Abstracts from the NSAMR 2015 conference

NSAMR

We are pleased to be able to publish the abstracts from the NSAMR Conference, which took place on 7th March 2015 in the Michael Griffiths Building, University Hospital of Wales. This conference was organised by the Cardiff University Research Society (CUReS), a student-run organisation at the University of Cardiff which aims to encourage research amongst undergraduate medical students. Their website is http://cures.cardiff.ac.uk/

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From Brain To Behaviour – What will we know in 10 years’ time?

Matt Butler
University of Manchester

The winning essay from the 3rd Edinburgh University Neurological Society (EUNS) National Conference 2015.

Introduction

The arbitrary distinction between the disciplines of psychiatry and neurology has become increasingly unhelpful in the successful treatment of patients with nervous system disorders. Since the divergence of the disciplines in the 19th and 20th centuries, neurology has been concerned with conditions arising from discreet lesions in the nervous system; conversely psychiatry with conditions involving higher cortical dysfunction. With the development of awareness of the psychopathological underpinnings of nervous system diseases, propelled by advances in neuroscientific understanding, the disparity between fields is more slender than ever. In a decade’s time, with increasing insight provided by neuroimaging, neurogenetics and neuropathophysiology, we will be closer to a singular unified discipline encompassing the study and treatment of both neurological and psychiatric disorders.

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Polygeia: students shaping global health

Richard Heywood, Editor, Cambridge Medicine Journal
David Neal, Commissioning Editor, Polygeia

On 15th November a new Cambridge-based organisation, Polygeia, held their inaugural conference on global health policy.

Polygeia’s mission is to empower students to participate in global health discussions through policy research and discussion. Already, work has been produced on neglected tropical diseases, mental health, global health partnerships, sexual and reproductive health and pharmaceuticals. The type of work done ranges from literature reviews to opinion pieces to project evaluations. Through undertaking a wide range of work with support from academics and professionals from around the world, the second aspect to Polygeia’s mission is to develop the skills of those students involved.

Support has certainly not been lacking so far. At the conference in November, the keynote speaker was Dr Lorenzo Savioli, ex-Director of the World Health Organization Department for Control of Neglected Tropical Disease, who has just taken up a professorial position at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Dr Savioli praised the quality of the work presented, even offering to co-author with students for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Other guests included Professor Alan Fenwick, OBE, of Imperial College, Dr Tine van Bortel from Cambridge Institute of Public Health and Aparna Barua of Sabin Foundation Europe. The conference attracted around 150 guests, mostly students, with some coming from as far afield as Aberdeen and Geneva.

Following the success of the conference, Polygeia are currently recruiting students and seeking commissions for 2015. Anyone interested in finding out more or getting involved can look at Polygeia’s website (www.polygeia.com) or email David Neal, Commissioning Editor

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Review: Should we screen for asymptomatic coronary artery disease in the community?

Introduction: Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the accumulation of atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary arteries; resulting in limited myocardial perfusion. CAD has high levels of global morbidity and mortality and is well researched. Asymptomatic coronary artery disease (ACAD) is the precursor subclinical state and is inadequately detected and researched. The aim of this article was to cross-examine the current research on ACAD. Emphasis was placed on methods of assessment and screening of ACAD.

Materials and Methods: A review of the literature was completed following a structured protocol; search engines, inclusion and exclusion criteria were defined a priori.

Results: Forty-eight articles met all inclusion criteria and were retrieved for detailed analysis. Outcome-based evidence suggested that cardiovascular disease risk stratification followed by imaging based assessments in low-to-moderate risk candidates were shown to be of clinical value in ACAD. A ‘treat all’ primary preventative approach was shown to be of most benefit; however the social and financial implications of this remain unclear.

Conclusions: Effective management of ACAD is essential to lower the worldwide incidence, morbidity and mortality of CAD. Further outcome-based evidence highlighting the benefits of identification, screening and early primary prevention of ACAD is urgently needed.

Keywords: Asymptomatic coronary artery disease, asymptomatic coronary atherosclerosis, subclinical coronary artery disease, subclinical coronary atherosclerosis, asymptomatic coronary artery disease screening, asymptomatic coronary artery disease investigations, asymptomatic coronary artery disease management

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Optogenetics: A Vision of the Future of Neurology?

In 1979, Nobel laureate Francis Crick published a paper discussing progress in neuroscience. Describing the subject as “profoundly mysterious”, he speculated on new methods of investigating the brain, including the ability to inactivate one type of neuron whilst leaving the others “more or less unaltered” [1]. Crick is not alone; for years the mammalian brain has dumbfounded researchers [1,2]. In the human, a hundred billion neuronal parts and myriad connections lead to an interconnected system of a level of unparalleled complexity [3].

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