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Hospital Pioneers Research on Biological Psychiatry

On Wednesday, 28th September, 2011, the hospital hosted a seminar titled “Building capacity for Neurobiological research: Endophenotype-based genetic dissection of schizophrenia”.

The seminar was to pave the way for a pioneering collaborative research on biological psychiatry between the hospital and the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, United States of America.

The Research, the first of its kind in West Africa, is designed to improve on the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders in the country.

The resource person for the seminar, Dr. Ikwunga Wonodi, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Schizophrenia-Related Disorders Program, MPRC Neuro-genetics Laboratory, and Director of the First Episode Psychosis Clinic, Maryland Psychiatric Research Centre, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, informed that he was in Nigeria to help set up the biological psychiatry research laboratory.  The seminar was therefore, to prepare the staff for the actualaisation of the laboratory. 


Disclosing the essence of the research to newsmen during the seminar, the Medical Director, Dr. R.A. Lawal said “we are trying to couple practice with research to improve quality of service to our clients.  The end point is that we are entering into a new age of psychiatry in Nigeria and we are proud of this achievement.  With the causes of psychiatric disorders being identified, psychiatry is going the way of becoming an illness that can be diagnosed just like malaria, hypertension or diabetes.  This is known as biological psychiatry, where biological markers are identified to explain possible cause or causes of psychiatric ailments”.


The Medical Director also informed that with the assistance of Dr. Wonodi, the hospital had already obtained a small grant to build the laboratory and begin research into biological psychiatry.  According to him, “this is the best thing that can happen to any psychiatric hospital in this area”.

Participants at the seminar included Consultant Psychiatrists, Resident Doctors, Laboratory Scientists, Radiologists, Clinical Psychologists, Health Record Officers, EEG Specialists, Social Welfare Officers, Nurses and other research assistants.


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