Monday, 25 June 2018

Psychiatry research highlighted in recent 3MT competition

The Department of Psychiatry’s PhD students showcased their research at the recent 3MT department heats.

Adrienne Grech took out first place, Jae Oh was the second prize winner while Ross Borland was awarded the People’s Choice.

Final year PhD candidate in the Behavioural Neuroscience Laboratory, Adrienne Grech presented her research which is investigating approaches to treat cognitive symptoms associated with schizophrenia.

“The learning and memory problems associated with schizophrenia, broadly known as cognitive symptoms, can emerge before other symptoms are noticed,” Adrienne said.
“In fact, they can predict the severity and progress of schizophrenia but sadly, current pharmaceutical treatments only target psychotic symptoms and do very little for cognitive issues.” 

Adrienne said leading a healthy lifestyle or having a ‘positive environment’, helps prevent while also creating resilience to mental health issues.

“My research aims to understand the interaction between brain changes and environment so that different approaches can be developed,” Adrienne said.  

Adrienne’s research has already shown that the interaction between genetics and environment can be manipulated and has potential therapeutic benefits.
Jae Oh

Also in his final year, Jae Oh from the Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology is exploring the potential of health apps to reach people and provide useful health services. 

“There has been the attention to the development and the transition to health apps, however, this has not been matched by their use in healthcare settings,” Jae said. 

Challenges still remain in using health apps for clinical purposes as there are barriers limiting the use among the consumers and also among health professionals.”

“I’m hopeful my research will provide insights from young people and health professionals to ultimately improve the quality of service provision via apps.”

This year’s People’s Choice winner, Ross Borland, is a research assistant in the Centre for
Ross Borland
Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology.

Ross, in his first year of his PhD, is hoping to show that participation in sport and physical activity for people with intellectual disabilities can improve mental health and psycho-social outcomes, in addition to the already documented physical health benefits.

“The wider problem is that participation may be as low as 25% in adult populations, with less than 10% achieving recommended levels of physical activity,” Ross said.

“This needs to be addressed if any potential benefits we find are going to reach the wider community.”

All 3MT participants agreed the experience of presenting their research in lay terms and in three minutes was useful and rewarding.

In other 3MT success, The Ritchie Centre winners were:
Junior 1st place- Annie Cox
Senior 1st place- Ishmael (Mikee) Inocencio
Senior 2nd place- Aidan Kashyap

People's choice- Stuart Emmerson

Place winners in Department competitions proceed to the 3MT School finals on 4 July.   Details HERE.

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