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Scientists Unite For Mental Illness Cure

Discussion in 'News, Politics & Debates' started by anthony, Nov 29, 2006.

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  1. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    IN what's described as a world first, leading scientists from around Australia will form a national research body focused on finding a cure for schizophrenia and bipolar disease.
    The Australian Psychosis Research Network (APRN) will include more than 80 leading researchers from many Australian institutions, including The Black Dog Institute at the University of NSW school of psychiatry.

    The chair of Hospital and Community Psychiatry at the University of Queensland, Professor Stanley Catts, said the body is a world first.

    "Up until now, research has been been largely uncoordinated with little incentive for collaboration.
    This is the first time that the schizophrenia and bipolar researchers of any nation, including Australia, have united to form a network with a coordinated research focus,'' he said.

    The professor of psychiatry at the University of Newcastle, Vaughan Carr, said Australia was in a unique position to use collaborative research.

    "Australia is small enough to enable groups to come together and form collaborative networks that couldn't happen in the United States,'' he said.

    "We need to have a coordinated collaborative network targeted on particular diseases to unlock a cure, for diagnosis and prevention.''

    Prof Carr said current treatments available for psychotic diseases were not doing enough for sufferers.

    "There has not been one genuinely new medication introduced for over 50 years. They have all been variations of the same thing - successful in achieving expansion of market share for the pharmaceuticals companies but not residing in genuine therapeutic advances and long-term outcomes.''

    More than 200,000 Australians are estimated currently to suffer from a psychotic disorder, with 4000 new cases emerging every year.

    Prof Carr believes that the collaborative research will not only benefit serious psychotic disorders but diseases such as chronic anxiety, panic attacks and depression that currently affect a further one million Australians each year.

    "This will deliver better outcomes for a range of diseases that affect young people,'' he said.

    Paul Morgan, deputy director of SANE Australia, a key group representing people with severe mental illness, said the collaboration would offer a more efficient approach to further research.

    "This is a good step forward. The national network will provide a more efficient means of communicating and coordinating research initiatives,'' he said.

    Mr Morgan said he wanted to see the organisation carry out further research into treatments that are currently available for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

    "APRN's work is primarily focused on molecular brain research, but what is equally important is further research into the best treatments that are available now because there is scope for improvement.''

    The APRN program is estimated to cost $11.3 million annually for five years. The organisation will seek some funding from government.

    "At the moment, there is no government funding for the network,'' Prof Carr said.

    "We feel that the sort of money needed - $11.3 million per year - a five-year grant would be the sort of money required to give this momentum."

    Source: News.com.au
     
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