Objective Neuropsychiatry is a dynamic medical discipline, which is constantly evolving through emerging research. This study examined the research trends in neuropsychiatry as described by original research studies published since the new millennium in the most relevant journals in this field.
Method A total of n=14,587 articles published between 2000 and 2013 were systematically screened from 10 neuropsychiatry journals, selected based on impact factor ranking. These included a total of n=7,395 relevant articles which were classified into three categories (Clinical Studies; Laboratory Studies; Service Evaluation, Classification and Historical Studies). Clinical Studies and Laboratory Studies were further classified into 13 domains according to research areas, and trends in each category and domain were analysed.
Results Clinical Studies accounted for the highest proportion of neuropsychiatry research articles published since the new millennium (n=5,097; 68.9%), followed by Laboratory Studies (n=1,824; 24.7%) and Service Evaluation, Classification and Historical Studies (n=474; 6.4%). The most represented domains were Clinical Evaluation (n=3,093; 41.8%), Epidemiological (n=836; 11.3%) and Neuroimaging (n=764; 10.3%) studies. The proportion of Clinical Studies significantly increased between 2000 and 2013 (p=0.006), whereas the proportion of Laboratory Studies significantly decreased over the same time period (p=0.001).
Conclusion This study confirms that neuropsychiatry is a quintessentially clinical discipline, with ever-increasing focus on phenomenological aspects, reflecting the centrality of clinical observations to the diagnostic process. Treatment domains were less well represented, possibly indicating unmet needs of the development of new therapeutic options. Further qualitative research will be most valuable in evaluating the research trends identified in this study.