We are identifying biomarkers for major depressive disorder so we can develop better medications. Traditional antidepressants don’t work for half the people with this illness. By understanding how antidepressants alter certain brain activities, we’ll then be able to develop personalized and targeted treatments.
We are combining brain imaging and neural stimulation to examine the cognitive difficulties experienced by people with schizophrenia. This work will contribute to the development of new treatments for people with schizophrenia.
We are measuring the functioning of cholinergic neurons in the prefrontal cortex, a specific area of the brain more closely related to memory and cognitive deterioration in Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. This work will allow us to learn more about how these neurons affect memory and cognition early in the course of Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.
We are evaluating neuroplasticity changes in adults with Asperger syndrome. To our knowledge, this is the first study exploring whether rTMS treatments—including theta-burst stimulation—can correct abnormal neuroplasticity in individuals with Asperger. The findings will help us better understand the brain mechanisms involved in autism spectrum disorder and could also stimulate future research in developing effective brain stimulation treatments for this population.
We are testing magnetic seizure therapy (MST) as an alternative to ECT for treatment-resistant depression, schizophrenia and OCD in an open-label fashion. Response rates, cognitive implications of the treatment and several neurobiological variables are being observed to enhance understanding of treatment response.
In an international, multi-site trial that also includes the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, we are comparing MST to ECT in patients with treatment-resistant depression. This study could have a transformative real-world impact in the care and management of depression. Enrolment is expected to start in April 2018.
We are testing MST as a treatment for suicidal ideation and treatment-resistant depression in people with borderline personality disorder. Participants choose either MST-only treatment or MST combined with dialectical behaviour therapy.
Other planned projects include a comparison of MST to ECT in treating bipolar depression. Based at three academic institutions in Canada (CAMH, Parkwood Institute in London and UBC Hospital in Vancouver), the trial will assess the efficacy and cognitive adverse effects of MST compared to a form of ECT. It’s hoped the trial expands our knowledge about the efficacy of various convulsive therapies for people with bipolar depression.
We are also planning a comparison of the efficacy of three convulsive therapies in maintaining response or remission from treatment-resistant depression, as well as their cognitive adverse effects and tolerability.