The Relevance of Studies in Healthy Human Volunteers for The Development of Novel Antidepressants: Exploring Endophenotypes
Pp. 99-125 (27)
Renato T. Ramos
Comparisons between normal individuals and patients are fundamental to
improving our pathophysiological models of psychiatric disorders and promoting the
development of new treatments. These comparisons are possible by focusing on the
basic constituents of human behavior at different levels of organization. This chapter
discusses the advantages of exploring psychophysiological, neurophysiological, and
psychophysical strategies for the identification of endophenotypes shared by patients
with different diagnosis and normal individuals. An integrative but experimentally
viable approach to cognitive functions like attention, emotions, decision making,
balance control, and social cognition is discussed. The use of new methodologies based
on virtual reality for functional studies are also presented. The objective is to
demonstrate that the search for new drugs, the improvement of diagnostic systems, and
the identification of new endophenotypes are simultaneous and inseparable processes.
The efficiency of this search depends on a close integration of pharmacological,
cognitive, and neurophysiological strategies in clinical and experimental investigations.
Anxiety, Attention, Balance, Diagnostic criteria, Endophenotypes,
Evoked potentials, Normality, Psychophysiology, Psychiatric diagnosis, Social
cognition, Virtual reality.
Frederick Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre. Department of Psychiatry, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto.