The theme Clinical trials and interventions focuses on rigorously assessing the validity of potential therapies and interventions. This theme includes a range of pharmacological (with medication) and non-pharmacological (without medication) interventions, as well as a study about the experience of participating in a clinical trial. Sarah Eley is the clinical trial coordinator of the Patrick Wild Centre.
Our research on clinical trials and interventions
The understanding of the factors contributing to the development of neurodevelopmental conditions has increased dramatically in recent years. These advances are now leading to new therapeutical possibilities. A key part of our work is to trial potential therapeutic interventions, both pharmacological and non-pharmacological. The Clinical Research group will run trials to test these interventions as they become available. We have already completed a number of trials of new medications for fragile X syndrome, and we have also assessed a behavioural therapy designed to help autistic adults with their social skills.
We also aim to better understand determine how biological factors affect the clinical presentation of neurodevelopmental conditions. To do so, we use interdisciplinary methods, combining detailed clinical assessment with cutting-edge brain imaging technology and genetic analysis. Some of the first MRI studies of brain structure in intellectual disability and other neurodevelopmental disorders were conducted by our team and collaborators. This continues to be a major focus of work today. Examples of previous and ongoing work (more details available above) include:
- a large longitudinal brain imaging study, researching factors that predict the onset of later psychiatric disorder in adolescents receiving special educational assistance.
- pioneering work researching brain activation and brain 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 with fragile X syndrome, and allows for the investigation of how these clinical traits are affected by biological factors.