Stories about the people, science and research of the Medical Research Council.
4 Aug 2017
Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Alan Stein is helping HIV-positive women with depression during pregnancy and the postnatal period. By improving their wellbeing he wants to help their children get the best start in life. He explains what his team has achieved so far in South Africa and the global implications of this work.
Imagine receiving an HIV diagnosis when you’re pregnant. You’re bringing a new life into the world. Then you receive news that you have an infection which requires lifelong treatment. You’re unsure if you will pass it onto your child and you may feel stigmatised. Disclosing your HIV status to your partner, or family, may also be a major worry. [...]
Continue reading: Supporting mothers with HIV and depression to help children thrive
7 Jul 2017
Career in brief:
- Medical school at the University of Oxford
- Academic foundation doctor for two years at the Bristol Royal Infirmary
- Clinical Research Fellow at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute, Bermuda
- Research Fellow at the National Clinical Guideline Centre, London
- Academic Clinical Fellow and Speciality Training (currently year 4) in General Adult Psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital, London
Addiction is an area where you can offer genuinely holistic care to patients. Patients with addiction disorders are often marginalised by society and within the health service. Being able to give good quality care to people who would otherwise struggle to access it is exceptionally rewarding. Patient care includes on-site sexual health, drug, alcohol and medical services.
At the moment I dedicate three days a week to clinical time and two days to research but when my MRC Addiction Research Clinical Fellowship starts I’ll be able to dedicate more time to research. Working at a national specialist service at the Maudsley Hospital, I see patients with depression and bipolar disorder whose treatment hasn’t worked. [...]
Continue reading: Working life: Clinical Fellow in Psychiatry Dr Emmert Roberts
24 Jun 2016
Professor Ian Jones is a Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist and Director at the National Centre for Mental Health. He conducts his research at the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics. In this week’s blog he tells us about work he is doing to involve more women in research and why.
More than 1 in 10 women experience an episode of mental illness in pregnancy or following childbirth. Perinatal mental illness can be severe and have significant implications for women, their families and wider society. Suicide is a leading cause of maternal death and a recent report has estimated that the economic costs to society of the women each year who experience maternal mental illness is in excess of £8 billion. This is through the impact of illness on the women, but even more through the impact on the next generation. [...]
Continue reading: Understanding the causes of perinatal mental illness by working with those who’ve lived through it
3 May 2016
Charity partners Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK will be instrumental in involving people living with dementia in the work of the new £250m MRC-led UK Dementia Research Institute. Here Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Keith Oliver shares his hopes for how the new institute will make life better for people with dementia, now and tomorrow.
Photo copyright: Alzheimer’s Society
My world changed in 2010 when I was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 55. My early symptoms were falling over, an element of reduced concentration and being unable to follow things as well as I did previously.
I went to the GP thinking I’d got an ear infection and was sent for an MRI scan. When I had an appointment with a neurologist to discuss the scan he said, totally out of the blue, that it looked like the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. After attending a memory clinic for around four months of quite intensive testing and assessments I received a diagnosis. [...]
Continue reading: Dementia: care today, cure tomorrow
31 Oct 2015
The 2015 MRC Max Perutz Science Writing Award was won by MRC PhD student Emily Eisner from the University of Manchester. In her winning article she explains her research investigating how smartphone technology might help identify when people are at risk of a psychotic episode.
Emily Eisner was presented with the Max Perutz at a ceremony in London
I am lying on my office floor. Swirling vision and shimmering lights have just begun. These are warnings. I know that if I take painkillers and rest I can avoid the intense pain of a migraine headache. The trick is to intervene early.
My research is not about migraines, but the rationale is the same – you’ve got to spot the signs. [...]
Continue reading: A ‘smart’ way to spot schizophrenia signs
12 Nov 2013
A PET scan of a person who uses cannabis. The red areas show the highest levels of dopamine.
Can you learn anything about schizophrenia from scanning brains? Yes, says Michael Bloomfield, a researcher at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre — it’s all about looking at the detail. Here he explains his work to mark Schizophrenia Awareness Week (11-17 November).
The first major revolution in the care of mentally ill patients occurred in the late 18th century. Philippe Pinel, working at the Salpêtrière Asylum in Paris, ordered the removal of chains from his patients, heralding the beginning of more psychological and humane treatments.
The second revolution came 100 years later when psychotherapy was first used, followed by a third in the mid-20th century with the discovery of psychiatric medicines.
We are now living in the midst of a fourth revolution: using modern brain imaging techniques to learn more about disease and develop new treatments. [...]
Continue reading: What can you learn about mental illness from brain imaging?
31 Oct 2013
Kim Graham (Image copyright: Kim Graham)
What’s it like to hold the purse strings for science funding? Professor Kim Graham, a member of the MRC Neuroscience and Mental Health Board (NMHB) and researcher at Cardiff University, gives us an insight into what being an MRC board member involves, from the seemingly endless reviewing of grants to the biscuit-laden meetings.
After four years, I’ll be finishing my stint on the NMHB board in March 2014. I’m looking forward to vacating the hot seat for someone else, but also sad to be saying goodbye to the wonderful colleagues that have made the past few years so enjoyable.
Reflecting on these experiences I realised how little information is available about this mysterious process to which UK researchers submit their scientific works of art. [...]
Continue reading: Above board: musings on being an MRC board member