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  • Lifelong robbery victimisation and mental disorders at age 18 years: Brazilian population-based study.

    29 June 2018

    PURPOSE: Urban violence is a major problem in Brazil and may contribute to mental disorders among victims. The aim of this study was to assess the association between robbery victimisation and mental health disorders in late adolescence. METHODS: At age 18 years, 4106 participants in the 1993 Pelotas Birth Cohort Study were assessed. A questionnaire about history of robbery victimisation was administered, the Self-Report Questionnaire was used to screen for common mental disorders, and the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview was used to assess major depressive disorder and generalised anxiety disorder. Cross-sectional prevalence ratios between lifetime robbery victimisation and mental disorders were estimated using Poisson regression with robust standard errors, adjusting for socioeconomic variables measured at birth and violence in the home and maltreatment measured at age 15. RESULTS: There was a dose-response relationship between frequency of lifetime robberies and risk of mental disorders. Adolescents who had been robbed three or more times had twice the risk (PR 2.04; 95% CI 1.64-2.56) for common mental disorders, over four times the risk for depression (PR 4.59; 95% CI 2.60-8.12), and twice the risk for anxiety (PR 1.93; 95% CI 1.06-3.50), compared with non-victims, adjusting for covariates. Experiencing frequent robberies had greater impact on common mental disorders than experiencing an armed robbery. Population attributable fractions with regard to robbery were 9% for common mental disorders, 13% for depression, and 8% for anxiety. CONCLUSIONS: Robberies are associated with common mental disorders in late adolescence, independently of violence between family members. Reducing urban violence could significantly help in preventing common mental illnesses.

  • Healthy minds 0-100 years: Optimising the use of European brain imaging cohorts ("Lifebrain").

    3 July 2018

    The main objective of "Lifebrain" is to identify the determinants of brain, cognitive and mental (BCM) health at different stages of life. By integrating, harmonising and enriching major European neuroimaging studies across the life span, we will merge fine-grained BCM health measures of more than 5000 individuals. Longitudinal brain imaging, genetic and health data are available for a major part, as well as cognitive and mental health measures for the broader cohorts, exceeding 27,000 examinations in total. By linking these data to other databases and biobanks, including birth registries, national and regional archives, and by enriching them with a new online data collection and novel measures, we will address the risk factors and protective factors of BCM health. We will identify pathways through which risk and protective factors work and their moderators. Exploiting existing European infrastructures and initiatives, we hope to make major conceptual, methodological and analytical contributions towards large integrative cohorts and their efficient exploitation. We will thus provide novel information on BCM health maintenance, as well as the onset and course of BCM disorders. This will lay a foundation for earlier diagnosis of brain disorders, aberrant development and decline of BCM health, and translate into future preventive and therapeutic strategies. Aiming to improve clinical practice and public health we will work with stakeholders and health authorities, and thus provide the evidence base for prevention and intervention.

  • Schematic beliefs and problem solving performance predict depression in people experiencing persecutory delusions.

    29 June 2018

    Depression occurring alongside psychosis is an important treatment target, both in its own right and as a potential maintenance factor for positive psychotic symptoms. The present paper reports a prospective longitudinal analysis of depression and its predictors over six months in a group of 60 participants experiencing persecutory delusions. We hypothesised that negative schematic beliefs about the self and problem solving difficulties would predict the persistence of depression over time. The results showed, as hypothesised, that more negative schematic beliefs about the self and poorer problem solving predicted higher depression scores six months later, beyond what could be predicted by baseline depression scores. These findings support a proposed role for schematic beliefs and problem solving difficulties in the perpetuation of depression occurring alongside psychosis, as has been substantiated for major depressive disorder. Interventionist research is warranted to confirm causal effects.

  • Healthy minds from 0-100 years: Optimising the use of European brain imaging cohorts (“Lifebrain”)

    3 July 2018

    The main objective of “Lifebrain” is to identify the determinants of brain, cognitive and mental (BCM) health at different stages of life. By integrating, harmonising and enriching major European neuroimaging studies across the life span, we will merge fine-grained BCM health measures of more than 5,000 individuals. Longitudinal brain imaging, genetic and health data are available for a major part, as well as cognitive and mental health measures for the broader cohorts, exceeding 27,000 examinations in total. By linking these data to other databases and biobanks, including birth registries, national and regional archives, and by enriching them with a new online data collection and novel measures, we will address the risk factors and protective factors of BCM health. We will identify pathways through which risk and protective factors work and their moderators. Exploiting existing European infrastructures and initiatives, we hope to make major conceptual, methodological and analytical contributions towards large integrative cohorts and their efficient exploitation. We will thus provide novel information on BCM health maintenance, as well as the onset and course of BCM disorders. This will lay a foundation for earlier diagnosis of brain disorders, aberrant development and decline of BCM health, and translate into future preventive and therapeutic strategies. Aiming to improve clinical practice and public health we will work with stakeholders and health authorities, and thus provide the evidence base for prevention and intervention.

  • Teacher Competence in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression and Its Relation to Treatment Outcome.

    29 June 2018

    As mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) becomes an increasingly mainstream approach for recurrent depression, there is a growing need for practitioners who are able to teach MBCT. The requirements for being competent as a mindfulness-based teacher include personal meditation practice and at least a year of additional professional training. This study is the first to investigate the relationship between MBCT teacher competence and several key dimensions of MBCT treatment outcomes. Patients with recurrent depression in remission (N = 241) participated in a multi-centre trial of MBCT, provided by 15 teachers. Teacher competence was assessed using the Mindfulness-Based Interventions: Teaching Assessment Criteria (MBI:TAC) based on two to four randomly selected video-recorded sessions of each of the 15 teachers, evaluated by 16 trained assessors. Results showed that teacher competence was not significantly associated with adherence (number of MBCT sessions attended), possible mechanisms of change (rumination, cognitive reactivity, mindfulness, and self-compassion), or key outcomes (depressive symptoms at post treatment and depressive relapse/recurrence during the 15-month follow-up). Thus, findings from the current study indicate no robust effects of teacher competence, as measured by the MBI:TAC, on possible mediators and outcome variables in MBCT for recurrent depression. Possible explanations are the standardized delivery of MBCT, the strong emphasis on self-reliance within the MBCT learning process, the importance of participant-related factors, the difficulties in assessing teacher competence, the absence of main treatment effects in terms of reducing depressive symptoms, and the relatively small selection of videotapes. Further work is required to systematically investigate these explanations.

  • Cost and Outcome of BehaviouRal Activation (COBRA): a randomised controlled trial of behavioural activation versus cognitive-behavioural therapy for depression.

    29 June 2018

    Depression is a common, debilitating and costly disorder. The best-evidenced psychological therapy - cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) - is complex and costly. A simpler therapy, behavioural activation (BA), may be an effective alternative.To determine the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of BA compared with CBT for depressed adults at 12 and 18 months' follow-up, and to investigate the processes of treatments.Randomised controlled, non-inferiority trial stratified by depression severity, antidepressant use and recruitment site, with embedded process evaluation; and randomisation by remote computer-generated allocation.Three community mental health services in England.Adults aged ≥ 18 years with major depressive disorder (MDD) recruited from primary care and psychological therapy services.BA delivered by NHS junior mental health workers (MHWs); CBT by NHS psychological therapists.Primary: depression severity (as measured via the Patient Health Questionnaire-9; PHQ-9) at 12 months. Secondary: MDD status; number of depression-free days; anxiety (as measured via the Generalised Anxiety Disorder-7); health-related quality of life (as measured via the Short Form questionnaire-36 items) at 6, 12 and 18 months; and PHQ-9 at 6 and 18 months, all collected by assessors blinded to treatment allocation. Non-inferiority margin was 1.9 PHQ-9 points. We undertook intention-to-treat (ITT) and per protocol (PP) analyses. We explored cost-effectiveness by collecting direct treatment and other health- and social-care costs and calculating quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) using the EuroQol-5 Dimensions, three-level version, at 18 months.We recruited 440 participants (BA, n = 221; CBT, n = 219); 175 (79%) BA and 189 (86%) CBT participants provided ITT data and 135 (61%) BA and 151 (69%) CBT participants provided PP data. At 12 months we found that BA was non-inferior to CBT {ITT: CBT 8.4 PHQ-9 points [standard deviation (SD) 7.5 PHQ-9 points], BA 8.4 PHQ-9 points (SD 7.0 PHQ-9 points), mean difference 0.1 PHQ-9 points, 95% confidence interval (CI) -1.3 to 1.5 PHQ-9 points, p = 0.89; PP: CBT 7.9 PHQ-9 points (SD 7.3 PHQ-9 points), BA 7.8 PHQ-9 points (SD 6.5 PHQ-9 points), mean difference 0.0 PHQ-9 points, 95% CI -1.5 to 1.6 PHQ-9 points, p = 0.99}. We found no differences in secondary outcomes. We found a significant difference in mean intervention costs (BA, £975; CBT, £1235; p < 0.001), but no differences in non-intervention (hospital, community health, social care and medication costs) or total (non-intervention plus intervention) costs. Costs were lower and QALY outcomes better in the BA group, generating an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of -£6865. The probability of BA being cost-effective compared with CBT was almost 80% at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence's preferred willingness-to-pay threshold of £20,000-30,000 per QALY. There were no trial-related adverse events.In this pragmatic trial many depressed participants in both groups were also taking antidepressant medication, although most had been doing so for a considerable time before entering the trial. Around one-third of participants chose not to complete a PP dose of treatment, a finding common in both psychotherapy trials and routine practice.We found that BA is as effective as CBT, more cost-effective and can be delivered by MHWs with no professional training in psychological therapies.Settings and countries with a paucity of professionally qualified psychological therapists, might choose to investigate the delivery of effective psychological therapy for depression without the need to develop an extensive and costly professional infrastructure.Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN27473954.This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 21, No. 46. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.

  • Suicide is a complex problem that requires a range of prevention initiatives and methods of evaluation.

    3 July 2018

    A range of factors can contribute to suicide, which means that a multifactorial approach to suicide prevention is necessary. Whereas randomised controlled trials may be suitable for evaluation of some interventions, others require different approaches for assessment of their impact. Also, suicide itself will not always be the most feasible outcome measure.

  • Clinical Lectureship Positions now open for application (Closing date: 3 June 2015)

    5 May 2015

    Applications are invited for six posts under the NIHR Integrated Academic Training Pathway. These are fixed-term, four-year posts which offer excellent opportunities to undertake high quality research within a clinically excellent environment and to undertake clinical work towards gaining a CCT.

  • From lab bench to green bench

    9 December 2015

    Dr Jessica Ash, from the Department of Psychiatry visited MP George Freeman, the life sciences minister, at the House of Commons for a week in Westminster.

  • Human trials suggest ‘rescued’ drug could be safer treatment for bipolar disorder

    9 December 2015

    A drug destined for the scrap heap has been rescued by Oxford scientists, who may have found it a new role in treating bipolar disorder.

  • Reported self-inflicted harm cases have steadily risen in UK since 2008

    9 May 2016

    The number of cases of self-harm presenting to hospitals in England has risen steadily since 2008, especially among men, reveals research co-ordinated by the Centre for Suicide Research at Oxford University Department of Psychiatry, published in the online journal BMJ Open.

  • Professor Michael Sharpe is named as Psychiatrist of the Year

    7 November 2014

    Professor Sharpe has been named as Psychiatrist of the Year at the Royal College of Psychiatrists Awards Ceremony in London

  • Self-help from the stands

    18 October 2013

    Gill Oliver probes mind and motivations of the Watford FC-supporting Oxford University Professor of Clinical Psychology

  • Simple blood test gives early warning of Alzheimer's

    8 July 2014

    BBC News online, 08/07/14, James Gallagher: Scientists have made a ‘major step forward’ in developing a blood test to predict the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Research in more than 1,000 people has identified a set of proteins in the blood which can predict the start of the dementia with 87% accuracy. The findings, published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia, will be used to improve trials for new dementia drugs.

  • Largest epidemiological study of epilepsy and psychiatric disorders

    22 July 2013

    In a recent Lancet paper, Seena Fazel together with Achim Wolf and Charles Newton from this department, reports that "people with epilepsy are 11 times more likely to die prematurely than the general population, and the risk appears to be substantially higher for individuals with common co-existing psychiatric illnesses." He adds: "standard psychiatric checks could help reduce the risk of premature deaths in people with epilepsy."

  • Congratulations Kate!

    22 July 2013

    Dr Kate Saunders has been awarded the Johnstone & Florence Stoney studentship by the British Federation of Women Graduates after competitive interview. The Studentship will be officially awarded on Thursday, October 17th before the Sybil Campbell Collection Annual Lecture at the University Women’s Club, in 2 Audley Square, Mayfair.

  • Psychological Benefits for Prisoners doing Yoga

    11 July 2013

    Yoga could help address mental health problems in prisons Yoga can improve mood and mental wellbeing among prisoners, an Oxford University study suggests, and may also have an effect on impulsive behaviour.

  • Whitehall Imaging Oxford

    1 November 2012

    We are proud to announce that we have now imaged 800 participants (about 12% of the Whitehall II sample) and have achieved our target on time (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03335696). Data collected during this study will be analysed by researchers at the University of Oxford in collaboration with Whitehall II study researchers at University College London over the next couple years, before becoming available (in an anonymised form) to other researchers. Results will be published over the following years. Participants will receive updates of the most recent findings with the Whitehall II newsletter between the clinic appointments. You can also read more about the study and its findings on this site.

  • Improving lifelong cognitive health through physical exercise and cognitive stimulation

    1 November 2012

    The human brain has a remarkable capacity to learn and adapt. This ability is strongly influenced by many factors, including how active we are - both physically and mentally.

  • Oxford Parkinson's Disease Centre

    1 November 2012

    The Oxford Parkinson's Disease Centre (OPDC) is a grouping of scientists and clinicians launched in February 2010 following the award of the Monument Trust Discovery Award to Oxford University

  • Oxford Dementia and Ageing Research

    1 November 2012

    Oxford Dementia and Ageing Research is a consortium of clinical and basic scientists who work on various aspects of translational dementia and ageing research

  • We are available for media comment

    1 November 2012

    Please use the content details at the top of this page to get in touch

  • Important Links

    1 November 2012

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a substantial cause of disability (Seena Fazel)

    16 June 2013

    Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a substantial cause of disability with high societal costs worldwide. In the US, where surveillance started in 1989, 3.2 million persons or 1% of the population have sustained a TBI in their lifetime. Similarly large numbers have been reported in European countries. The public health burden may increase in the next few decades, as road traffic accidents, a leading cause of TBI and currently the ninth largest contributor to disability-adjusted living years globally, are estimated to become the third largest contributor by 2030 with a particularly large rise in middle income countries. One high risk group are prisoners, where high rates of TBI have been reported, including in juvenile prisons, and where little is known about this TBI contributes to adverse outcomes following release.

  • The influence of stress and genotype on the response to a dopaminergic drug (Paul Harrison & Liz Tunbridge)

    16 June 2013

    Tolcapone is an inhibitor of the dopamine-metabolizing enzyme catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT), used in the adjunctive treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Our recent study (Farrell SM et al, Biological Psychiatry 2012; 71: 538-544), and others, show that it also has effects in healthy subjects on cognition and risk taking.

  • Parents and Carers of Young People who Self-harm:Summary of Research Findings for Clinicians

    14 January 2016

    A guide for clinicians describing the key results of a qualitative study designed to explore explore the experiences and perceptions of parents/carers of young people who self-harm, and aims to assist clinicians in helping families navigate through this experience.

  • Participants needed for emotional processing drug study- Ethics Ref: R50651/RE001

    4 September 2017

    The study mainly involves computer-based psychological tasks on emotional and cognitive processing and the taking of blood samples.

  • Are you interested in how the brain works? Men needed!

    18 October 2016

    If you take part, we will ask you to: - Provide a cheek swab (to see which form of the gene you have) then, if suitable, come to the lab and: - Take a single dose of a drug or a dummy pill; - Fill in some questionnaires and give samples of saliva; - Complete tasks of mental maths, memory and reward, while in an MRI brain scanner. The study will take one afternoon (around 3.5 hours).

  • Brain Stimulation Study

    30 January 2018

    We are looking for healthy volunteers to improve our understanding of how the brain is organised and how it processes information during motor learning. Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (TDCS) is a form of neurostimulation that uses constant, low current delivered to the brain area of interest via sensors on the scalp. Participants may experience some discomfort during TDCS. This study involves two visits to the Department of Psychiatry in Oxford. Each session will take around two hours of your time.