Dr. Sean Kidd is conducting a pilot study of a “real world” application
of Cognitive Adaptation Training (CAT). CAT addresses the memory,
attention or problem-solving deficits that may challenge a person with
schizophrenia in carrying out activities of daily living, by providing homebased
solutions. The study is being conducted with the University of Texas.
In 2010, CAMH was the only field trial site in Canada selected to help assess
the clinical use of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The American Psychiatric Association’s DSM is
used in many parts of the world to help diagnose mental illness. The trials will
be led by Drs. Bruce G. Pollock, Michael Bagby and Kwame McKenzie in
schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, attenuated psychotic symptoms
syndrome and personality disorders.
Using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, Dr. Romina Mizrahi has demonstrated that people who have shown mild symptoms of
schizophrenia—who are at high risk of developing the illness—experience a
large release of the chemical dopamine when stressed. Dr. Mizrahi’s research
points to a way to diagnose and prevent the development of schizophrenia in
people at risk, by modulating their dopamine-stress response.
Dr. Romina Mizrahi with a PET machine dedicated to mental health and addictions at CAMH.
Genetics, epigenetics and mental health
In the expanding field of pharmacogenetics, scientists are testing genes that
predict which drugs will produce the best response with the least side-effects.
Other CAMH research in genetics includes identifying genes that cause mental
illness or neurological disorders, and epigenetics, or how the environment
works at the DNA level to produce disease. Our scientists are also using brain
imaging to relate genetic information to brain structure and function.
|The liver enzyme gene research of Drs. James Kennedy and Daniel Mueller enables them to know how
rapidly patients will break down antipsychotic and
antidepressant drugs. This can predict how someone
will respond and the risk of side-effects. Dr. Kennedy
will be studying the effectiveness of having family doctors—who
prescribe about 80 per cent of these drugs—use tests to provide the
best treatment for their patients.|
Dr. John Vincent has shown why autism spectrum disorder may affect four
times as many males as females. In a study with the Hospital for Sick Children,
the researchers found mutations on a gene on the single X chromosome that
males carry. This mutation may disrupt crucial processes during brain
development, contributing to the occurrence of autism.
Dr. Arturas Petronis is continuing his groundbreaking research on
epigenetics—an area of molecular biology that explains how environmental
factors, such as stress or nutrition, influence what genes do. His team is in the
midst of a major project to scan the entire human genome for epigenetic
differences specific to bipolar disorder. The study is supported by a grant from
the U.S. National Institutes of Health.