The History of Department

The history of Department of Psychiatry, Osaka University, started on April 1, 1894 (Meiji the 27th) when the psychiatric ward was opened in Osaka University Hospital and the Department became independent from the department of internal medicine. The Department was administrated by the first professor of neuropsychiatry, Prof. Kitou Ohnishi (1889-1905). Before the independence of the Department, it is recorded that Professor Ohnishi started his lectures in psychiatry at Osaka Medical School on September 5th, 1889 (Meiji the 22th), almost 11 years before the official launching of the Department. The Department is the second oldest psychiatry department in Japan.

Professor Kitou Ohnishi left Osaka Medical School for Professor Benedict's Department, well-known neurologist in Austria, to learn electric physiology and adopt German neuropsychiatry. After coming back to Japan, he opened his private clinic in Osaka City.

Professor Shinkichi Imamura (1905-1910), then Professor of Neuropsychiatry of Kyoto Imperial University Medical School, chaired the Neuropsychiatry Department of the both universities for seven years, who introduced French school of psychiatry into Japan.

The third Professor of the Department was Professor Toyotane Wada (1910-1941), who led the Department for 33 years since 2008 (Meiji the 41th). His research covered brain organic psychoses such as progressive paralysis, encephalitis, and he paved the tradition of the Department, which is still observed as the research-based clinical activity in neuropsychiatry.

The fourth was Professor Taro Horimi (1941-1955), who studied the mechanism of malaria therapy of psychosis, syphilis reaction (later named as Horimi reaction after his name) and then studied abroad in the laboratory of Professor Bonhoeffer in Germany, then famous professor in reactive psychosis against exogenous stress. Professor Horimi expanded his study of psychiatry into the field of symptomatic psychosis focusing on the role of hypothalamus, and hypophysis, conceptualizing the psycho-soma correlationship in psychiatry.

Unfortunately Professor Taro Horimi died in his youth and Professor Jiro Kaneko (1956-1978), then professor of psychiatry in Nara Medical School was invited as the fifth Professor of the Department in August1956. Professor Kaneko is regarded as a pioneer in psychogeriatrics in Japan. He started his study in geriatric psychiatry with field works revealing that the prevalence rate of senile dementia in Japan was 5-6 %. He proposed that the process of dementia might be classified into three stages; mild, moderate, and severe, which was later incorporated into the WHO classification of dementia. For diagnosis of dementia, he has developed the first scale for dementia, Osaka Intelligent Scale for Aged (OISA) and he also developed a new methodology for measuring cerebral blood flow in dementia patients using Doppler ultrasonography. After his retirement, he served as the president of Kansai Rosai Hospital for seven years until the age of 70. As the president of general hospital, Kaneko devoted himself for development of neuropsychiatry in general hospital, and he founded many academic societies in psychiatry related areas such as the Society of Terminal Care, the Society of General Hospital Psychiatry.

The sixth professor, Tsuyoshi Nishimura (1978-1995) has built up the Department as the center of psychogeriatrics in this country. Professor Nishimura developed neurochemical and biochemical study of senile dementia leading to molecular study of dementia. Professor Nishimura found that soluble proteins become insoluble in dementia brain, and the precipitating proteins are identified as cytoskeletal proteins. He developed a multi-facet integrated scale for dementia (Nishimura Dementia Scale), which is composed of the three scales; N-dementia Scale for cognitive function, N-Mental Scale for objective evaluation of mental function, and N-ADL to assess ADL functions in actual situation. N-Dementia Scale is widely used in clinical settings of dementia study in Japan. Professor Nishimura retired from the Department in March1995, and became the Dean of Department of Human Culture and Science, Koshien University in Takarazuka City, and the Dean of Koshien Junior College in Nishinomiya City until the year of 2008.

The Department is now headed by the seventh Professor of the Department, Masatoshi Takeda (1996- ). The Department is well known by high standard research activity in biological psychiatry, producing more than 50 scientific papers in neuropsychiatry every year. The research activity covers most of the important field of neuropsychiatry, such as molecular cell biology, molecular genetics, psychophysiology, neuropsychology, psychopathology, and so on.

The Department now holds the position of 1 chairman professor, 2 associate professors, 3 assistant professors, and 10 lecturers. Other positions available are 5 senior residents, 8 junior residents, 20 graduate students.

The Alumini members of 600 neuropsychiatrists are serving as the core body of psychiatric service in Kansai area.

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