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IMH Lunchtime Seminar - Dr Clara Humpston and Markella Grigoriou

Old Gym LG06
Lectures Talks and Workshops, Life and Environmental Sciences, Research
Monday 10th February 2020 (13:00-14:00)
Download the date to your calendar (.ics file)


We are pleased to invite you to the next instalment of our IMH Lunchtime Seminar Series on Monday 10 February with talks from Dr Clara Humpston and Markella Grigoriou from the University of Birmingham.

Talk 1:

Dr Clara Humpston is a Research Fellow in Youth Mental Health Methodology at the Institute for Mental Health. Her research interests mainly focus on schizophrenia-spectrum psychoses, although she is also interested in novel therapies for affective disorders. Her research experiences span from psychopharmacology to cognitive neuropsychiatry to phenomenology, and is heavily involved with the International Consortium for Hallucination Research. She is a strong proponent of inter- and multidisciplinary approaches and values the importance of multiple lines of scientific inquiry in mental health research.

Talk title: Thinking, believing and hallucinating self in schizophrenia

Abstract: In this talk Clara will discuss the history and concepts of self-disturbance in relation to the pathophysiology and subjective experience of schizophrenia in terms of three approaches:

  1. The perceptual anomalies approach of the Early Heidelberg School of Psychiatry
  2. The more recent ipseity (minimal self) model
  3. The predictive coding framework

Despite their importance, there has been a notable absence of efforts to compare them and to consider how they might be integrated. Clara views self-disturbances as transformations of self that form the inseparable background against which psychotic symptoms emerge. Integrating computational psychiatric approaches with those employed by phenomenologists in the first two approaches listed above, Clara argues that delusions and hallucinations are inferences produced under ‘extraordinary’ conditions and are both statistically and experientially as real for patients as other mental events. Such inferences still approximate Bayes-optimality given the circumstances and may be the only ones available the patient’s brain can use to minimise prediction error. Lastly, Clara will briefly discuss how the dialogue between neuroscience and phenomenology may improve clinical practice.

Talk 2:

Markella Grigoriou is a PhD student at the IMH whose research focusses on how the core negative symptoms of blunted affect and social withdrawal link to suicide in people with schizophrenia. A secondary aim is to examine biomarkers using functional MRI. During her time as PhD student she worked in several projects such as Birmingham Project with IBM whereas she won the first prize by implementing AI to solve social problems with the team she was leading.  Additionally, she works as teaching assistant in Medical School and Psychology Department, teaching undergraduate modules on decision making in clinical practice, bioethics, neuroscience of belief formation and research methods. She is also a part-time researcher in Early Intervention Team at Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS.

Title: Lack of emotion expression and social withdrawal:  How do they associate with suicide in schizophrenia?

Abstract: Schizophrenia is among the top 10 disabling conditions worldwide for young people, with serious and life-impacting consequences. One of the biggest challenges in schizophrenia is completed suicide. Approximately 40% of premature and unnatural deaths in schizophrenia have been attributed to suicide and around 12% of suicides worldwide are attributable to schizophrenia. Factors such as positive symptoms, depression, and hopelessness have been suggested as suicide risk factors. However, not much research has been done on negative symptoms in schizophrenia and whether they link to suicide. I hypothesize that certain negative symptoms, such as blunted affect and social withdrawal might be potential suicide risk factors for suicide in schizophrenia as they link to conditions such as hopelessness but also impact significantly social interaction which is one of the main mechanisms that keeps us alive.

Drinks and refreshments will be provided and all welcome to attend.

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