Soul, Newsletter, is a quarterly periodical. Soul Newsletter aims to address areas which lie at the periphery of mental health. It also experiments blending science with art and age old healing traditions in mysticism and spirituality. It is expected to fill the void in the current paradigms of knowledge-base and serve as the soul of psychiatry.
The theme for this edition, Genomics, Genetics of Mental Disorders and Biotechnology, is consciously chosen to highlight the discourse in this area and connect various research stakeholders across disciplines. We are pleasantly surprised to realise that some very skilled people are working in this area. What is needed, 1) to develop collaborative projects in areas of high priority as measured by burden of illness 2) training programmes to develop research capacity. The field of genetic research has proliferated after completion of Human Genome Project. Many Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNPs) has been identified as contributing to the aetiology of schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and other mood disorders. This has been more like looking for a needle in hay stack, in fact epigenetic factors, as contributing to genetic basis of diseases or faulty protein coding, is the new area of inquiry. Genes interact with environment to give rise to diseased phenotype.
Much of the work, to identify basis of mental subnormality and other childhood onset learning disabilities, has also advanced with funding into biotech research. This has value in prevention of diseases. Pakistan, with its unique sociocultural milieu of inter-marriage, has huge burden of disease due to mental retardation. While it’s common place to ask a trainee psychiatrist to demonstrate proficiency in genetic counselling in certifying exam, little is done in term of public health impact, research into the cause and consequences of such conditions.
We envision that time is not far when we will have a fellowship in biotechnology as a career in psychiatric research besides the clinical fellowship. Such models may not exist so far, but it’s a unique need of our Country to train young people in this emerging world of science.
To read full editorial https://www.soulnewsletter.com/editorial-corruption-vs-competence/
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