Research projects in TMDU Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
( 1 ) Outline
The theme of our research is to investigate the pathogenesis of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, mood disorders, and addiction based on brain science, to develop objective diagnostic methods and novel treatments and establish psychosocial therapeutic approaches based on objective and scientific techniques and evidence. Our investigation focuses on the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders using functional magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear medicine, and other modalities. We are also performing research to investigate the role of neurofeedback as a therapeutic strategy for mental disorders. Brain imaging studies are the most interesting and well-skilled lesion. Our study involves processing a large volume of brain data using machine learning and computational psychiatry to explore prospects for new discoveries and to predict pathological conditions through modeling. We are exploring neurofeedback as a novel therapeutic approach for psychiatric diseases and the role of artificial intelligence (AI) and computational psychiatry. Moreover, we are actively designing studies that can establish evidence-based approaches to address issues observed in routine clinical practice.
( 2 ) Research
1) Studies in biological psychiatry
(i) Molecular and cellular studies to clarify the etiology and conditions of neuropsychiatric diseases
We have performed translational and reverse translational research together with molecular, cellular, and behavioral analyses using animal models and clinical samples of DNA, serum, cerebrospinal fluid, and postmortem brain tissue obtained from patients with psychiatric disorders.
(ii) Study of sleep stages and behavior in neuropsychiatric diseases
Using an automatic analysis device (polysomnography), a study is being performed to investigate sleep stages and behavior in patients with various psychiatric disorders.
(iii) Neuroimaging in psychiatric disorders
We are actively incorporating AI technology in our research on brain structure and function and molecular imaging using magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography to elucidate the pathogenesis of mental disorders, identify subtypes, and predict treatment response.
(iv) We are performing an observational study to retrospectively analyze information regarding electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
These data are submitted as performance reports from multi-institutional “ECT Training Facilities” accredited by the Japanese Society of General Hospital Psychiatry. Despite its long history in psychiatric clinical practice, the actual implementation of ECT in daily clinical practice remains unclear. This study will clarify the status of ECT in real-world Japanese medical facilities.
2) Psychopathological studies
Based on a psychotherapeutic approach, we are performing psychological studies of neuropsychiatric diseases with regard to phenomenology, anthropology, and linguistics. Other research activities include a review of fundamental psychiatric concepts and a basic study to establish a diagnostic c1assification of psychiatric disorders, which are important issues currently being widely recognized in clinical practice. In addition to studies on endogenous psychosis observed in schizophrenia and manic depressive disorder, we are involved in psychoanalytical studies to better understand and develop psychotherapeutic modalities for neurosis and borderline personality disorder, which have gained increasing attention in recent times.
3) Research on liaison psychiatry and psycho-oncology
(i) Liaison psychiatry
In collaboration with dental hospitals, we are involved in research on the prevention of postoperative delirium. We are also performing research on delirium prevention in patients admitted to the physical department. We intend to perform research on perinatal mental health in the future.
The concept of cancer disease is an important factor in the process by which a child accepts and adapts to cancer in his/her family. Therefore, we are analyzing textbooks used in elementary and junior high schools that could affect the development of the concept of cancer. Based on these data, from the perspective of psycho-oncology, we are attempting to prepare user-friendly home-based educational materials for parents to complement educational material available at school. We will verify the effects of these tools once they are operational.
4) Forensic psychiatry research
Our research includes projects for the development of forensic psychiatric evaluation methodology, risk assessment and management in forensic settings, and an investigation of the associations and mechanisms of criminal behavior. Our research encompasses a wide range of topics including the development of a method to assess the capacity to act for appraisal in the adult guardianship system.