£2.2m will help treat men­tal health

The Herald - - NEWS -

RE­SEARCHERS at Ed­in­burgh Univer­sity are to re­ceive £2.2 mil­lion to bet­ter un­der­stand men­tal health con­di­tions such as de­pres­sion.

The fund­ing, they say, rep­re­sents a “step-change” in the ap­proach and could pave the way for new treat­ment.

The re­search is based on big data that draws mean­ing­ful in­sights from vast amounts of in­for­ma­tion.

Sci­en­tists will pool data from sev­eral sources in­clud­ing anony­mous health records, ge­net­ics and psy­cho­log­i­cal stud­ies to build a picture of the devel­op­ment of dis­ease.

An­drew Mcin­tosh, pro­fes­sor of bi­o­log­i­cal psy­chi­a­try at Ed­in­burgh Univer­sity, said: “Our vi­sion is to make mean­ing­ful links be­tween on­go­ing re­search stud­ies span­ning the whole life­span and anonymised health records to bet­ter un­der­stand the causes and con­se­quences of men­tal health con­di­tions.

“We hope that this will en­able more ef­fec­tive treat­ments and ul­ti­mately pave the way for im­prov­ing re­silience to com­mon men­tal health dis­or­ders.”

Ex­perts say one in four peo­ple in the UK will ex­pe­ri­ence a men­tal health is­sue in a given year.

The £2.2m, a com­bi­na­tion of a Med­i­cal Re­search Coun­cil Data Pathfinder award and back­ing from Ed­in­burgh Univer­sity, will cre­ate se­cure fa­cil­i­ties for health data re­search.

The project builds on Scot­land’s ex­per­tise in health data sci­ence and ties in with Ed­in­burgh’s am­bi­tion to be­come data cap­i­tal of Europe.

Mr Mcin­tosh added: “Ed­in­burgh is poised to make sig­nif­i­cant ad­vances in men­tal health re­search.”

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