Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Recent publications
Heterogeneity has been a persistent challenge in understanding Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders (SSD). Traditional case-control comparisons often show variable results, and may not map well onto individuals. To better understand heterogeneity and group differences in SSD compared to typically developing controls (TDC), we examined variability in functional brain activity during a working memory (WM) task with known deficits in SSD. Neuroimaging and behavioural data were extracted from two datasets collectively providing 34 TDC and 56 individuals with SSD (n = 90). Functional activity in response to an N-Back WM task (3-Back vs 1-Back) was examined between and within groups. Individual variability was calculated via the correlational distance of fMRI activity maps between participants; mean correlational distance from one participant to all others was defined as a ‘variability score’. Greater individual variability in functional activity was found in SSD compared to TDC (p = 0.00090). At the group level, a case-control comparison suggested SSD had reduced activity in task positive and task negative networks. However, when SSD were divided into high and low variability subgroups, the low variability groups showed no differences relative to TDC while the high variability group showed little activity at the group level. Our results imply prior case-control differences may be driven by a subgroup of SSD who do not show specific impairments but instead show more ‘idiosyncratic’ activity patterns. In SSD but not TDC, variability was also related to cognitive performance and age. This novel approach focusing on individual variability has important implications for understanding the neurobiology of SSD.
  • Melissa ChasséMelissa Chassé
  • Raktim SenRaktim Sen
  • Alain GoeppertAlain Goeppert
  • [...]
  • Neil VasdevNeil Vasdev
Silica-grafted polyamines developed for CO2 capture are capable of reversibly and selectively capturing CO2 at ambient temperature. In this study, the feasibility of solid phase chemical adsorbents for purifying [¹¹C]CO2 from cyclotron target gas was investigated as an alternative to physical adsorption. Silica grafted polyethyleneimine (Si-g-PEI) demonstrated a high selectivity for [¹¹C]CO2 at room temperature with no detectable radiochemical impurities. Capture efficiencies from cyclotron target gas were 79 ± 12% for Si-g-PEI. Pure [¹¹C]CO2 was obtained in under 10 min via temperature-swing desorption. Si-g-PEI was easily regenerated with mild heating, though capture efficiencies decreased over multiple cycles. As a proof-of-concept, the positron emission tomography (PET) radiopharmaceutical [¹¹C]SL2511.88 was successfully synthesized from Si-g-PEI purified [¹¹C]CO2, providing molar activities on par with conventional methods. This work presents the first reusable, solid phase chemical adsorbents for capture and purification of [¹¹C]CO2 under mild conditions. Future work will focus on improved material longevity using materials with high thermal and oxidative stability.
Background: There is concern regarding the psychological impact of the perinatal period on LGBTQ2S+ childbearing individuals. Objectives: To characterize and synthesize the experiences of LGBTQ2S+ childbearing individuals regarding perinatal mental health, including symptomatology, access to care, and care-seeking. Search strategy: We conducted and reported a systematic review following PRISMA guidelines of eight databases (EMBASE, Medline-OVID, CINAHL, Scopus, Web of Science: Core Collection, Sociological Abstracts, Social Work Abstract, and PsycINFO) from inception to March 1st, 2021. Selection criteria: Original, peer-reviewed research related to LGBTQ2S+ mental health was eligible for inclusion if the study was specific to the perinatal period (defined as pregnancy planning, conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and first year postpartum; includes miscarriages, fertility treatments, and surrogacy). Data collection and analysis: Findings were synthesized qualitatively via meta-aggregation using the Joanna Briggs Institute System for the Unified Management, Assessment and Review of Information (JBI SUMARI), and the ConQual approach. Main results: Our systematic search included 26 eligible studies encompassing 1199 LGBTQ2S+ childbearing participants. Using the JBI SUMARI approach, we reported 65 results, which we synthesized as six key findings. The studies described unique considerations for LGBTQ2S+ individuals' perinatal mental health, including heteronormativity, cisnormativity, isolation, and distressing situations from the gendered nature of pregnancy. LGBTQ2S+ childbearing individuals described barriers to accessing mental healthcare, and gaps in health systems. Strategies to improve care include avoidance of gendered language, documentation of correct pronouns, cultural humility training, and tailored care. Conclusions: There are unique considerations for LGBTQ2S+ childbearing individuals during the perinatal period and providers should implement the identified strategies to improve perinatal care.
Purpose Functional seizures (FS), also known as psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES), are physical manifestations of acute or chronic psychological distress. Functional and structural neuroimaging have identified objective signs of this disorder. We evaluated whether magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) morphometry differed between patients with FS and clinically relevant comparison populations. Methods Quality-screened clinical-grade MRIs were acquired from 666 patients from 2006 to 2020. Morphometric features were quantified with FreeSurfer v6. Mixed-effects linear regression compared the volume, thickness, and surface area within 201 regions-of-interest for 90 patients with FS, compared to seizure-naïve patients with depression (n = 243), anxiety (n = 68), and obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD, n = 41), respectively, and to other seizure-naïve controls with similar quality MRIs, accounting for the influence of multiple confounds including depression and anxiety based on chart review. These comparison populations were obtained through review of clinical records plus research studies obtained on similar scanners. Results After Bonferroni–Holm correction, patients with FS compared with seizure-naïve controls exhibited thinner bilateral superior temporal cortex (left 0.053 mm, p = 0.014; right 0.071 mm, p = 0.00006), thicker left lateral occipital cortex (0.052 mm, p = 0.0035), and greater left cerebellar white-matter volume (1085 mm³, p = 0.0065). These findings were not accounted for by lower MRI quality in patients with FS. Conclusions These results reinforce prior indications of structural neuroimaging correlates of FS and, in particular, distinguish brain morphology in FS from that in depression, anxiety, and OCD. Future work may entail comparisons with other psychiatric disorders including bipolar and schizophrenia, as well as exploration of brain structural heterogeneity within FS.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES Evidence suggests that children and adolescents with avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) have heterogeneous clinical presentations. To use latent class analysis (LCA) and determine the frequency of various classes in pediatric patients with ARFID drawn from a 2-year surveillance study. METHODS Cases were ascertained using the Canadian Pediatric Surveillance Program methodology from January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017. An exploratory LCA was undertaken with latent class models ranging from 1 to 5 classes. RESULTS Based on fit statistics and class interpretability, a 3-class model had the best fit: Acute Medical (AM), Lack of Appetite (LOA), and Sensory (S). The probability of being classified as AM, LOA, and S was 52%, 40.7%, and 6.9%, respectively. The AM class was distinct for increased likelihood of weight loss (92%), a shorter length of illness (<12 months) (66%), medical hospitalization (56%), and heart rate <60 beats per minute (31%). The LOA class was distinct for failure to gain weight (97%) and faltering growth (68%). The S class was distinct for avoiding certain foods (100%) and refusing to eat because of sensory characteristics of the food (100%). Using posterior probability assignments, a mixed group AM/LOA (n = 30; 14.5%) had characteristics of both AM and LOA classes. CONCLUSIONS This LCA suggests that ARFID is a heterogeneous diagnosis with 3 distinct classes corresponding to the 3 subtypes described in the literature: AM, LOA, and S. The AM/LOA group had a mixed clinical presentation. Clinicians need to be aware of these different ARFID presentations because clinical and treatment needs will vary.
Opioid agonist treatment (OAT) is the primary intervention for opioid use disorder (OUD) in Canada and the USA. Yet, a number of barriers contribute to sub-optimal treatment uptake and retention, including daily-supervised medication administration. Thus, clients are eventually granted access to take-home OAT doses (i.e., ‘carries’) to reduce this burden. However, this decision is based on physician discretion and whether patients can demonstrate stability in various life domains, many of which are inextricably linked to the social determinants of health (SDOH). Current Canadian and USA OAT carry guidance documents are not standardized and do not take the SDOH into consideration, resulting in the potential for inequitable access to OAT carries, which may be the case particularly among marginalized populations such as individuals with OUD who have been released from custody. This perspective article posits that current OAT guidelines contribute to inequities in access to OAT carries, and that these inequities likely result in disproportionately low coverage for OUD treatment among some high-risk groups, including individuals on release from incarceration in particular. Relevant impacts of COVID-19 and related policy changes are considered, and suggestions and recommendations to amend current OAT guidance documents are provided.
In individuals with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), perceptual appearance distortions may be related to selective attention biases and aberrant visual scanning, contributing to imbalances in global vs. detailed visual processing. Treatments for the core symptom of perceptual distortions are underexplored in BDD; yet understanding their mechanistic effects on brain function is critical for rational treatment development. This study tested a behavioral strategy of visual-attention modification on visual system brain connectivity and eye behaviors. We acquired fMRI data in 37 unmedicated adults with BDD and 30 healthy controls. Participants viewed their faces naturalistically (naturalistic viewing), and holding their gaze on the image center (modulated viewing), monitored with an eye-tracking camera. We analyzed dynamic effective connectivity and visual fixation duration. Modulated viewing resulted in longer mean visual fixation duration compared to during naturalistic viewing, across groups. Further, modulated viewing resulted in stronger connectivity from occipital to parietal dorsal visual stream regions, also evident during the subsequent naturalistic viewing, compared with the initial naturalistic viewing, in BDD. Longer fixation duration was associated with a trend for stronger connectivity during modulated viewing. Those with more severe BDD symptoms had weaker dorsal visual stream connectivity during naturalistic viewing, and those with more negative appearance evaluations had weaker connectivity during modulated viewing. In sum, holding a constant gaze on a non-concerning area of one’s face may confer increased communication in the occipital/parietal dorsal visual stream, facilitating global/holistic visual processing. This effect shows persistence during subsequent naturalistic viewing. Results have implications for perceptual retraining treatment designs.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a novel coronavirus that has caused a global pandemic Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Currently, there are no effective treatments specifically for COVID-19 infection. The initial step in SARS-CoV-2 infection is attachment to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) on the cell surface. We have developed a protein peptide that effectively disrupts the binding between the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and ACE2. When delivered by nasal spray, our peptide prevents SARS-CoV-2 spike protein from entering lung and olfactory bulb cells of mice expressing human ACE2. Our peptide represents a potential novel treatment and prophylaxis against COVID-19.
Inclusive education is supported by the belief that all students belong and are valued members of their neighborhood school communities. Teachers must possess beliefs that support inclusion before they are able to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to implement effective inclusive practice. Using The Beliefs About Learning and Teaching Questionnaire (BLTQ ), 396 participants were followed for 4 years, from their initial year in preservice teacher education through to their second year of teaching to determine the trajectory of the development of inclusive beliefs. Distinct groups were identified. Those who began with lower inclusive beliefs that tended to decrease over time were more likely to be male. Those who began with higher inclusive beliefs that remained stable were more likely to be in the elementary panel and have greater professional experience. In addition, those with higher inclusive beliefs were more likely to have greater personal experience and weeks on practicum when they began their first course in inclusive education. Results are discussed with respect to teacher education for inclusive education.
Purpose To examine the risk of perinatal mental illness, including new-onset disorders and recurrent or ongoing use of mental health care, comparing women with physical, sensory, intellectual/developmental, and multiple disabilities to those without a disability. Methods From all women aged 15–49 years with a singleton birth in Ontario, Canada (2003–2018), those with physical (n = 144,972), sensory (n = 45,249), intellectual/developmental (n = 2,227), and ≥ 2 of these disabilities (“multiple disabilities”; n = 8,883), were compared to 1,601,363 without a disability on risk of healthcare system contact for mental illness from conception to 365 days postpartum. The cohort was stratified into: (1) no pre-pregnancy mental illness (to identify new-onset illness), (2) distal mental illness (> 2 years pre-pregnancy, to identify recurrent illness), and (3) recent mental illness (0–2 years pre-pregnancy, to identify ongoing contact). Modified Poisson regression generated relative risks (aRR), adjusted for age, parity, income quintile, and rural residence. Results About 14.7, 26.5, and 56.6% of women with no disabilities had new-onset, recurrent, and ongoing contact for mental illness, respectively, perinatally. Risks were elevated across disability groups for new-onset (physical: aRR 1.18, 95% CI 1.16–1.20; sensory: 1.11, 1.08–1.15; intellectual/developmental: 1.38, 1.17–1.62; multiple: 1.24, 1.15–1.33), recurrent (physical: 1.10, 1.08–1.12; sensory 1.06, 1.02–1.09; intellectual/developmental: 1.24, 1.11–1.37; multiple: 1.16, 1.09–1.23), and ongoing contact (physical: 1.09, 1.08–1.10; sensory: 1.08, 1.06–1.10; intellectual/developmental: 1.31, 1.26–1.37; multiple: 1.20, 1.16–1.23). Conclusion The heightened use of new, recurrent, and ongoing mental health care across disability groups in the perinatal period suggests that adapted screening and intervention approaches are critical to optimize perinatal mental health in this population.
Aim: There is robust evidence that child maltreatment is a significant risk factor and linked to negative psychological outcomes. However, few studies have examined the impact of child maltreatment on mental health and substance use trajectories across adolescence. Methods: Data were drawn from a larger longitudinal project, in which participants were recruited starting in grade 7-8 and followed on two more occasions biennially. The final baseline sample was comprised of 765 youth (Mage = 12.73, SD = 0.67, 49.7% female, 57.6% Caucasian/White). Multivariate multinomial logistic regressions were conducted to examine whether youth with maltreatment histories differed in their internalizing, externalizing, and substance use problems trajectories (based on previous studies) than youth without maltreatment histories. Moderation analyses using multinomial logistic regression were also conducted to examine perceived family support and school connectedness as protective factors against the impact of maltreatment. Results: Youth who experienced maltreatment were more likely to display more severe internalizing, externalizing, and substance use problem trajectories than youth without such histories. While not significant as moderators, perceived family support and school connectedness were significantly associated with each of the trajectories, with lower levels of perceived family support and school connectedness linked to more severe problem trajectories. Conclusions: Results highlight the ongoing and significant harmful impact of maltreatment among youth. Results also support further prevention and intervention efforts for child maltreatment, particularly at the family and school level.
Objectives When resources are strained during communicable disease outbreaks, novel palliative care interventions may be required to optimally support people who use substances with life-limiting illnesses. Therefore, we asked the question, ‘what is known about communicable disease outbreaks, palliative care and people who use substances?’, such as palliative care interventions that can improve the quality of life of patients with life-limiting illnesses. Design We conducted a scoping review that involved comprehensive searches in six bibliographic databases from inception to April 2021 (Medline ALL (Medline and Epub Ahead of Print and In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations), Embase Classic+Embase, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trial, PsycInfo all from the OvidSP platform, Scopus from Elsevier) and grey literature searches. We included English and French records about people ≥18 years old with life-limiting illnesses who use substances during communicable disease outbreaks. We identified, summarised and presented the findings about palliative care interventions in figures, tables and narrative descriptions. Results We identified 32 records about palliative care interventions for people who use substances during communicable disease outbreaks. The majority focused on palliative care for people who use substances with AIDS during HIV epidemics (n=27, 84.4%), and approximately half were published in the USA (n=15, 46.9%). Most common substances used were alcohol (n=18, 56.3%), opioids (n=14, 43.8%) and cocaine (n=10, 31.3%). Four groups of palliative care interventions were identified: (1) symptom management (n=20, 62.5%), (2) psychosocial support (n=15, 46.9%), (3) advance care planning (n=8, 25.0%) and (4) healthcare provider training (n=6, 18.8%). Conclusions Beyond studies on HIV epidemics, there is limited knowledge about palliative care interventions for people who use substances during communicable disease outbreaks. Research and guidance are needed about how best to provide palliative care to this population with complex needs including in resource-limited countries. Protocol Buchman DZ, Ding P, Lo S, et al. Palliative care for people who use substances during communicable disease epidemics and pandemics. BMJ Open 2021; 11: e053124
Background Although EHR systems have become a critical part of clinical care, nurses are experiencing a growing burden due to documentation requirements, taking time away from other important clinical activities. There is a need to address the inefficiencies and challenges that nurses face when documenting in and using EHRs. The objective of this study is to engage nurses in generating ideas on how organizations can support and optimize nurses’ experiences with their EHR systems, thereby improving efficiency and reducing EHR-related burden. This work will ensure the identified solutions are grounded in nurses’ perspectives and experiences and will address their specific EHR-related needs. Methods This mixed methods study will consist of three phases. Phase 1 will evaluate the accuracy of the EHR system’s analytics platform in capturing how nurses utilize the system in real-time for tasks such as documentation, chart review, and medication reconciliation. Phase 2 consists of a retrospective analysis of the nursing-specific analytics platform and focus groups with nurses to understand and contextualize their usage patterns. These focus groups will also be used to identify areas for improvement in the utilization of the EHR. Phase 3 will include focus groups with nurses to generate and adapt potential interventions to address the areas for improvement and assess the perceived relevance, feasibility, and impact of the potential interventions. Discussion This work will generate insights on addressing nurses’ EHR-related burden and burnout. By understanding and contextualizing inefficiencies and current practices, opportunities to improve EHR systems for nursing professional practice will be identified. The study findings will inform the co-design and implementation of interventions that will support adoption and impact. Future work will include the evaluation of the developed interventions, and research on scaling and disseminating the interventions for use in different organizations, EHR systems, and jurisdictions in Canada.
Objective: Debate continues regarding the use of self- versus informant-report to diagnose mild cognitive impairment (MCI) with studies reporting patients both overestimating and underestimating their abilities relative to informants. We assessed concordance of self- versus informant-report of cognitive decline with objective cognitive and functional performance in the participants of the preventing Alzheimer's dementia with cognitive remediation plus transcranial direct current stimulation in mild cognitive impairment and depression randomized controlled trial (PACt-MD). Method: Three hundred six participants with MCI, and their informants, reported on cognitive decline; the participants also completed a comprehensive assessment of objective cognitive and functional performance. Based on the discrepancy between self- versus informant-report of cognitive decline, we grouped participants into categories of underestimators, congruent estimators, and overestimators. Results: Informant- but not self-reported cognitive decline significantly correlated with objective cognitive performance. There were 68 underestimators, 94 congruent estimators, and 144 overestimators. Underestimators had significantly lower objective cognitive performance and functional performance than congruent estimators and overestimators. Cognitive performance significantly predicted functional performance in all three groups, and the relationship between cognitive and functional performance was moderated by the discrepancy between self- and informant-report. Conclusions: We showed a poor concordance among self-report of cognitive decline and both informant-report of cognitive decline and cognitive performance in patients with MCI. Our findings highlight clinical and research value in the assessment and consideration of degree of discrepancy between self- and informant-reports of cognitive decline in MCI. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
Objectives Youth face numerous challenges in receiving coordinated and continuous mental health services, particularly as they reach the age of transition from child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) to adult mental health services (AMHS). The Longitudinal Youth in Transition Study (LYiTS) follows youth prospectively as they cross this transition boundary to better understand their transition pathways and resulting symptoms and health service use outcomes. The current paper presents the baseline profile description for the LYiTS cohort and additionally examines differences in symptoms and functioning and health service utilization between youth receiving services at hospital- versus community-based CAMHS. Methods A cross-sectional design was used. A sample of 237 16–18-year-old youth recruited from outpatient CAMHS at two hospitals and two community sites completed self-report measures at their first of four annual assessments. A latent profile analysis was conducted to identify symptomology profiles, and youth were compared on symptoms and health service use between hospital- and community-based sites. Results Four distinct symptomology profiles were identified (subclinical, moderate internalizing, moderate externalizing, and high symptomology). Symptom profiles and functioning levels reported by youth were no different across both types of organization, although there were differences detected in health service utilization, such as type of provider seen and use of medications. Conclusions These findings suggest that there is little difference in symptomology between youth accessing hospital versus community-based CAMHS. With growing interest in understanding the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different models of mental health care, these findings provide a new understanding of the clinical and service use profiles of transition-aged youth that will be explored further as this cohort is followed across the CAMHS to AMHS transition boundary.
Electroencephalography (EEG) is a non-invasive method to identify markers of treatment response in major depressive disorder (MDD). In this review, existing literature was assessed to determine how EEG markers change with different modalities of MDD treatments, and to synthesize the breadth of EEG markers used in conjunction with MDD treatments. PubMed and EMBASE were searched from 2000 to 2021 for studies reporting resting EEG (rEEG) and transcranial magnetic stimulation combined with EEG (TMS-EEG) measures in patients undergoing MDD treatments. The search yielded 966 articles, 204 underwent full-text screening, and 51 studies were included for a narrative synthesis of findings along with confidence in the evidence. In rEEG studies, non-linear quantitative algorithms such as theta cordance and theta current density show higher predictive value than traditional linear metrics. Although less abundant, TMS-EEG measures show promise for predictive markers of brain stimulation treatment response. Future focus on TMS-EEG measures may prove fruitful, given its ability to target cortical regions of interest related to MDD.
Self-report measures are central in capturing young people’s perspectives on mental health concerns and treatment outcomes. For children and adolescents to complete such measures meaningfully and independently, the reading difficulty must match their reading ability. Prior research suggests a frequent mismatch for mental health symptom measures. Similar analyses are lacking for measures of Quality of Life (QoL). We analysed the readability of 13 commonly used QoL self-report measures for children and adolescents aged 6 to 18 years by computing five readability formulas and a mean reading age across formulas. Across measures, the mean reading age for item sets was 10.7 years (SD = 1.2). For almost two-thirds of the questionnaires, the required reading age exceeded the minimum age of the target group by at least one year, with an average discrepancy of 3.0 years (SD = 1.2). Questionnaires with matching reading ages primarily targeted adolescents. Our study suggests a frequent mismatch between the reading difficulty of QoL self-report measures for pre-adolescent children and this group’s expected reading ability. Such discrepancies risk undermining the validity of measurement, especially where children also have learning or attention difficulties. Readability should be critically considered in measure development, as one aspect of the content validity of self-report measures for youth.
Standardized client feedback surveys encourage a culture of continuous quality improvement, allow for comparison of results over time and across similar types of service providers, and encourage use of evidence-based practices. Recognizing the importance of family and other caregivers in supporting people accessing services for mental health and substance use challenges, a standardized perception-of-care tool (the Ontario Perception of Care Tool for Mental Health and Addictions, OPOC-MHA) was adapted to collect feedback specific to the caregiver experience with these services. A collaborative process engaged a broad range of mental health and/or addiction providers, family advisory networks, and family members and caregivers to identify themes, specific items, and implementation approaches. The final version of the tool evolved through an iterative process of pilot testing and stakeholder feedback. Family member and caregiver perceptions of care will identify service areas in need of improvement, contribute to quality improvement initiatives, and facilitate the comparison of findings over time.
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702 members
Shannon Lange
  • Institute for Mental Health Policy Research (IMHPR)
Alexander Simpson
  • Forensic Division
Tracey Skilling
  • Child, Youth & Family Program (CYFP)
Raghunath Singh
  • Schizophrenia Program
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