World Psychiatric Association Congress – Berlin 8th to 12th October 2017
A huge and impressive conference centre at Messe Berlin was the setting for the 2017 World Psychiatric Association XVII World Congress of Psychiatry from October 8th to 12th. The huge programme often means that there are more than 30 sessions running in parallel and there were several highlights for those working in sport and exercise psychiatry.
Workshop with Dan Begel, David Baron & Thomas Wenzel. Monday October 9th.
A workshop on Monday 9th October brought together Dan Begel, David Baron and Thomas Wenzel -3 leaders in world sports psychiatry. Among the topics discussed were the relationship between sports psychiatry and sports psychology and boundary and confidentiality issues for the practicing sports psychiatrist. Dr Wengel also drew attention to recent work by the WPA exercise and sports section on educational programmes and position statements of relevance to sport.
Subconcussive Head Injury. Monday October 9th.
Later the same day in a brain imaging, neurophysiology and psychotherapy session Inga Koerte presented an overview of imaging in sports related sub-concussive head injury. She began by pointing out that conventional imaging is usually unhelpful in minor traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Instead many parameters need to be considered to build the jigsaw – including looking at structure, function, connectivity and biochemistry. In building a picture she reported on the tensor tractography and neuro-inflammatory markers.
The impact of exercise on psychiatric disorders. Wednesday October 11th.
At an exercise psychiatry session on Wednesday Andreas Strohle reported on the similarities in biological effects and mechanisms when comparing exercise and antidepressant drug actions. He called for future work to look at the effects of combining exercise therapy with psychotherapy and to embed exercise interventions into clinical practice.
Later in the same session Karsten Henkel reviewed the effects of exercise on the mind and brain. Psychological effects such as habituation, reducing ruminative time, increasing self-efficacy and providing rewarding distractions all seem important and are complemented by neurobiological effects on endorphins, BDNF, the HPA axis and in monoamine regulation.
Mental health: the role of exercise and sport. Wednesday October 11th.
In a session on Wednesday afternoon speakers included prominent members of the International Society for Sport Psychiatry, Dan Begel and Dave Conant-Norville and the current chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Sport and Exercise Psychiatry Group, Alan Currie.
Dan Begel founded the International Society for Sport Psychiatry in the early 90s and is editor with Bob Burton of the first textbook of Sport Psychiatry. His presentation entitled ‘Mental Wellness in youth sports; implications for psychiatric and primary care’ reported on a recently developed programme for youth sports teams. The programme aims to improve understanding of the importance of mental health.
David Conant-Norville is based in Oregon USA and has done much work on the connection between ADHD and youth sports. His talk entitled ‘Treatment of common child psychopathology in primary care using taekwondo’ was extremely well received and a helpful practical illustration of how exercise programmes can be incorporated into mainstream practice.
Alan Currie described recent work on helping athletes to sustain their mental health and illustrated this with clinical examples in a talk entitled ‘Sports Psychiatry and Prehabilitation’. Aspects of this work will soon appear in a CME/CPD module hosted by the UK Royal College of Psychiatrists and available to college members.