PSYCHIATRY AND CLINICAL NEUROSCIENCES (PCN) is now in the third year since it returned to being the official journal of the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology (JSPN) in 2008. The transfer from Folia Publishing Society to the JSPN has resulted in major remolding of PCN in the structure of the editorial board, the online manuscript submission/reviewing, contents and appearance, which has all been cooperatively effective in making PCN more visible, more influential, more international as a hub journal in general psychiatry in Asian countries.

The editorial board of PCN is composed of 20 field editors assigned to 10 fields, and all submitted manuscripts are reviewed and evaluated for their scientific value under the responsibility of the field editor. Last year PCN published 7 Review Articles, 85 Regular Articles, 15 Short Communications and 35 Letters to the Editor. In total PCN published 142 articles in six issues, which was only 35% of manuscripts received in 2009. Global infiltration of PCN is evidenced by the fact that 54% of Regular Articles in PCN were from countries outside Japan, such as Taiwan, Korea, Mainland China, Turkey, Finland, Brazil, and others. PCN received almost double the number of submissions, probably due to the on-line manuscript submission/review system. We expect that this trend for international communication through PCN will surely benefit the progress in psychiatry and clinical neurosciences in Asian regions and the world.

Last year PCN published ‘PCN Frontier Review’, selected review articles by top scientists and opinion leaders in this field. We are thankful to the authors of PCN Frontier Review for their contribution of excellent papers that make PCN more informative and valuable to our readers.

Dr Hidenori Yamasue et al., Department of Neuropsychiatry, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, contributed, ‘Oxytocin, sexually dimorphic features of the social brain, and autism’1 in which they reviewed the common features of autism spectrum disorder, a highly heritable representative pervasive developmental disorder with significant heterogeneity and multiple-genetic factors. They tried to integrate recent neuroimaging studies into the common features among patients with autism spectrum disorders, such as severe dysfunction in social reciprocity, abnormalities in social brain regions, and disproportionately low probability in the female gender. Combining the findings of sexually dimorphic factors, including oxytocin, vasopressin, and genes linked with the x-chromosome, they proposed the hypothesis that a sexually dimorphic factor associated with social reciprocity could affect characteristics of autism spectrum disorder including dysfunction in social reciprocity, abnormalities in social brain regions, and a disproportionately low probability in the female gender.

Dr Akira Monji et al., Department of Neuropsychiatry, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, contributed a review article, ‘Cytokines and schizophrenia: Microglia hypothesis of schizophrenia,’2 in which they proposed a hypothesis explaining the unknown etiological process of schizophrenia integrating a growing amount of evidence for neuroinflammation and immunogenetics, which are characterized by an increased serum concentration of several pro-inflammatory cytokines. Despite the fact that microglia comprise only <10% of the total brain cells, microglia respond rapidly to even minor pathological changes in the brain and may contribute directly to the neuronal degeneration by producing various pro-inflammatory cytokines and free radicals. In many aspects, the neuropathology of schizophrenia has recently been reported to be closely associated with microglial activation. Previous studies have shown the inhibitory effects of some typical/atypical antipsychotics on the release of inflammatory cytokines and free radicals from activated microglia, both of which have recently been known to cause a decrease in neurogenesis as well as white matter abnormalities in the brains of patients with schizophrenia. The microglia hypothesis of schizophrenia may shed new light on the therapeutic strategy for schizophrenia.

We are especially thankful to Professor Hans-Jürgen Möller, International Advisory Board of PCN, Department of Psychiatry, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany, who contributed an excellent paper entitled, ‘Development of DSM-V and ICD-11: Tendencies and potential of new classifications in psychiatry at the current state of knowledge.’3 Professor Möller expressed his concern about the revisional process in ICD-10 and DSM-IV, suggesting that the increase of knowledge, for example in the field of neurogenetics, is of such magnitude that a revision of the psychiatric classification is necessary and promises to be fruitful. The current plans for DSM-V or ICD-11, respectively, focus on different improvements. In this context also, the introduction of a purely syndromatic/dimensional approach without including etiopathogenetic hypotheses, is discussed. A switch to such a dimensional approach, which was discussed among others in the DSM-V task force, Deconstructing Psychosis, would be the most radical development. It could avoid many theoretical pre-assumptions about causal hypotheses, which are still associated with ICD-10 and DSM-IV. This would indeed increase the validity of psychiatric classification, but it would also reduce the information as compared to traditional diagnostic categories with all the current implications concerning etiopathogenesis, therapy and prognosis. Such a dimensional approach would also mean that the syndromes would have to be assessed in a standardized way for each person seeking help from the psychiatric service system or for each person undergoing psychiatric research. This would have to be a multi-dimensional assessment covering all syndromes existing within different psychiatric disorders. Based on the different aspects that must be considered in this context, a careful revision seems more advisable than a radical change of classification.

In addition to PCN Frontier Review papers, PCN has picked up several articles as free-online articles4–9 because we believe they are good enough to be read by our colleagues all over the world. We are thankful to those authors who have contributed quality articles to PCN. This is the only way for PCN to be an important journal in this field, and that is exactly the way we are heading.

JSPN has started the Folia Prize in commemoration of the name of the society that kept publishing PCN for many years on a voluntary basis until PCN returned to being the official journal of the JSPN. The Folia Prize is awarded to the first author of the best article published in PCN each year. The best paper in PCN is selected by the selecting committee purely on scientific value, regardless of the nationality of the author. It is the prize authorized by the JSPN, and the winner of the Folia Prize will be invited to give his/her presentation at the annual JSPN meeting in a major city of Japan, and will be given a stipend of 100,000 JPY to be used for a trip to the venue of the JSPN meeting, usually organized in May of the next year.

The winner of the 2008 Folia Prize is Dr Sakae Takahashi, Department of Neuropsychiatry, Nihon University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan, who is the first author of the Regular Article in PCN entitled ‘Impairment of exploratory eye movement in schizophrenia patients and their siblings.’10 Dr Takahashi et al. reported the study of exploratory eye movement (EEM) abnormalities and genetic markers of schizophrenia. Twenty-three probands with schizophrenia, 23 of their healthy siblings (23 proband–sibling pairs), and 43 unrelated normal controls performed EEM tasks. Two parameters were measured: (i) the number of eye fixations in responsive search (NEFRS); and (ii) the responsive search score (RSS). They reported that abnormalities in NEFRS and RSS were more frequent in schizophrenia probands than in their unaffected siblings and in normal controls, and were also more frequent in the healthy siblings than in normal controls, showing the EEM test performances of the healthy siblings were intermediate between those of the probands with schizophrenia and those of normal controls. Their report indicates that the use of EEM parameters as an endophenotype for schizophrenia may facilitate linkage and association studies in schizophrenia.

The winner of the 2009 Folia Prize will be determined by the selecting committee and will be announced in a few months. The winner of the 2008 Folia Prize, Dr Sakae Takahashi, and the winner of the 2009 prize will be invited to give their presentation at the annual meeting of the JSPN in Hiroshima City in May 2010.

We believe PCN is steadily advancing step-by-step in the direction of becoming the major journal in general psychiatry with good collaboration among readers, authors, and the editorial board of PCN. Owing to the dedicated work of the field editors of PCN, we have made significant achievement in these years. Without the dedicated expertise and time of the field editors on a voluntary basis, PCN could not have achieved this success. Special thanks go to Dr Shuji Honjo, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan, a field editor in child and adolescent psychiatry, who is retiring from the Editorial Board.


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