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IoP experts at the Cheltenham Science Festival

Posted on 27/06/2012

Professor Carmine Pariante and Professor Martin Prince from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry joined academics from across King’s in this year’s The Times Cheltenham Science Festival.


Professor Carmine Pariante is Head of the Perinatal Psychiatry Section and Head of the Stress, Psychiatry and Immunology Laboratory at the IoP at King’s. He is particularly interested in the mechanisms which cause major depression and how antidepressant drugs work. More recently, he has expanded this to look at depression during and after pregnancy.  

At the festival, Professor Pariante took part in a session about depression with Professor Catherine Harmer from the University of Oxford, and comedian Ruby Wax. They discussed whether depression is linked to changes in the brain’s structure or behaviour, how stress can affect the brain and cause depression, how antidepressants are good for the brain by increasing the number of neurones, and treatment options.  

Professor Pariante adds: “Depression is one of the most common mental health problems and affects millions of people’s lives on a daily basis. We discussed the small scale to the large scale - the effect of drugs on cells and molecules to imaging of the whole brain. It’s the first time I have been to Cheltenham and it was inspiring to have such a keen audience interested in the latest research.”


Professor Martin Prince is the Co-Director Centre for Global Mental Health, a collaboration between King’s Health Partners and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He also coordinates the 10/66 Dementia Research Group, a network of over 100 researchers working to promote better research into dementia in the developing world.

Professor Prince’s session at the festival focused on dementia, exploring the innovations and challenges for patients and society. He was joined by Andrew Ketteringham, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the Alzheimer’s Society, Marc Wortmann, Executive Director of Alzheimer’s Disease International and dementia patient Dr Jennifer Bute. They discussed whether it is possible to ‘live well’ with dementia, what it’s like to receive a diagnosis, and if there is anything we can do to reduce our risk.

Professor Prince says: “Andrew, Marc and Jennifer gave a compelling narrative of living well with dementia, a story which touches heart and minds in a way that statistics and numbers never could.  By 2050, there will be 115 million people living with dementia worldwide, and much more needs to be done to encourage early diagnosis and innovative new treatments.”


Prof Prince and Marc Wortmann

Dr Jennifer Bute, a former GP who retired with early onset Alzheimer’s disease,  gave an inspiring presentation on life with dementia.  She has made a series of films to further the understanding of different aspects of dementia which can be viewed here:

For more information, please contact Seil Collins, Press Officer, Institute of Psychiatry email: or tel: 0207 848 5377

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