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CAMH Stories Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Donor support is transforming patient care at CAMH

TORONTO, November 4, 2016 - Donor support is enabling CAMH researchers to achieve incredible breakthroughs in new therapeutic approaches for mental illness. The Temerty Foundation’s $7.4 million gift in 2012 represented a landmark  investment in treatment innovation at CAMH and has led to one of the most important advances in psychiatric treatment in decades.

The Foundation’s gift created the Temerty Centre for Therapeutic Brain Intervention and supports the study of novel, non-invasive brain stimulation therapies such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). This therapy is transforming the lives of CAMH patients like Gail Bellissimo who suffered from treatment-resistant depression. The opportunity to participate in a rTMS clinical research study at the Temerty Centre in 2014 was a turning point in Gail’s journey of recovery.

“I do not believe that I would have attained this level of remission from my illness if it wasn’t for the rTMS treatments”, Gail says today. “There’s a lot of hard work ahead, but I’m in a place now that I never thought would be possible for me.”

Dr. Faranak Farzan 
Dr. Faranak Farzan shows an example of
non-invasive brain stimulation therap
y

 

As many as 50 per cent of patients with depression do not recover with medication and psychotherapy. These people can suffer for years with debilitating symptoms. Donor-supported rTMS clinical research trials, like the one in which Gail participated, helped build the evidence that translated rTMS from an experimental treatment into a proven, non-pharmaceutical option for recovery.  Evidence from the rTMS studies has recently led to the recommendation from Health Quality Ontario, the province’s advisor on health care quality, that rTMS be a publicly funded service for certain treatment scenarios.  This recommendation is an important first step in expanding access to this life-changing therapy.

Gail’s treatment experience has given her a new perspective on mental health care and has led her to become an advocate for more clinical research.

“For me, research is hope—hope for the promise of newer, faster, and less invasive treatments through amazing advances in brain research. And one day, cures.”

The Temerty Centre, led by Drs. Jeff Daskalakis and Daniel Blumberger, continues to advance several innovative projects.  Researchers are exploring brain stimulation therapies as options for other serious and difficult-to-treat illnesses including dementia, eating disorders and schizophrenia.

The Temerty Centre’s clinical and research teams have doubled in size since 2011, increasing capacity for treatment and discovery. For a full list of staff and clinical research projects, please click here.

 

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