Dr. Raymond Chan of the Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience (NACN) Laboratory and the Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, had organized and chaired the workshop on neurological soft signs with the title of “New insights on the nature and significance of neurological signs in schizophrenia spectrum disorders” at the 14th International Congress on Schizophrenia Research (ICOSR) in Orlando, Florida during April 21-25 2013.
The ICOSR s a biennial meeting where scientists representing the broad range of disciplines involved with discovery in schizophrenia gather to exchange data, techniques, and ideas. Many scientists are current contributors to the scientific literature and have presented their cutting-edge experimental work at the ICOSR.
Dr. Chan had invited international renowned scholars in this field to present their most updated findings on neurological soft signs in schizophrenia. Presenters included Prof. Robert Buchanan from University of Maryland, Prof. Christos Pantelis from University of Melbourne, Prof. Matcheri Keshavan from Harvard Medical School, Prof. Johannes Schroeder from University of Heidelberg, and Dr. Paola Dazzan from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. This workshop addressed an ongoing controversy on the nature and significance of neurological soft signs (NSS) in schizophrenia. Our knowledge of NSS in schizophrenia has progressed quietly over the past decades. This may be mainly due to the limitations of conventional assessment methodologies. However, with recent technological advances in genetics, cognitive neurosciences and neuroimaging, the literature on NSS in schizophrenia has grown significantly and important advances in our understanding of the NSS in schizophrenia have recently been made. Neurological signs, particularly NSS, have been associated with psychopathology of schizophrenia, and have been proposed as biological markers for this clinical group. During this workshop, Dr. Chan and presenters had challenged the conventional definition of NSS and proposed a new orientation and definition of NSS. Dr. Chan also proposed a world-wide NSS items databank for healthy people and neuropsychiatric disorders (particularly schizophrenia). This proposal has been supported by the presenters and attendees of the workshop. This databank will have an important impact on the clinical utility of NSS for schizophrenia and related disorders.
Dr. Raymond Chan gets ready to present his updated findings on the familiality and heritability of neurological soft signs
Moreover, members of the NANC Lab and Key Lab of Mental Health also made a series of presentation at the ICOSR. These include Dr. Wang Ya (episodic future thinking in schizophrenia), Dr. Wang Kui (semantic processing and inhibition in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), Dr. Simon Lui (medical doctor and a final year doctoral student, on anhedonia and motivation deficits in schizophrenia), Ms. Wang Yi (a final year doctoral student, on empathy deficit in individuals with schizotypal trait), and Mr. Yan Chao (a final year doctoral student, on neural mechanism of experiential pleasure in individuals with schizotypal trait).
Ms. Wang Yi stands at by her poster showing the association of schizotypy and social cognition.
Dr. Wang Ya: A snapshot on the poster of the episodic future thinking in schizophrenia
Mr. Yan Chao prepares to present his findings on the neural mechanism of pleasure experience in schizotypy.
Dr. Wang Kui smiles in front of the study comparing the semantic inhibition processing in schizophrenia and bipolar disorders
A photo to celebrate the success of oral and poster presentation at the ICOSR