Clinical research at the Patrick Wild Centre can be divided into two broad themes: researching new treatments for neurodevelopmental disorders and understanding the mechanisms through which people develop these conditions.
A 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 has completed a number of trials of new medications for this disorder. In addition, the group has also completed a study of a behavioural therapy designed to enhance social skills in adults with Asperger Syndrome.
By combining detailed clinical assessment with cutting-edge brain imaging technology and genetic analysis, the group also aims to determine how biological factors affect the clinical presentation of neurodevelopmental 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 at the University of Edinburgh, and this continues to be a major focus of work today. Examples of previous and ongoing work include:
– a large longitudinal brain imaging study, examining factors that predict the onset of later psychiatric disorder in adolescents receiving special educational assistance.
– pioneering work conducting functional magnetic resonance imaging in people with intellectual disability and autism, including Fragile X Syndrome.
– a comparative study of the mechanisms underlying social difficulties in the autism and schizophrenia spectrums.
– the examination of social brain function in individuals with offending behaviour.
The group also runs the Fragile X Registry which conducts clinical assessments for families affected by Fragile X Syndrome and allows for the investigation of how these clinical traits are affected by biological factors.
For details of trials that are currently recruiting please the ongoing research page. If you want to sign up to hear about when new research studies are starting then please sign up for our email list.