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LEADING NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH CENTRE OPENS IN DARTFORD


4th December 2002. Today saw the opening of a major new mental health research centre, the first of its kind in Dartford, Kent, to specialise in severe mental illness. The opening ceremony was attended by a cross section of health professionals, mental health organisations and service users.


The Director of the Clinical Neuroscience Research Centre (CNRC) in Priory Hill is Professor Tonmoy Sharma, a consultant psychiatrist who is one of the UK’s leading researchers and has published more than 150 academic papers and 4 books. He is world-renowned for his work in brain imaging and the early detection of major mental illnesses.


Dr. Howard Stoate MP, Member of Parliament for Dartford, Secretary of the Labour Party’s Health Committee and Chair of the All-Parliamentary Group on Primary Care and Public Health, inaugurated the new centre.


In his speech to the guests at the opening ceremony Dr. Stoate said, “The Clinical Neuroscience Research Centre (CNRC) is an asset to Dartford and a real boost for the area. The work at the CNRC is a huge step forward in unravelling the causes of these illnesses and developing better treatments for mental illness. This will make it much easier for GPs who will have more information to give to their patients. As GPs we still have a massive gap in understanding why these illnesses affect some people and not others and how patients respond to treatment. What matters in the end is that people are able to resume a normal life.”


Professor Sharma has already begun leading edge research into different aspects of severe mental illness at the new centre. He is particularly interested in working with local primary care facilities for the detection of these illnesses and the development of new treatments that will help people with severe mental illness return as quickly as possible to normal living.
One important aspect of his work involves investigating how people with schizophrenia can be encouraged to use their thinking powers better to overcome their illness. “Improving cognition is a vital piece of the jigsaw in helping people get better,” said Professor Sharma.


He is also a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Changing Minds anti-stigma campaign. “I am committed to help reduce the stigma associated with mental illnesses of all kinds,” he said. “Instead of discriminating against people with mental health problems, we can offer friendship and support. I feel privileged to be working in an area where so much interesting work remains to be done.”
The Centre welcomes inquiries from local healthcare facilities who need more information about the work being carried out at the CNRC.


For further information contact:
Sanchayita Sharma, Manager- External Affairs, Clinical Neuroscience Research Centre
7 Twisleton Court, Priory Hill, Dartford, Kent DA1 2EN Ph: 01322 286862 extn 102, Mobile: 07900673340, Fax: +44(0) 1322 286 861, email: s.sharma@psychmed.org.uk
www.psychmed.org.uk.
The CNRC would like to thank AstraZeneca and Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals for supporting the launch.