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Collaboration between psychiatry and neurology encouraged

By Niamh Quinlan - 06th May 2022

psychiatry and neurology
Collaboration between psychiatry and neurology encouraged

College of Psychiatrists of Ireland, Spring Meeting, Lyrath Estate Hotel, Kilkenny, 7-8 April 2022.

The benefits of psychiatry working alongside neurology in order to pinpoint accurate diagnoses were heard at the CPI Spring Meeting. 

At the ‘Fronto-temporal dementia: What the psychiatrist needs to know’ session of the meeting, Prof Brian Lawlor, Deputy Executive Director, Global Brain Health Institute, said: “I think that has huge overlap between psychiatry and neurology.” 

Prof Brian Lawlor

“Over the last 20/30 years, I think there’s much greater appreciation of the psychological and social aspects of neurological disorders by neurologists,” Prof Lawlor said. 

“We’re seeing very clearly the prominent neuro-psychiatric features of neurological conditions… a better understanding of brain science, behaviour and all of this, I think, is bringing a more collaborative sense between psychiatry and neurology. I think that’s very much welcome.” 

Neurological research progress can aid in the diagnosis of behavioural variant fronto-temporal dementia (BVFTD). These include the use of functional structural imaging and the potential for blood biomarkers, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers and genetic markers. 

“That’s very important information that needs to come from neurology to psychiatry; again, another reason why we need to collaborate together,” said Prof Lawlor. 

Further knowledge around brain circuitry, networks and the brain science of psychiatric phenomena from neurology, utilising data from FTD, shows the importance of psychiatry and neurology working together “in a collaborative way, particularly in improving the care and management of people with FTD”, the professor added. 

Prof Geraldine McCarthy, Chair of the session and Consultant in Psychiatry of Old Age, Sligo, said diagnostic uncertainty can highlight “the importance of engaging with your colleagues in neurology and in geriatric medicine as well”. 

Prof McCarthy said she would often hold “a complex case meeting” with neurologists to discuss cases and look at brain scans in detail. “You need to think about it to consider it as an option,” she added. 

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