A roadmap for a new diagnostic framework for mental disorders

About the meetingECNP audience
The ECNP New Frontiers Meeting 2024 will be held from 17-18 March 2024 in Nice, France.

Current nosology for the diagnosis of neuropsychiatric disorders separates each into non-overlapping diagnostic categories. This separation is not based on their underlying aetiology but on convention based clustering of qualitative symptoms of the disorder. While these diagnostic categories are sufficient to provide the basis for general clinical management, they do not describe the underlying neurobiology that gives rise to individual symptoms. The ability to precisely link these symptoms to underlying neurobiology would not only facilitate the development of better treatments, it would also allow physicians to provide patients with a better understanding of the complexities and management of their illness. To realise this ambition, a paradigm shift is needed to raise awareness and to build an understanding of how neuropsychiatric diagnoses can be based on quantitative biological parameters. However, the main difficulty in the construction of biologically valid diagnoses is the lack of objective biomarkers. Moreover, the uncertain relationship between diagnosis and underlying aetiology has created difficulties for aetiological research and made the generation of appropriate disease models and development of targeted treatments very difficult. As aetiological research progresses, there has been a rethinking of these diagnostic boundaries and their usefulness in treatment and classification of neuropsychiatric disorders. This is partly based on the notion that there is clinically heterogeneity within diagnoses and more aetiological overlap between psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders than previously thought, and that they may better be described as domains of cross-disorder-related traits rather than separable categories (Kas et al., 2007; Insel and Cuthbert, 2015).
Therefore, the New Frontiers Meeting 2024 aims to discuss the rationale, outlook and consequences of a new diagnostic framework that is based on a quantitative biological approach to the understanding and classification of neuropsychiatric diseases to accelerate the discovery and development of better treatments for patients.

New Frontiers Concept

Neuroscience is facing a crisis in the translation of fundamental advances into new treatments. The crisis has seen a significant slowing-down in the development of new and better therapies, and widespread disinvestment from the field, especially in Europe. The ECNP New Frontiers Meeting was launched to help tackle this critical challenge. As Europe’s leading independent scientific association for the science and treatment of disorders of the brain, ECNP is in a unique position to provide a neutral, precompetitive platform for the exchange of insights and ideas across the spectrum of CNS research and development.

Previous meetings

Check the previous ECNP New Frontiers Meetings here: