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Medical Health Aged Care, Mental Health

Monash University, The Florey and University of Melbourne experts: World Schizophrenia Day

Monash University 3 mins read
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Monash University, The Florey and University of Melbourne experts: World Schizophrenia Day

Today is World Schizophrenia Day, an annual day dedicated to raising awareness of the mental illness that affects over 20 million people worldwide. 

Schizophrenia is a complex brain condition which can be challenging to treat. Experts in treatments for mental illness from Monash University, The Florey and University of Melbourne are available for comment.

Professor Christos Pantelis, Chair of Neuropsychiatry, University of Melbourne

Contact: Danielle Galvin M: +61 (0)439 301 953 / 


  • Research to identify underlying neurological signatures in the brains of people living with schizophrenia is providing new avenues of inquiry and has the potential to inform appropriate care.
  • One example of recent progress is a new brain imaging technique that tests the links between higher iron levels in the brains of patients with schizophrenia, which can adversely affect the function of neurons and their connections.
  • Treatment resistant schizophrenia can be a great challenge for clinicians and families but there are potential new treatments on the horizon.


The following quotes can be attributed to Professor Pantelis:


“Over the last twenty years there has been enormous progress in our understanding of what is happening in the brain at a neurological level in people who live with schizophrenia”.


“Research in this area promises to help the development of new treatments in particular for patients who have not benefited from the currently available treatments.”

Professor Chris Langmead, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, CEO of Phrenix Therapeutics

Contact: M: +61 (0)417 959083 / E:   

  • How there are currently no effective treatments for certain symptoms of schizophrenia, including some of the lesser-known symptoms: problems with attention, learning and memory. 
  • What is being done to develop new medicines for impaired cognition in patients living with schizophrenia, which is a core feature of the disease. 
  • The urgent need for Australia to improve outcomes when it comes to translating urgently needed medicines from the basic research stage into the clinic.

The following quotes can be attributed to Professor Langmead:

“Impaired cognition is a hallmark symptom of schizophrenia, and its severity remains the best predictor of their prognosis; however, the development of new safe and effective treatments has remained stagnant.

“There is an urgent unmet medical need to bring together the knowledge and skill-sets of researchers working in the mental health space to identify new drug approaches to improve cognition, particularly for those living with schizophrenia.”

Associate Professor Mahesh Jayaram, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne

Contact: Danielle Galvin M: +61 (0)439 301 953 / 

  •  The onset of schizophrenia often occurs in late adolescence, early adulthood when the brain is still developing.
  • Early detection can make a crucial difference in outcomes and there are subtle signs and risk factors that can signal the symptoms of early onset of schizophrenia.
  • Reaching out to a GP/healthcare professional when you first notice these signs can assist with getting help and intervention early.


The following quotes can be attributed to Associate Professor Jayaram:


“A diagnosis of schizophrenia can be extremely difficult for patients and their families, however early detection and comprehensive treatment dramatically increases the chances of recovery and enables the individual to lead a good quality of life.


“Things like altered sleep patterns, altered mood, anxiety, behavioural changes, and failing at school or a deterioration in functioning at work can be early signs of schizophrenia, and the most commonly associated risk factors have been identified as genetic factors, trauma and substance use, for example cannabis.”

Associate Professor Jess Nithianantharajah, Neuroscientist and Mental Health Research Lead, The Florey

Contact: Georgia Brown, 0431113346 / 


  • What we have uncovered about the biological changes in the brain in schizophrenia and how these impact mental processes such as problem-solving and decision-making.
  •  Building our fundamental knowledge of how the brain works in a healthy state compared to when it is affected by a condition like schizophrenia is key to discovering new treatments.

The following quote can be attributed to Associate Professor Jess Nithianantharajah:

“More than 20 million people worldwide live with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and experience cognitive symptoms, for which we currently have no effective treatments. There is no one-size-fits-all therapy that works for all individuals. Therefore, there is a major unmet need to understand the biological changes that underpin different symptoms to generate improved treatment options that can better target these symptoms in a personalised way.”


For any other topics on which you may be seeking expert comment, please contact the Monash University Media team on +61 3 9903 4840 or 



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