Introduction for affective disorders and traumatic brain injury: Qatar clinical neuroscience conference.


In 2002, in an unprecedented partnership with Qatar Foundation, Cornell University established a branch of Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q). Since then, WCMC-Q has become one of the most prestigious medical schools in the region, with a first rate research program fully integrated with both educational and clinical missions, providing education for medical students as well as conferences and other programs for physicians and scientists in the region. One goal of the conferences is to bring together the latest knowledge of the science (and art) of medicine, in particular that dealing with complex health issues. With that goal, the WCMC-Q, in collaboration with the Qatar Foundation for Education and the New York Academy of Sciences, organized its first conference on the topic of neuroscience, choosing to highlight psychiatry and neurology––and some of the fundamental neuroscience related to both. All of the tools of modern biology, including genetics, imaging, molecular biology, developmental neurobiology, developmental psychobiology, epidemiology, and various behavioral approaches and biopsychosocial models, are now being applied to neuropsychiatric illnesses that had largely been seen as severe and chronic, and without effective understanding or solutions. New knowledge is creating changes in approaches and a blossoming of the clinical neurosciences with an intensity unimaginable only a few years ago. There is also increasing awareness of comorbidities and connections between disorders. Fundamental diagnostic systems are being revised and questioned, with recognition not only of subtypes of disorders that require different forms of treatment, but also of totally different disorders, and that there may be a common picture in the clinical situation that requires new approaches to both prevention and treatment. Two topics within psychiatry and neuroscience were picked for special consideration for the first Qatar conference owing to their clinical importance: for psychiatry, the focus was on depression; for neurology, the focus was on traumatic brain injury. Sessions on each topic were organized with a series of talks, panels, and posters covering several disciplines and approaches. From several of the speakers, papers were commissioned by Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences for publication in an issue devoted to the conference (Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. Vol. 1345 (2015)). In addition to the listed authors and topics in the issue, a number of other speakers who could not provide papers presented approaches that added to the excitement of the symposium, including two keynote speakers: Karl Deisseroth, Stanford University, who presented on optogenetics and CLARITY for studies of brain circuits; and Huda Akil, University of Michigan, who focused on studies of animal models, genetics, and behavior. The Qatar conference included material from basic science to diagnosis and current treatments, and highlighted some potential approaches that show promise of becoming important, as progress is made in the fundamental understanding and improved treatment of disorders that have long proved difficult for humanity. We thank the participants and the audience and are deeply appreciative to the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development for sponsoring the conference. We also extend our thanks to the New York Academy of Sciences, which has served as an important advisor in related activities for Qatar. Ellis Rubinstein, the president and chief executive officer of the Academy, and Brooke Grindlinger,

DOI: 10.1111/nyas.12810

Cite this paper

@article{Fink2015IntroductionFA, title={Introduction for affective disorders and traumatic brain injury: Qatar clinical neuroscience conference.}, author={Matthew E . Fink and Jack David Barchas and Javaid I. Sheikh}, journal={Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences}, year={2015}, volume={1345}, pages={v-vi} }