Objective Background: Neuropsychiatry is a branch of medicine that comprises a wide variety of patients, varying degrees of severity and numerous etiologies. Neuropsychiatry encompasses, but is not limited to, symptoms in the “grey area” between Neurology and Psychiatry: impairment of attention, alertness, perception, memory, language and intelligence, sleep and headaches, among others. Unfortunately, there is currently a lack of a clear and universally accepted definition of ‘Neuropsychiatry’ in the literature.
Aim To determine whether, and in what circumstances, Neuropsychiatry can be practiced as a distinct, independent Medical Specialty. This is a pilot to more comprehensive research aiming to describe the development of Neuropsychiatry over time from conception to present, including definition, scope and required training.
Method A relatively new methodology quite similar to the long established systematic review, scoping reviews ‘map the key concepts underpinning a research area as well as clarify working definitions, and/or the conceptual boundaries of a topic.’ This methodology endeavours to identify gaps in evidence, clarify key concepts, or report on the evidence types addressing and informing practice in a given area. The pilot phase of this project utilised the database PubMed, searching for articles that utilise the word ‘Neuropsychiatry’ in the title (i.e. neuropsychiatry[ti]). Charting results of this project will provide readers a logical and descriptive summary aligning with the study’s objectives and research questions. Data abstraction forms were used and resulting information organised so as not to require further review of the same article. Information on the scope and definition of Neuropsychiatry was collected from articles where the discipline of Neuropsychiatry was the main focus.
Results The frequency of published articles on a subject may reflect the amount of interest at any given time; there are large numbers of Neuropsychiatry-related articles published between 1940–1970, followed by a decrease from 1970–1990 when the divergence of Neuropsychiatry into Neurology and Psychiatry became apparent. In recent decades, interest in Neuropsychiatry has re-emerged, pointing toward a need for Neuropsychiatry as a Specialty in contemporary medicine.
Conclusions By analysing Neuropsychiatry literature throughout recent history, this study explores the practice of Neuropsychiatry as well as publication trends to highlight the importance of Neuropsychiatry as a Specialty in Medicine. This project has the potential to change the practice of not only neuropsychiatrists, but also practitioners from every field, providing a better understanding of Neuropsychiatry and offering innovative knowledge to the future of medicine.
Additional Information For further details concerning Dr. Mirolo’s academic and professional pursuits, please refer to LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hughmirolomd.