UCT researchers pick up review prize

18 August 2006

Doctoral researcher Jonathan Ipser has been named as the winner of the 2006 Kenneth Warren Prize.

Ipser, based in the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health and a member of UCT's Brain Behaviour Initiative (BBI), won the prize for an update of the review Pharmacotherapy for Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In the article, he gave an overview of randomised trials for the treatment of PTSD with medication, working from both published and unpublished findings.

Ipser co-authored the piece with UCT's Professor Dan Stein and Professor Soraya Seedat of the Medical Research Council's Research Unit on Anxiety and Stress Disorders, located in the Psychiatry Department of the University of Stellenbosch.

The Kenneth Warren Prize is awarded by the international Cochrane Collaboration to the author or co-author of a high-quality review article that touches on health problems in developing countries. The review has been published in the collaboration's Database of Systematic Reviews, part of the Cochrane Library.

The team's work was singled out from the 65 eligible reviews published in the database in the latter half of 2005 and the first half of 2006. Through these reviews, the Cochrane Collaboration aims to help people make evidence-informed decisions about health care.

While the award would normally have gone to Stein as the paper's principal author, he recommended that it be made instead to Ipser, who will receive a winner's certificate, a cheque for US$1 000 and also financial support for registration, travel and accommodation expenses to the XIV Cochrane Colloquium in Dublin in October.

This year is the second time the six-year old Kenneth Warren Prize has gone to a South African team. That's particularly gratifying for the writers.

"I think it reflects our focus on issues that are of particular relevance to the developing world and Africa," says Stein. "It demonstrates our concern with primary-care issues, and with evidence-based health services."

The winning article brings together two strands of work at the heart of the BBI, says Stein - the importance of psychological trauma as a public health problem, as well as the relevance of modern neuroscience-based interventions.

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