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  1. Andrea E Cavanna
  1. The Barberry National Centre for Mental Health, Department of Neuropsychiatry, 25 Vincent Drive Birmingham B15 2FG, United Kingdom


Objective Since its establishment in 1987, the British Neuropsychiatry Association (BNPA) has gathered clinicians and researchers with special interest in neuropsychiatry and behavioural neurology. The association regularly invites abstract submissions on neuropsychiatry research topics to its yearly Annual General Meeting (AGM). These spontaneous contributions mainly reflect research interests of the BNPA members and their analysis can provide an overview on the recent research trends of British neuropsychiatry.

Method The author reviewed the BNPA-AGM Programmes and Abstract Books, as well as the Proceedings published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry over the last ten years (2004–2013), in order to identify the research topics of all abstracts accepted for oral or poster presentation.

Results A total of 186 research abstracts were presented at BNPA-AGM over the last decade. The mean number of abstracts was 19 per year. The year with the highest number of abstracts was 2011 (n=26), whilst the year with the lowest number was 2004 (n=7). The vast majority of abstracts (n=173, 93.0%) were presented by a corresponding author based in the United Kingdom. The overall distribution of research topics in these abstracts was as follows: Tourette syndrome (n=36, 20.4%), epilepsy (n=26, 14.8%), functional neurological symptoms (n=19, 10.8%), dementias (n=11, 6.2%), acquired brain injury (n=10, 5.7%), Parkinson disease (n=9, 5.1%), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (n=8, 4.5%), Huntington disease (n=6, 3.4%), multiple sclerosis (n=5, 2.8%), attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder (n=3, 1.7%), catatonia (n=2, 1.1%), autistic spectrum disorders (n=2, 1.1%), autoimmune limbic encephalitis (n=2, 1.1%), sleep disorders (n=2, 1.1%), plus systemic lupus erythematosus, chronic fatigue syndrome, headache and addiction (all n=1, 0.6%). Three of these abstracts focused on more than one neuropsychiatric conditions: n=2 on epilepsy and functional neurological symptoms; n=1 on epilepsy and Tourette syndrome. The remaining abstracts (n=31, 17.6%) did not focus on a particular neuropsychiatric condition: these abstracts reported investigations of neurobiological mechanisms/cognitive processes in patients with common psychiatric disorders (n=10) and healthy subjects (n=10), neuropsychiatry service evaluations (n=5), single case reports/case series (n=3) and psychometric studies on the development of scales for behavioural/cognitive symptoms (n=2).

Conclusion The last decade has seen a considerable increase in the number of scientific abstracts presented at the BNPA by researchers based in UK, along with a diversification in the research topics. Specifically, in recent years there has been an increased interest in movement disorders, epilepsy and functional neurological symptoms, reflecting important advances in clinical research focusing on these neuropsychiatric conditions.

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