On winning a prize for my presentation at a Royal College of Psychiatrists conference

by Jessica Henry on 12 July 2018

On May 17th, I won the 3rd prize for my presentation in the medical student category at the Royal College of Psychiatrists Eastern Division Spring Conference 2018. I presented data from my undergraduate degree dissertation in Neuroscience and Mental Health at Imperial College London. The poster was titled 'The Role of a 5HT Agonist in Levodopa-Induced Dyskinesias in Parkinson's Disease Patients', looking at dyskinesias, which are a common side effect associated with chronic administration of our gold standard Parkinson's disease medication, levodopa. Previous studies demonstrated that administration of high doses of the 5HT1A agonist Buspirone prior to levodopa attenuates this disabiling motor complication, but causes intolerable side effects. My study aimed to demonstrate that lower doses of Buspirone could reduce dyskinesias without the occurrence of adverse events, however I was unable to recruit enough participants for the study to be sufficiently powered to detect a statistically significant clinical benefit. I concluded that we had enough evidence to continue recruiting for the study to further investigate the efficacy of lower Buspirone doses. 

At the conference, my poster was shortlisted along with two other medical students to do a ten-minute presentation. I was absolutely terrified when I found out I'd been selected as I had to present to approximately a hundred and twenty consultant psychiatrists and I'd previously never presented to more than ten other students.

I am so proud that I pushed through the nerves to present and afterwards lots of doctors came over to congratulate me, which made me feel really supported. The conference has definitely given me the confidence to put myself forward for more events like this again.

I'd definitely recommend it to any other medical student considering getting involved in psychiatry as all the doctors are very welcoming and there's always the tasty free lunch! The conference runs two times a year, with the next one being the autumn conference on 29th of November. 
Thank you very much to Lucy Cavendish College for supporting me presenting at this conference, it's going to look excellent on my CV and will really help me to continue being involved in neuroscience research throughout my medical career. 

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