The Section of Epidemiology undertakes community-based research to study the distribution of mental health problems in populations around the world. The research describes the prevalence and impact of mental illness, seeks to define the underlying causes and to develop and evaluate culturally appropriate therapies and treatments.
The Section has taken a leading role, for example, in the study of common mental disorders like depression, anxiety, panic and somatisation in the developing world, where mental health services are often confined to care for people with more severe forms of mental illness. Research in this field has been carried out in Chile, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ethiopia, India and Sri Lanka. Other studies have concentrated on alcohol, one of the most widely used drugs in the world, personality disorder and postnatal depression. Several studies have investigated the mental health consequences of migration in low-income countries.
The epidemiology of dementia and cognitive decline is a major area of research, both in the UK and in developing countries. The 10/66 Dementia Research Group is co-ordinated by Professor Martin Prince, a senior member of the Section, and is a network of more than 100 researchers, many from the developing world, who work together to promote research into the prevalence and causes of dementia in different countries and find evidence-based solutions. The 10/66 Group encourages active collaboration between research groups in different countries and is affiliated to Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI). It was set up in 1998 at an international dementia meeting held in India and the 10/66 Group holds symposia at every annual ADI conference. (www.alz.co.uk/1066/ )
Many of the PhD students based within the Section are from overseas and carry out research in their home country with the support of senior Section members. PhD students from Ethiopia, Pakistan, India, China, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Brazil, for example, have studied women's mental health, maternal depression, infant development, migration, suicide and problem drinking - all public health and social priorities for the individual regions concerned. The Section has strong links with universities in Brazil, China, India, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea and also collaborates with psychiatric epidemiologists in other departments at the Institute of Psychiatry.
The Section of Epidemiology is headed by Dr Rob Stewart, Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Liaison Old Age Psychiatry at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.
Associated research programmes
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