APEC collaboration to address the economic burden of mental illness Apr 11, 2016

On April 13, 2016, the World Bank and the World Health Organization will co-host their first-ever high-level meeting on mental health and economic prosperity in Washington, DC. According to the World Bank, the meeting  “aims to move mental health from the margins to the mainstream of the global development agenda” and will bring together finance ministers, inter-governmental organizations, and business, academic, and civic leaders to promote critical investments in mental health around the globe.

New Medical Manager for Alzheimer and dementia clinic Apr 8, 2016

The UBC Hospital Clinic for Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders (UBCH CARD) announced this week that Dr. Haakon Nygaard has been appointed to the role of Medical Manager of the clinic. Located within the Djavad Mowafaghian Center for Brain Health at the UBC Hospital, the clinic was under the leadership of Dr. Howard Feldman until his departure from UBC in March.

ALS spread in brain
Pathological protein found to trigger spread of ALS Mar 21, 2016

A protein that was once thought to be involved in only hereditary cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) evidently misfolds in all cases of ALS, finds new research from Dr. Neil Cashman’s laboratory.

Clinic, blurred
Differences between MS clinic and non-clinic users indicate knowledge gaps and more, study finds Mar 16, 2016

If most of what we know about multiple sclerosis (MS) patients comes from patients who access MS- clinics, how much do we really know about MS patients? New research from Kyla McKay and Dr. Elaine Kingwell, part of the Pharmacoepidemiology in Multiple Sclerosis (PiMS) research team led by Dr. Helen Tremlett, evaluated population-level data on new cases of MS between 1996 and 2004.

Alex Rauscher
New funding to shine a light on MS-related brain injury Mar 14, 2016

With the help of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Dr. Alex Rauscher is finding ways to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure injury to the brain caused by multiple sclerosis (MS) and, by extension, to quantify how prescribed therapies can prevent or slow damage.

From Bugs to Brains: Event Recap Mar 10, 2016

Dr. Helen Tremlett and her team brought together researchers from a variety of disciplines for a half-day event to foster collaborative efforts in gut microbiome research and its relation to brain health on February 5, 2016.

Mobile device / smartphone in hands.
Smartphones need a redesign to improve brain function: Q&A with Dr. Peter Reiner Mar 5, 2016

Rather than improving our mental abilities, smartphones are increasingly blamed for ruining our brains. We replace valuable face-to-face social interactions with a constant virtual connection and complain that it’s harder to concentrate.

Bacteria in the gut may mean the difference between relapse and remission in kids with MS Mar 1, 2016

New research, published this week in Journal of the Neurological Sciences, shows that a reduced abundance of a particular bacterial phylum in the gut is associated with subsequent relapse risk in pediatric multiple sclerosis (MS). The pilot study, led by Dr. Helen Tremlett and Dr. Emmanuelle Waubant (University of California, San Francisco), may offer a potential drug target to decrease relapse risk in some patients.

Impairment in orbitofrontal cortex linked to cognitive inflexibility Feb 25, 2016

Suppressing neural activity of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) made rats less likely to modify their behaviour in response to negative reinforcement or changes in the probability of receiving rewards, finds new research published this week in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Woman receiving counselling
Study shows genetic counselling helps psychiatric patients Feb 24, 2016

A new University of British Columbia study shows that genetic counselling helps patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and similar conditions understand and cope with their illness.

The paper is published today in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The study is among the first to show the value of genetic counselling for psychiatric illnesses, demonstrating that it can help patients understand the cause of their illness, the genetic component and how they can protect their mental health going forward.