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Dr John P PotokarM.B.,Ch.B.(Birm.), M.R.C.Psych., MD(Bristol)

Consultant Senior Lecturer

John Potokar

Dr John P PotokarM.B.,Ch.B.(Birm.), M.R.C.Psych., MD(Bristol)

Consultant Senior Lecturer

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Research interests

My research reflects my clinical practice as a consultant in general hospital psychiatry at the Bristol Royal Infirmary. Mood disorders are much more prevalent in this population for a range of reasons. We are interested in all patients who have conditions that bring them into contact with hospital and where mood is a significant co-morbidity and have active research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Diabetes, and Self-Harm (with Professor David Gunnell). An intriguing example of the mind/brain/body interface is hepatitis c, which is frequently acquired through intravenous drug use. In some cases this behaviour (drug taking) is initiated in an attempt to damp down overwhelming emotional symptoms that reflect early adversity. The virus itself can be associated with negative mood symptoms, but this is greatly magnified by the treatment given for the condition - interferon. This pro-inflamatory cytokine effects serotonin function, and we know from ours and others work that this neurotransmitter is important in maintaining therapeutic response to ssri antidepressants - perturbing it can lead to relapse acutely; further patients with hep C who develop these mood symptoms (sickness behaviour or depression) respond to antidepressants. We are actively exploring this fascinating area, which encompasses neurosciences, psychopharmacology, psychology, and even anthropology; ultimately I hope it will provide insights that will not only help our patients who suffer, but also help elucidate the mechanisms behind and reasons underpinning the behavioural responses we call depression.

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Postal address:
Oakfield House
Oakfield Grove
Clifton
Bristol
United Kingdom