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Neuroscience & Mental Health

HOW CAN WE SPEED UP THE DIAGNOSIS OF NEUROLOGICAL DISEASE?

Map the brain.

Neuroscience and mental healthAccurate and timely diagnosis is one of the big questions in mental health. Simply being diagnosed means patients and their doctors can take the next steps to improve their quality of life. Early diagnosis can improve outcomes and it allows researchers to study the progress of a disease and to trial early interventions.

Despite this, there are currently few accurate diagnostic tests for the mental health conditions. But techniques being pioneered at King’s are changing this and are opening up the possibility of a new era of targeted, personalised therapies tailored to a patients’ specific condition. Moreover, imaging techniques allow doctors not only to identify a disease from its appearance in the brain, but also to accurately assess whether a treatment is working.

By using state of the art imaging techniques we have been able to identify the specific areas of the brain which malfunction in depression and schizophrenia. By studying the complex and subtle make-up of grey matter in the brain, our scientists can use biological markers, rather than personality traits, to assess whether or not a person has autism.

With investment, we will develop these technologies further to allow accurate and quick (within an hour) diagnosis for a range of neurological and psychiatric conditions.

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Further reading

How can we understand the problems inside our heads?
How can we repair the brain's dead parts after a stroke?
How do we reduce brain damage in newborns?

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