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Professor Til Wykes receives NIMH Merit Award

Posted on 10/06/2013
Professor Til Wykes

Professor Til Wykes

Professor Til Wykes, Vice Dean Research and Professor of Clinical Psychology and Rehabilitation at King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry, has been awarded a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Director’s Group Merit Award from the NIMH in the United States.

NIMH specialises in mental illness and is the largest research organisation of its kind in the world as well as being one of the 27 institutions and centres which make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Professor Wykes as part of the Database of Cognitive Training and Remediation Studies (DoCTRS) Development Team received the NIMH award in recognition of their highly innovative approach to data standardization, integration, and sharing that will accelerate progress in cognitive training and remediation interventions in schizophrenia.

Professor Wykes explained: ‘While on a study visit in the USA I spent time equally between Harvard and NIMH. The purpose of my visit was to understand how the process of a new therapy, cognitive remediation, for people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia was being implemented across the USA. The therapy is aimed in improving skills in memory and concentration as well as giving individuals more confidence in their cognitive abilities, which in turn may remove blocks to recovery.’

As chair of the Worldwide Cognitive Remediation Experts Workshop, Professor Wykes was particularly keen to work with NIMH to further investigate cognitive remediation therapy and the potential for improved treatment with the creation of a large anonymised database.

While there is sufficient evidence that cognitive remediation improves cognition in groups of people who receive it, there was previously no universal way of tracking people who need more help; identifying whether individuals with certain characteristics might need fewer sessions or different kinds of concentration; investigating whether particular outcomes from therapy could predict more recovery gains.

Professor Wykes joined the Division of Services and Intervention Research at NIMH during her study visit in 2012 and worked particularly closely with Dr Sarah Morris who mobilised the resources and expertise to produce the mega-database: Database of Cognitive Training and Remediation Studies (DoCTRS).

Of the Director’s Group Award Professor Wykes said ‘I am delighted to receive this award and I would like to dedicate it to all the researchers, therapists and most importantly service users who in sharing their experiences of cognitive remediation therapy led to the development of DoCTRS. I was extremely privileged to still be in the US while the alpha version of the database was completed and I am proud to report that DoCTRS has already begun to give us some knowledge about the effects of age and how remediation affects symptoms - all subtle effects which requires larger samples to investigate.’

For further information, please contact Seil Collins, Press Officer, King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry. Tel: (+44) 207 848 5377 or email: seil.collins@kcl.ac.uk

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