A Word from the Department Head
A Word from the Department Head
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A Word from the Department Head

Welcome to the Department of Neuropsychiatry of the Faculty of Life Sciences at Kumamoto University

Minoru Takebayashi
 Thank you for visiting our website. I was appointed as the 8th instructor of this course on July 1st, 2018. Kumamoto University's Department of Neuropsychiatry began in 1904 and is a course with a long tradition. The course has covered treatment, research, and training in biological neuropsychiatry in a variety of instances, including schizophrenia and Alzheimer's postmortem brain research; surveys and research on Minamata disease and the Miike Coal Dust Explosion; and clinical research on dementia. I have treated a variety of psychiatric disorders and researched mood disorders at places like the NHO Kure Medical Center and Chugoku Cancer Center in Hiroshima Prefecture.
 Being a psychiatrist is a very appealing profession, as you must approach treatment holistically and work together with patients to make progress. This work affords for the development of new diagnosis and treatment methods, plus the opportunity to apply ideas of brain science and its potential to unlock the mysteries of the mind.

Achieving Optimal Care

 Medical care involves the careful balance of four methods: psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, neuromodulation therapy, and psychiatric rehabilitation. We provide optimal care through multidisciplinary medical teams comprised not just of psychiatrists, but nurses, psychotherapists, occupational therapists, and psychiatric social workers. One of our main roles as a Psychiatry Department at a general hospital is to provide liaison psychiatry for psychiatry patients with physical impairments by working together with other departments. For cancer patients especially, we provide comprehensive mental and physical care by adding a psychiatrist to the palliative care team. For dementia, Kumamoto University is a leader in Japan, with 12 dementia treatment facilities in Kumamoto Prefecture offering early-stage diagnosis and thorough medical care.
 For diagnoses, instead of simple understanding of the normal symptoms of a disease, we actively incorporate objective methods (psychological testing, brain imaging, optical topography scanning, blood tests, cerebrospinal fluid tests, etc.) that are easily understood by the patient, their family, and other medical professionals in order to provide accurate diagnoses. Only the medicines most suited for each patient are used, and their use is carefully reviewed based on comparisons with the latest pharmacological findings and past experience. For schizophrenia and mood disorders that only see minimal improvement, we are actively using clozapine (a drug effective when other methods have minimal success) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to provide optimal care.

Training Expert Psychiatrists

 In the 10 years since I obtained my license to practice medicine, my goal has been to train experts in psychiatry who possess both independence and objectivity. We offer a flexible rotation program based on an Early Research Program (2 years), a Specialist Research Program (3 years), and a Graduate School/Sub-specialty Research Program (4 years) to those looking to obtain any of three certifications: psychiatric specialist, designated mental health doctor, or a diploma (doctor of medicine). Kumamoto University Hospital is the only advanced treatment hospital in Kumamoto Prefecture. It has a total of 848 beds, 50 of which are for psychiatry (38 in the open unit, 12 in the closed unit). There are a variety of psychiatric cases, including those stemming from external, internal, and psychogenic factors, making Kumamoto University Hospital an excellent place for research. Our psychiatric specialist program consists of work at three locations: 1. Kumamoto University Hospital (main), 2. a psychiatry department at an affiliated general hospital, and 3. a psychiatric hospital. This is so that you are able to train as a specialist in different settings. After your fifth year, we provide comprehensive support so that you are able to quickly obtain certification as a psychiatry specialist or designated mental health doctor.
 Also, because psychiatry is a field where objectivity is difficult to quantify, training in scientific thinking to foster your sense of objectivity as a psychiatrist is essential. Through clinical conferences, research conferences, academic conference presentations, case report papers, etc., in the specialist training program, you will learn the rudimentary processes of scientific thinking. Then, through brain science research at graduate school, you will further improve your scientific thought process skills. Your research will change how you think clinically. Through this, I hope that you will become an independent, expert psychiatrist. Also, because we accept medical students and first-year post-graduate researchers at the Kumamoto University Department of Neuropsychiatry, we provide financial support through our Shibasaburo Program. This program allows participants to complete both post-graduate clinical training and graduate school at the same time in four years. Please contact us if you are interested.
 The training program is provided on a flexible rotation model that matches each doctor's traits and interests. We can provide semi-customized training programs that include visits to specialist institutions and both domestic and international student exchange. For women doctors thinking about pregnancy or raising children, we place maximum consideration on building a career that properly balances both work and private life.

Contribution to medical care that fuses psychiatry and brain science

 The fact that diagnosis and treatment is difficult is something commonly encountered in clinical settings. Average people do not understand enough about psychiatric disorders, which frequently burdens the patients with disadvantages. One mission of a psychiatrist is to apply the constantly progressing experimental medicine and brain science findings to clinical settings to develop new diagnostic and treatment methods and contribute back to clinical medicine, psychiatry, and diagnostics. If we were able to explain psychiatric disorders in the same manner that we are able to explain physical disorders, this could possibly decrease the disadvantages our patients face. As such, I believe psychiatrists must be well-informed about both clinical and basic medicine, and must work hard to continue to fuse these together. For me, while I was at Kure Medical Center, I believed in "bedside-to-bench" and "bench-to-bedside," and I discovered candidate blood and spinal fluid biomarkers from a new perspective that contribute to the glial cell and inflammatory processes in mood disorder (e.g., depression) pathology. I also discovered a new site of action of antidepressants is lysophosphatidic acid receptor 1 (LPA1) on glial cells. Luckily, Kumamoto University has a traditionally strong foundation in basic medicine, and through close work with other clinical and experimental medicine labs (like the Kazuya Iwamoto Lab of the Department of Molecular Brain Science, Faculty of Life Sciences), I hope you will try to contribute back to medical care under the philosophy of bedside-to-bench and bench-to-bedside at Kumamoto University.
 Kumamoto University is in Kumamoto City, which is centrally located on the island of Kyushu and easily accessible. Kumamoto is a very nice place, with wonderful outdoor spots like Amakusa and Aso nearby and very kind people. I know this is just the start, but I'd love it if you joined us to work together here at Kumamoto University. I hope that your visit to this site becomes the start of a fruitful relationship with your instructors and peers at Kumamoto University.

August 2018

Department of Neuropsychiatry, Faculty of Life Sciences,
Kumamoto University

ProfessorMinoru Takebayashi

Profile: Minoru Takebayashi

Kumamoto University Hospital

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