CAMH Annual Report to the Community 2006 - 2007
CAMH research is directly improving the lives of thousands of people affected by mental health and addiction problems.
Locating a new dopamine brain target
CAMH researchers Dr. Brian O’Dowd and Dr. Susan George discovered a distinct dopamine-signalling complex in the brain that
could help the understanding and treatment of schizophrenia.
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CAMH is a world leader in neuroscientific, clinical, social, prevention and health policy research. We are increasingly integrating
our scientific findings into clinical practice, education, prevention, health promotion and policy activities. Again this
year, we conducted leading-edge scientific research and applied previous discoveries to improve clients’ health outcomes.
Connecting research with care
- Clients with hard-to-treat depression are benefiting from new repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment (RTMS);
people with both mental health and addiction problems are receiving specialized concurrent disorders treatment; and young
people with psychosis are taking part in early intervention programs to ensure better outcomes.
Connecting research with health promotion and prevention
- High school students are getting the latest facts about mental health issues from the Talking about Mental Illness program;
bar staff are learning about the links between alcohol and violence through the Safer Bars project; and people who smoke are
getting access to new approaches to quitting through the STOP study.
Connecting research with policy
- Research informed a broad range of policy and practices, such as the new Canadian Mental Health Commission, Ontario’s Safe
Schools Policy, Local Health Integration Networks’ priorities, the Toronto Drug Strategy, and the proposed drinking and driving
Grant secured for CAMH’s PET Centre
CAMH researchers listed in Essential Science Indicators “Most Cited Researchers”—the top 1% of researchers—in 2006
Number of times in the last four years that CAMH research has been cited in academic papers
“Strengthening Families is an excellent example of how CAMH is qualified to translate research results into programs that
can be delivered to people directly, benefiting their quality of life.”
--Gail Czukar, Executive Vice-President, Policy, Education and Health Promotion
Strengthening Families for the Future
Research shows that for children from families where one or both parents have issues with alcohol or other drugs, there is
higher risk of behavioural and mental health problems. Almost three-quarters of parents and their at-risk children (aged seven
to 11) participating in CAMH’s new Strengthening Families for the Future program report improved family interaction. The 14-session prevention initiative includes separate activity-based sessions
for children and parents, followed by a joint family session to practise together what they have learned. The program is now
being offered in communities across Ontario, facilitated by CAMH Provincial Services staff and community partners.
Connecting research discoveries with better quality of life
- Mapping the chemical imbalance in depression. CAMH scientist Dr. Jeffrey Meyer’s breakthrough discovery of how chemical imbalance
occurs in major depression may lead to more effective and targeted treatment for this disease, which every year affects five
per cent of people globally and is the fourth leading cause of death and disability.
- Identifying vulnerability to depression relapse. The first-ever study to link thinking styles and depression relapse showed
that people who recover from depression may still be at risk if brief feelings of sadness trigger depressive thinking styles.
- Treating ADHD in adults. Many adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) also experience seasonal affective
disorder, a form of depression. A new application of light therapy studied by CAMH holds promise for reducing depression in
these people, raising their energy levels and improving their functioning.
- Sharing knowledge in epigenetics. CAMH signed a licence agreement for a large-scale profiling system with Epigenomics ag.
The system has wide applications that include diagnosing cancer and identifying molecular changes in complex diseases such
as schizophrenia. Epigenetics is an emerging field that looks at methods of biological inheritance that do not directly relate
to the inheritance of collections of genes. At CAMH, this profiling technology is already being used in the research of epigenetic
indicators in psychiatric clients.
- Costs of mental health and addiction issues. CAMH researchers authored two groundbreaking studies that show the costs of mental
health and addiction problems:
- 85% of the total $34 billion annual economic cost of mental illness and addiction in Ontario is due to lost productivity.
- Among substances, tobacco imposes the greatest cost in Ontario (42% of the total), followed by alcohol (37%) and illegal drugs
- Prevention of alcohol-related cancer. CAMH’s Alcohol Policy and Research Group developed a best advice paper on alcohol and
cancer, a much-needed resource for government, the health system and community groups, that details current research and prevention
CAMH research by the numbers
CAMH is the largest mental health and addiction research facility in Canada.
In 2006–2007, we had:
- 100 full-time scientists and 300 staff engaged in research
- 5 prestigious Canada Research Chairs
- 7 endowed university chairs and professorships
- a 35% increase in postdoctoral fellows
- more than 390 papers, 90 book chapters and 20 books published.
Making Connections: Integration in Mental Health and Addiction