South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust - Research - Biomedical Research Centre

Biomedical Research Centre

The Trust manages the UK’s only Specialist Mental Health Biomedical Research Centre in partnership with the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. The Centre, which is based on the Maudsley Hospital campus, is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Its aim is to speed up the pace that latest medical research findings are turned into improved clinical care and services.

The team at the Centre are working towards 'personalised medicine' - developing treatments based on individual need. The aim is to diagnose illness more effectively and much earlier, assess which treatments will work best for an individual and then tailor the care they receive accordingly, so that they get better more quickly.

One recent finding to emerge from the BRC is that people suffering serious mental illness can expect to live up to 18 years less than the national average. The research is the first to examine life expectancy for people with specific mental illnesses in the UK and shows that women with schizoaffective disorder and men with schizophrenia are among those most affected, with a reduced life expectancy of 17.5 years and 14.6 years respectively. The study looked at people suffering bipolar disorder, depressive disorders, schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia and people treated for substance misuse. The findings were published in scientific journal PLoS ONE and demonstrate the need for more assertive interventions and regular physical health assessments to prevent premature death among these vulnerable groups.

The BRC’s development of advanced computer programme to accurately detect the early signs of Alzheimer's disease from a routine clinical brain scan was reported in the media in 2011. The 'Automated MRI' software automatically compares or benchmarks someone’s brain scan image against 1200 others, each showing varying stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

On 18 August 2011, the Department of Health announced that the Trust and the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London would receive a further £48.8m to continue running the Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health for a further five years from 1 April 2012. An additional £4.5m was awarded to the Trust to launch for a new NIHR Biomedical Research Unit for Dementia.

Read more about this topic:  South London And Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Research

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