Clinical research at the Patrick Wild Centre encompasses a broad range of activity with the unifying theme being the investigation of individuals affected by neurodevelopmental disorders.
By combining detailed clinical assessment with cutting-edge brain imaging technology and genetic analysis, the group aims to determine how biological factors affect the clinical presentation of these disorders. Some of the first magnetic resonance imaging studies of brain structure in intellectual disability and other neurodevelopmental disorders were conducted by the Division of Psychiatry, and this continues to be a major focus of work today. There is a large longitudinal structural imaging study, now in its 7th year, examining factors that predict the onset of later psychiatric disorder in adolescents receiving special educational assistance. The study of social brain function is another area of interest; this includes a comparative study of the autism and schizophrenia spectrums as well as work examining individuals with offending behaviour. The group also runs the Fragile X Registry in collaboration with Clinical Genetics services. This provides detailed clinical assessments for families affected by Fragile X Syndrome and allows for detailed investigation of how these clinical traits are affected by biological factors.
Another key strand of the group’s work is to trial potential therapeutic interventions, both pharmacological and non-pharmacological, for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. Our understanding of the factors that contribute to the development of these disorders has increased dramatically in recent years. These advances are now beginning to lead to the possibility of new treatments and the Clinical Research group will run trials to test these as they become available. This is already the case for Fragile X Syndrome, where the group is participating in Phase II clinical trials of a new medication for this disorder. In addition, the group has carried out a study of a behavioural therapy designed to enhance social skills in adults with Asperger Syndrome.
For the details of ongoing clinical trials, please see the Clinical Trials page.