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Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health

The Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health are published in this week’s Nature by a large consortium of authors, including Cambridge Neuroscientist Professor Barbara Sahakian, pictured right.

The Grand Challenges in Globel Mental Health are:

“priorities for research in the next 10 years that will make an impact on the lives of people living with MNS [mental, neurological and substance-use] disorders,”.

The priorities were agreed upon by more than 400 researchers, clinicians and patient advocates.

The mental-health challenges emphasize the need for global cooperation to create shared access to data, expertise and capacity-building opportunities. Children emerge as requiring particular attention.

“It is imperative we explore the role of prenatal exposures and develop interventions to reduce the long-term negative impact of low childhood socioeconomic status on cognitive ability,”

the team argue.

Schizophrenia, depression, epilepsy, dementia, alcohol dependence and other MNS disorders constitute 13% of the global burden of disease, surpassing cardiovascular disease and cancer. Cures and preventive interventions for these disorders are few, in part reflecting a limited understanding of the brain and its molecular and cellular mechanisms. Where there are treatments, they are often not available to those in greatest need. Across all countries, investment in fundamental research into MNS disorders is disproportionately low relative to the disease burden.

“Even incremental progress in addressing the grand challenges in global mental health could lead to significant economic and quality-of-life benefits…that far outweigh investment costs…the research suggested here must be conducted forthwith,”

conclude the team.

To read this landmark commentary in Nature please click here.

For press coverage of this article please click on the links below.

Guardian: Alzheimers tests offered over 60s

Telegraph: Over 60s should be screened for Alzheimers

Daily Mail: Alzheimers early onset test

Posted on 07/07/2011

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