study found risk score tools are only around 46 percent accurate on how likely psychopathic convicts are to kill, rape or assault again. Seena Fazel, a consultant forensic psychiatrist at Britain's University of Oxford, said the reliability of the tests' predictive ability was so low that it might be best not to use them at all - and warned that at the very least, their results should only be noted by parole boards, rather than acted upon. "If you're going to use these instruments, be aware of their strengths and limitations," he said." (Reuters, 01/10/2013, Kate Kelland)

  • Oxford Medical School tops Times Higher Education World University Rankings for Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health 2013-14

    2 October 2013

    "The 2013-2014 Times Higher Education World University Rankings' Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health table judges world class universities across all of their core missions - teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. The ranking of the world's top 100 universities for clinical and health subjects employs 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available, which are trusted by students, academics, university leaders, industry and governments."

  • The Stressed Sex

    1 November 2012

  • OxLith

    7 November 2016

    We are looking for people with bipolar disorder to take part in research investigating the effect of lithium on mood instability.

  • Linking dopamine and salience in reward learning

    2 October 2015

    Supervisors: Liz Tunbridge and Mark Walton (Department of Experimental Psychology)

  • Visiting summer student

    25 July 2018

    We welcome Andrea Enriquez, a visiting summer student from the States

  • OPT Study

    1 November 2012


    1 November 2012

    Supporting Parents Of Children with Cleft Lip (SPOCCL) is a research study looking at how best to provide extra support to families who have a baby with a cleft lip in the first few months.

  • Graduate Students

    1 November 2012

    We welcome graduate students from a wide range of disciplines including medicine, neuroscience and psychology. The resources of the Department of Psychiatry, Oxford centre for Human Brain Activity and the University of Oxford provide a wide-range of training opportunities.

  • Dr Esther Becker

    15 April 2013

    Molecular mechanisms underlying neuron development and autism

  • Professor Angela Vincent

    15 April 2013

    Maternal immunity in neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly autism

  • Miss Hannah Buxton

    15 April 2013

    Currently studying for a D.Phil under the supervision of Professor Dorothy Bishop.