500 episodes

The National Elf Service will help you keep up to date with the latest reliable health and social care research. Our podcasts feature interviews with leading experts in mental health: researchers, clinicians, practitioners and experts by experience.

National Elf Service The Mental Elf

    • Health & Fitness

The National Elf Service will help you keep up to date with the latest reliable health and social care research. Our podcasts feature interviews with leading experts in mental health: researchers, clinicians, practitioners and experts by experience.

    Grainne McAlonan #IoPPNfestival

    Grainne McAlonan #IoPPNfestival

    Prof Grainne McAlonan, Professor of Translational Neuroscience in the Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences at King's College London.

    Synopsis: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is clinically diverse, and its etiological mechanisms are poorly understood. To inform prognosis and generate intervention opportunities we need a better understanding of causal pathways; and subsequently, a means to examine target engagement. There is fresh hope however, based on evidence that multiple risk factors for ASD and related neurodevelopmental conditions converge to disrupt the balance between excitatory glutamate (E) and inhibitory GABA (I). This will likely alter the activity and structure of brain circuits which underpin (especially social) cognition and behaviour. Professor McAlonon’s research is directly testing this hypothesis by using MRI to examine spontaneous functional activity and microstructure in the brain of neonates with and without vulnerabilities for neurodevelopmental disorders. Her research has also begun to investigate whether E/I differences persist into adulthood in ASD, and if they are ‘responsive’ to pharmacological modulation. In her keynote talk, Professor McAlonan will share some of her early progress in these areas.

    Biography: Professor Grainne McAlonan studied Medicine at University of Cambridge and Imperial College London and completed a PhD in Behavioural Neuroscience at University of Cambridge.  After clinical and research posts in the UK, she worked for over a decade in The University of Hong Kong before returning to the IoPPN. She uses MRI as a translational tool to link brain and behaviour in people with neurodevelopmental conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); and to ‘back’ (and ‘forward’) translate to laboratory models. Her current research is informed by her work in the National ADHD and Autism Service for Adults at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and she is Clinical Disorders Cluster Lead for the NIHR-Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre. Professor McAlonan is a group leader within the MRC Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders at IoPPN and is a lead investigator within the EU-AIMS-2-TRIALS consortium – a European network hosting the world’s largest grant for autism research. She is responsible for fetal/neonatal/infant brain imaging studies of children vulnerable to neurodevelopmental conditions and for pharmacology studies in adults with ASD.

    • 13 min
    Terrie Moffitt #IoPPNfestival

    Terrie Moffitt #IoPPNfestival

    Professor Terrie E. Moffitt, Professor of Social Development in the Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre at King's College London.

    Synopsis: Repeated mental-health assessments in a birth cohort followed to age 45 reveal that mental disorder eventually affects virtually everyone. The predominant pattern among clinically significant cases is adolescent onset followed by a succession of different diagnoses emerging over decades. Findings challenge our field’s over-reliance on researching and treating specific mental disorders diagnosed in cross-sectional snapshots.

    Bio: Terrie E. Moffitt’s expertise is in the areas of lifelong aging, mental health, longitudinal research methods, developmental theory, neuropsychology, and gene-environment interplay. She is the associate director of the Dunedin Longitudinal Study, which follows a 1972 birth cohort in New Zealand. She also founded the Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study (E-Risk), which follows a 1994 birth cohort in the UK. Dr. Moffitt is a licensed clinical psychologist, with specialization in neuropsychological assessment. Her service includes as a trustee of the Nuffield Foundation (UK), chair of the Board on Board on Behavioral, Cognitive and Sensory Sciences at the National Academies of Sciences, member of the National Advisory Council on Aging (US-NIH), and chair of the jury for the Klaus J. Jacobs Prize (Switzerland). She is an elected fellow of the US National Academy of Medicine, British Academy, UK Academy of Medical Sciences, Academia Europa, Association of Psychological Science, and the American Society of Criminology. Dr. Moffitt enjoys working on her poison-ivy farm in North Carolina. Learn more at www.moffittcaspi.com.

    • 22 min
    Final reflections from #ImpactFrameworks

    Final reflections from #ImpactFrameworks

    #ImpactFrameworks conference organisers Mark Taylor, Jess Romo and Shaun Leamon discuss the conference highlights over the two days and lessons learnt.

    • 32 min
    Jenny Donovan

    Jenny Donovan

    Dr Jenny Donovan, CEO of the Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO)

    Presentation Title: Evidence for Change

    The Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO) was established to advance an evidence-based education system. What does that mean for educators and teachers? Presumably, it implies that there needs to be some sort of change: some adjustments to practice and some shift towards greater utilisation and implementation of evidence at scale. But teachers are weary of top-down edicts that impose change without reason or support, and they are - rightly so - sceptical of the fads and grifters that come and go. So what can AERO do to effectively support changes in educators' and teachers' practices? How can it advance the generation, implementation, and use of evidence? In this talk, the inaugural CEO of AERO, Dr Jenny Donovan, will share insights about how AERO seeks to advance evidence -informed teaching practices by leveraging and enabling necessary conditions for change, as well as by supporting change at every step of the process from evidence uptake, to understanding, to implementation.

    • 21 min
    Yara Toenders - Inflammation and depression in young people

    Yara Toenders - Inflammation and depression in young people

    Yara Toenders and Dr Lianne Schmaal from Orygen in Melbourne, Australia, talk about their Wellcome Trust Active Ingredients project on inflammation and depression in young people.

    • 23 min
    Suicide Means Restriction

    Suicide Means Restriction

    Welcome to this podcast on suicide means restriction, brought to you by the Cochrane Common Mental Disorders group and the Mental Elf.


    This podcast is aimed at mental health researchers and policy makers. In it we discuss the ways that we can prevent suicide, restricting the means of people taking their own lives, and methods of suicide. Please do not listen to this discussion if you are feeling unsafe.

    Prof Ann John
    Professor in Public Health and Psychiatry at the Swansea University Medical School
    Co-Director of the Cochrane Common Mental Disorders Satellite 

    Dr Lisa Marzano
    Associate Professor in Psychology at Middlesex University

    Dr Dee Knipe
    VC EBI Research Fellow at the University of Bristol

    In the podcast, we will define what we mean by this difficult term: suicide means restriction, we'll present what we know works in this field, where the gaps are in our knowledge, and what the priorities are for future research. We will also discuss about why it's so difficult to talk about suicide and explore how can we have safe and constructive conversations about suicide means restriction that involve all of the right people.

    • 1 hr 4 min

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