Fighting the scourge of mental illness means giving psychiatry the kind of boost that physics got from the Higgs hunt
by Nick Craddock
Recently, some colleagues and I launched a report, Strengthening Academic Psychiatry in the UK, and found ourselves justifying how psychiatry had acquired – and was still struggling to shrug off – the label of a “vulnerable academic discipline”. There were particular concerns about a fall in academic recruitment and unfilled academic posts.
Compare this with a field like physics. At just one frontier, it has a standard model that describes particles, Higgs field theory, the search for the Higgs boson and the Large Hadron Collider. These constitute a clear narrative: there is a global collaborative search for a “missing” particle based on fundamental theory, using a large and expensive piece of equipment that allows experimental testing of this and other predictions. This heady mix understandably makes physics a popular career choice.
Psychiatry, on the other hand, started the new millennium a few hundred years behind physics. But the decade that followed saw radical change, and set the stage for an intense period of catch-up. It is not fanciful to describe what will happen as the equivalent of some 200 to 300 years of progress being compressed into 20 to 30 years. This corresponds to the period of greatest productivity in a scientist or clinician’s career, so someone starting research now stands to make great headway (….)
…. Read more at http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21829140.200-psychiatry-needs-its-higgs-boson-moment.html