The Cochrane Schizophrenia Group

China; a research superpower, but we could be left in dark

By Rebecca Syed, Research Fellow at King’s College London and an Editor for the CSzG

Over the past 25 years we have seen an explosion in top-level clinical trials in China. But only a tiny proportion of that research is available on the main databases used by doctors and researchers in the UK, Australia and the US. It means we could be missing out on evidence for potential medical breakthroughs.

There have been some high-profile cases in China of dodgy research, such as one poorly conducted trial (that didn’t even have ethical approval), but the Chinese have taken steps to improve research integrity. And we have to recognise research misconduct as a global issue.

I conducted a survey of low to middle-income countries randomised control trials in mental health. These studies are modelled very carefully and considered the gold standard of evidence for medical treatments. The survey involved laboriously hand searching databases in each region and in each language. Pretty dry stuff but as it turns out, very important. In China they increased by more than seven times between 1991 and 2000. Read the rest of this entry »

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Enter the dragon: welcoming China’s first mental health law

By Steph Sampson, Systematic Reviewer for CSzG


China (Photo credit: andy castro)

Research by the WHO has shown that mental health problems have overtaken cancer and heart disease in terms of ‘burden’ on the Chinese healthcare system. Approximately 7% of the population (1.35 billion people) are affected by mental illness and up until now, only five cities in China held municipal mental health regulations, with no concrete national legislation.

On October 26 2012, the first national mental health law of the People’s Republic of China was adopted by the National People’s Congress, after almost 27 years of planning and drafting. This signifies an incredibly huge step into the realm of recognition of individual rights for people with mental disorders. But what does this law mean for people with mental illnesses in China? Read the rest of this entry »