Dr. Raymond Chan from the Key Laboratory of Mental Health was invited by Prof. John Krystal, the Head of the Department of Psychiatry at Yale Medical School, to pay a short visit there and deliver a seminar titled “Neurological soft signs as endophenotypes for schizophrenia spectrum disorders” on May 14th.
Increasing efforts to identify alternate expressions of mental disorders that are broader than the DSM or ICD diagnostic criteria needed to diagnose them reflects a growing consensus that multidimensional expressions of psychiatric disorders may advance the search for underlying etiological or modulatory factors. These alternate phenotypes or ‘endophenotypes’ (e.g., social, psychophysiological or neuropsychological abnormalities) of disorders may be more specific and amenable to objective measurement than clinical symptoms, which presumably reflects variation among smaller numbers of genes than more distal clinical symptoms. These features support the current usefulness of endophenotypes in genetic studies, and their potential usefulness in the development of strategies for early intervention. In this talk, Dr. Raymond Chan has reviewed neurological soft signs (NSS) as the potential endophenotypes for schizophrenia spectrum disorders, with an emphasis on key conceptual criteria for assessing endophenotypes, including their relationships to schizophrenia, to non-psychotic relatives, and to heritability. Future directions for establishing the validity of endophenotype research are also discussed.
Prof. John Krystal is an internationally renowned scholar in substance abuse and related psychotic disorders. The programmes on substance abuse and early psychosis have been one of the best programmes in these areas and have been receiving international reputation. During the short visit, Dr. Raymond Chan has met up several key scholars including Prof. John Krystal (substance abuse and psychotic disorders), Dr. David Glahn (neuroimaging and bipolar disorders), Dr. Deepak D’Souza (cannabis exposure and psychosis), Dr. Ke Xu (substance induced psychosis), and Dr. Alan Anticevic (neuroimaging biomarkers for psychosis). Dr. Raymond Chan has discussed with these scholars intensively. They all agreed there are a lot of common research interests among them and foresee there will be ample and fruitful collaborative opportunities in the near future. Actually, Drs. Ke Xu and David Glahn have set up concrete work with Dr. Raymond Chan on substance abuse induced psychosis and neuroimaging work on schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.