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Highlights from the British Neuropsychiatry Association’s (BNPA) Annual Meeting

By Natalia Masztalerz, Assistant Psychologist (Outcome Measures) at Brainkind

This month, some members of the team were fortunate to attend the 37th BNPA Annual Meeting, which centred on “How do our situations and environment shape us”, and present in the Poster Datablitz session.

This was a wonderful opportunity to hear about some of the relevant debates to the world of neuropsychiatry and catch-up with colleagues. From stand-out sessions, such as Professor Belinda Lennox’s BNPA Medal Lecture on autoimmune psychosis, and the JNNP 1 lecture bringing together scientific models with clinical narratives by Dr Jesus Ramirez-Bermudez, this two-day conference was packed to the brim with innovative ideas and thought-provoking debate.

A large part of day one focused on autoimmune encephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain that happens when the body’s natural defence system is not able to tell the difference between our own cells and foreign cells, causing it to mistakenly attack normal cells. This condition affects people’s mental state, resulting in psychosis and catatonia over time, as well as agitation, confusion and memory loss. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference to recovery.

In her talk, Professor Lennox discussed some of the challenges that managing this condition brings for psychiatry and highlighted the importance of screening patients with first-episode psychosis as a way of effectively identifying those with these pathogenic antibodies. The team at the University of Oxford is currently conducting a clinical trial which offers tests for antibodies for people experiencing psychosis symptoms. This is known as the PPiP2 study (Prevalence of Pathogenic Antibodies in Psychosis 2). To find out more, visit this page: http://www.sinapps.org.uk/

The day culminated with the remarkable moment when we watched Professor Angela Vincent collect a lifetime achievement award for her contribution to improving our understanding of autoimmune encephalitis. This was recognised in numerous talks, and by various speakers, who highlighted how Professor Vincent’s had inspired them. Her work on immunology has bridged the disciplines of neurology and psychiatry and continues to contribute to saving lives and improving the outcomes for patients. It was a pleasure to hear Professor Vincent’s acceptance speech, which was full of humility and humour.

On day two, the focus turned to the to the role of technology in neuropsychiatry, with a session focusing on the role that artificial intelligence may play in practice, helping us find “the right treatment, for the right person at the right time”.

Later in the day, we were invited to explore how the information around us alter neuropsychiatric presentations with talks by Dr Lucy Foulkes (University of Oxford) who considered the potentially paradoxical impact of increasing mental health awareness, and by Professor Tamara Pringsheim (University of Calgary, Canada) who described rapid onset functional tic-like behaviours in the age of social media. The day, and conference, concluded with the ANPA 2 / BNPA lecture by Professor Derek Bolton (King’s College, London) on the application of a biopsychosocial model.

By this time, our own Poster Datablitz session was a distant memory! We presented a study investigating whether injury and clinical characteristics, such as diagnosis, time since injury, verbal ability, and psychological adjustment could affect the rates of completion on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).

The analysis of our routine outcome data showed that stroke diagnosis, irritability, initiation, verbal communication difficulties and older age on admission were all associated with less likelihood of completing the HADS two time points, indicating that this tool may not be the most appropriate for assessing mood in people with brain injuries with these characteristics.

You can download our poster in the link below or get in touch with research@brainkind.org if you have any questions or feedback.

Click here to download our poster.

The next event in our diary is the Neuroconvention in Birmingham on 20-21 March 2024. Stop by our stand, N110 if you are attending, or catch our talk in the Keynote Stage on Thursday at 14h05. We will be talking about “Methods for benchmarking the effectiveness of neurorehabilitation services”.

Notes

1 Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

2 American Neuropsychiatric Association

 

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