The Department of Biomedicine

BBB "extra" seminar: Erik Wong

Frontiers in biological psychiatry research – opportunities for intervention vs. optimization

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Erik Wong
EW Consulting, Innovation and Program Development, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that untreated mental disorders account for 13% of the total global burden of disease, and by 2030, depression alone will be the leading cause of disability around the world – outpacing heart disease, cancer, and HIV. The lack of novel treatment options in psychiatry is driven by limited understanding in the biological basis of psychiatric diseases, animal models with poor predictability, and high failure rates in drug development. However, new approaches in biological psychiatry research over the last 10 years have provided insights into novel treatment strategies. Collaborations in translational medicine approaches have unearthed NMDA and IL6 mechanisms as new avenues for addressing treatment-resistant depression. These data have emphasized the value of defining objective biomarkers to inform on the rationale basis of medical and social intervention. Indeed, validation of these biomarkers could offer a biological basis for patient stratification and optimization regimes to impact global mental health treatment strategies.

Chairperson: Kenneth Hugdahl <hugdahl@uib.no>, Department of Biological and Medical Psychology