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Brainwaves podcast series

The Brainwaves podcast series explores and explains the latest in mental health and neurosciences research at King's Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN). Find all the latest episodes below.

Overdose, addiction and unconditional love

Dr Sally Marlow talks to Teresa Albor, artist-in-residence in the IoPPN Department of Addictions, about the Unconditional project.

Working in collaboration with Dr Marlow and Professor Sir John Strang, Teresa’s audio-visual and aural project explores unconditional love, particularly in the context of the administration of Naloxone, an antidote to heroin overdose. The project was run in collaboration with Adfam and with the support of King's Cultural Community­.

Teresa also exhibited her work from 4-8 June 2018, at the Arts in Mind Festival at the IoPPN. For more information about Teresa’s work, please visit King's Cultural artist in residence page.

Romanian adoptees - 27 years later

Despite living in strong and supportive families for over 20 years, many children exposed to severe early deprivation in Romanian institutions aged 0-3 experience a range of mental health problems in early adulthood.

Professor Edmund Sonuga-Barke discusses a unique study which has followed the mental health of a group of children adopted from Romanian institutions to UK families in the 1990s.

Published in The Lancet, this is the first large-scale study to follow a group of children subjected to extreme deprivation, tracking how their mental health and cognition has developed into adulthood.

Blood test to personalise depression treatment for the first time

Scientists at King’s have developed a blood test that accurately and reliably predicts whether depressed patients will respond to common antidepressants, potentially heralding a new era of personalised treatment for people with depression.

Guided by this test, patients with blood inflammation above a certain threshold could be offered earlier access to more assertive antidepressant strategies, such as a combination of antidepressants, before their condition worsens.

We spoke to Professor Carmine Pariante about his new study, published in The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Online tool helps teenagers report self-harm

A new online tool developed by IoPPN researchers helps young people to understand and decide where they can go for help and support for self-harm.

Dr Claire Henderson and Dr Sarah Rowe from the Health Services & Population Research Department are running a pilot study of the tool at a school in Southwark, funded by Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity.

The hidden scars of human trafficking

Human trafficking - the exploitation of one human by another - takes place across the globe and affects many millions of people. It can take numerous different forms, from sexual exploitation and domestic servitude to forced labour in construction and agriculture.

Despite increasing global attention, little is known about the psychological scars wrought by human trafficking or the experiences of mental health professionals in caring for trafficked people.

The PROTECT project, run by researchers in IoPPN, aims to develop evidence that can inform the NHS response to human trafficking.

We spoke to Dr Siân Oram, Lecturer in Women's Mental Health, about the impact of human trafficking, and the instrumental role of health professionals in identifying and caring for trafficked people.

The research papers discussed by Dr Oram can all be accessed online:

  • Ross et al (2015). 'Human trafficking and health: a cross-sectional survey of NHS professionals’ contact with victims of human trafficking'. BMJ Open.
  • Oram et al (2015). 'Characteristics of trafficked adults and children with severe mental illness: a historical cohort study'. The Lancet Psychiatry.
  • Domoney et al (2015). 'Mental health service responses to human trafficking: a qualitative study of professionals’ experiences of providing care'. BMC Psychiatry.

Caring for people with psychosis and schizophrenia

Psychosis conditions, including schizophrenia, are treatable mental health problems that can affect anyone – yet very few people talk about the conditions and their impact on families.

King's IoPPN has developed a free online course, 'Caring for People with Psychosis and Schizophrenia', exploring key issues for carers of those with psychosis conditions. Funded by the Otsuka Lundbeck Alliance, this course was developed independently by King’s College London and is run through FutureLearn.

In this podcast Dr Juliana Onwumere speaks to Philippa Lowe, whose son was diagnosed with schizophrenia almost twenty years ago. Philippa shares her first-hand experience of caring for a close relative with psychosis, and explains what the course can offer for those interested in psychosis and caregiving issues.

Why are some people ‘super-bright’?

New genetic research from King’s College London has revealed small but important genetic differences between some of the brightest people in the United States and the general population.

Researchers at King’s examined the DNA of 1,400 people with an estimated IQ of 170 – substantially higher than that of Nobel Prize winners, who have an average IQ of around 145.

We asked Professor Robert Plomin whether there are ‘genes for genius’ - and what these super-bright people tell us about the heritability of intelligence.

Childhood bullying - new study examines long-term risk for cardiovascular disease

Traditionally childhood bullying has been seen by many as a common and inevitable part of growing up. However, increasing evidence suggests that there are long-term impacts which last far into adulthood.

New research from the IoPPN has found that people who experienced bullying in childhood are more likely to be overweight and show higher levels of blood inflammation at the age of 45.

Professor Louise Arseneault and Dr Andrea Danese discuss the findings, and their wider implications for tackling childhood bullying and its long-term consequences.

In this story

Teresa Albor

Artist in residence, Addictions Department

Louise Arseneault

Louise Arseneault

Professor of Developmental Psychology

Andrea Danese

Andrea Danese

Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Claire Henderson

Claire Henderson

Reader in Public Mental Health

Juliana Onwumere

Senior Lecturer

Sian Oram

Sian Oram

Senior Lecturer in Women’s Mental Health

Carmine Pariante

Carmine Pariante

Professor of Biological Psychiatry

Robert Plomin

Robert Plomin

Professor of Behavioural Genetics

Edmund Sonuga-Barke

Edmund Sonuga-Barke

Professor of Developmental Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

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