Schizophrenia Research Forum - A Catalyst for Creative Thinking

ICOSR 2009—The Schizophrenia Facts: Richard Wyatt's Legacy, Live and Virtual

26 March 2009. In addition to news reports and slidecasts of plenary talks from the upcoming International Congress on Schizophrenia Research, March 30 to April 1 in San Diego, SRF is excited to be bringing the research community a multimedia, interactive discussion of the "facts" of schizophrenia. On Sunday, March 30, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., we will webcast a workshop called "Body of Knowledge: The Purposes, Approaches and Outcome of Appraising What We Know about Schizophrenia," while simultaneously unveiling multiple, subject matter-specific chatrooms—custom-created by our talented development team!—for discussion of the proceedings. Although the video proceedings are open to all, access to the chat portion of this event is limited to preregistered professionals (more information at the registration page). A separate event, covering the same territory, will be arranged later this year for consumers and other lay people.

Marshalling the facts
In 1988, a team led by Richard J. Wyatt at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, DC, wrote, "Schizophrenia, Just the Facts" for the inaugural issue of the journal Schizophrenia Research (Wyatt et al., 1988). Ten years later, Wyatt was joined by Matcheri Keshavan of Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, and Rajiv Tandon, then at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, in developing a more extensive list of facts, subsequently evaluated at a two-day colloquium by a group of leading researchers (Tandon, 1999).

"Dick and I initiated an effort in 2001 to update the facts and expand its discussion in readiness for the 20th anniversary of the initial publication," Tandon told SRF in an e-mail interview. With Wyatt's unfortunate death in 2002, Tandon and Keshavan were joined on the project by Schizophrenia Research editor, Henry Nasrallah. This effort culminated in three papers published in the journal last year (Tandon et al., 2008a; Tandon et al., 2008b; Keshavan et al., 2008).

In the same spirit, a group of researchers at University of Minnesota, led by Angus MacDonald and S. Charles Schulz, started a parallel effort to get a grasp on the knowledge base of schizophrenia. As part of their process, they published a working list of What We Know About Schizophrenia at Schizophrenia Research Forum in 2007. Following commentary on this body of knowledge by members of the community, they have prepared a paper that will be published in Schizophrenia Bulletin.

Mashed up: What we know about What We Know
The two groups will convene at the 2009 ICOSR to discuss these efforts at the workshop "Body of Knowledge: The Purposes, Approaches and Outcome of Appraising What We Know about Schizophrenia." The emphasis will be on the different processes followed by each group; i.e., they will not be combing through and evaluating each bit of knowledge. The researchers will ask the community to join them in developing an effective system to update the knowledge and hypotheses about schizophrenia.

In keeping with SRF's quest to provide researchers with free access to critical research and discussion, the proceedings will be carried live by videocast at SRF. We are especially excited about a new technology "mashup" created by our technical team, which allows for multiple simultaneous discussions of different areas of research in separate chatrooms. Whether you are sitting in the audience in San Diego, or at your desk in New York, Munich, or Tokyo, you can discuss the presentations in real time. During the last hour of the workshop, the moderators will directly address questions raised by you and your colleagues in the chatrooms.

You must be registered in advance to participate in the chat discussions. There is no registration fee for the chat; however, if you do not have a login and password, you will not be able to enter the chatrooms (more information at the registration page).

Important Note: This particular airing of What We Know About Schizophrenia is reserved for professionals; a separate session for consumers, family members, and the general public will be organized later this year. If you are in the San Diego area, please attend the free Family Forum symposium, Sunday, March 29, 2009, 12:00 to 3:00 p.m., at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, sponsored by the ICOSR, NAMI, SRF, and NARSAD on Sunday (see registration page). SRF will also videotape and make this general public forum available after the meeting.—Hakon Heimer.