November 22, 2013
A natural solution for healing chronic wounds caused by diabetes
Every 20 seconds, someone in the world loses a limb to diabetes. Although treatment to heal chronic diabetic wounds, without amputation, has become a growing need, it has also become an unmet need.
Dr. Paul Gratzer and his lab are hoping to change this reality in Canada. They have developed an innovative and natural way to heal chronic diabetic wounds that could potentially eliminate the need for amputation: decellularization technology. This involves removing the cells from donated human tissue creating a naturally-derived scaffold that can then be combined with a patient’s own cells to repair and ultimately regenerate new living tissue. This research was funded in part by CIHR.
November 21, 2013
Valve repair or replacement offers similar outcomes for severe heart valve disease
A new clinical study led by the US National Institutes of Health has compared the effectiveness of two treatments for ischemic mitral regurgitation (IMR), a condition in which blood backflows into the heart because the mitral valve becomes leaky after a heart attack. The study looked at two surgical options – re-tightening the leaky mitral valve or replacing it with a prosthesis – and found no significant differences in patient outcomes after a year. The results will be published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study was funded in part by CIHR.
November 8, 2013
A New Online Nutrition Tool for Parents
Dietitians of Canada announced the launch of Nutri-eSTEP, an online tool aimed at helping parents of young children identify positive healthy eating habits, offering guidance on how to work on eating behaviours that need improvement, and linking to existing resources.
The Nutri-eSTEP project was funded by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) through a Knowledge Translation Supplement, Dietitians of Canada and EatRight Ontario.
October 30, 2013
Elizabeth Saewyc inducted into Canadian Academy of Health Sciences
Congratulations to Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of British Columbia, who has been named a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.
Dr. Saewyc, an internationally-renowned expert in youth health issues and a sought-after media commentator, speaker and presenter, is the Director of SARAVYC (Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre), the Research Director for the McCreary Centre Society, and the CIHR/PHAC Applied Public Health Chair in Building Capacity for Population-level Monitoring and Interventions for Healthy Youth.
October 8, 2013
New research sheds light on abnormal heart muscle thickening and potential treatment
While most people would consider a big heart to be a good thing, for heart disease experts, it is often a sign of serious disease. Now, Dr. Lynn Megeney of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the University of Ottawa (uOttawa) has made the surprising discovery that proteins involved in cell death also play a key role in abnormal heart muscle thickening. The research, published in the October 7, 2013 online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), could lead to new treatments for certain forms of heart disease. The research was funded in part by CIHR.
September 20, 2013
Study finds cognitive enhancers do not improve cognition or function in people with mild cognitive impairment but may cause gastrointestinal issues
Cognitive enhancers-drugs taken to enhance concentration, memory, alertness and moods—do not improve cognition or function in people with mild cognitive impairment in the long term, according to a new study by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital.
Food addiction and the development of human obesity
A new paper from the laboratory of Dr. Guang Sun, professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial, shows that food addiction is an important contributing factor in the development of obesity.
September 16, 2013
Artery bypass surgery the better option
Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto have discovered that people with diabetes have a 30% less chance of dying if they undergo coronary artery bypass surgery rather than opening the artery through angioplasty and inserting a stent. The findings are significant and have public health implications because of the sheer size of the difference in outcomes. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of people with diabetes, and diabetics represent one-quarter of all patients who undergo coronary artery procedures. The study was funded in part by CIHR.
August 23, 2013
CIHR-funded research finds almost four million Canadians struggle to afford food
A new report by researchers at the University of Toronto shows that almost four million Canadians are struggling to get the food they need because of financial constraints. The report, which examined the state of food insecurity in Canada, states that from 2008 to 2011, the number of Canadians impacted by the struggle to afford enough food increased by close to half a million. Of the 3.9 million Canadians affected in 2011, 1.1 million were children. The report was prepared by PROOF, a CIHR-funded research program initiated to identify effective policy interventions to address household food insecurity, led by Drs. Valerie Tarasuk and Craig Gundersen.
July 17, 2013
CAMH scientists discover genetic changes that may contribute to the onset of schizophrenia
A study published in the current issue of Human Molecular Genetics by scientists from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), has discovered rare genetic changes that may be responsible for the onset of schizophrenia. This discovery also suggests that clinical DNA (genome-wide microarray) testing may be useful in demystifying one of the most complex and stigmatized human diseases.
"CIHR is pleased to support researchers whose work aims at demystifying the causes of schizophrenia," said Dr. Anthony Phillips, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction. "We hope Canadians who live with schizophrenia will eventually benefits from these important findings."
July 11, 2013
Air pollution and risk of hospital admittance for appendicitis
According to a new study by CIHR-funded researcher Dr. Gil Kaplan from the Institute of Public Health at the University of Calgary, an increase in air pollution is associated with a 22% increased risk of being admitted to hospital for perforated appendicitis, a serious and life threatening condition. Appendicitis is a common disorder that affects approximately 1 in 15 people, particularly children and young adults. The rate of appendicitis declined in high income countries during the latter part of the 20th century, coinciding with the introduction of legislation to reduce concentrations of several outdoor air pollutants. Conversely, the incidence of appendicitis has increased in low and middle-income countries over the past several decades. The study was published online in Environmental Health Perspectives on July 11.
June 26, 2013
June 25, 2013
BigBrain: Canadian scientists create the most detailed 3D map of the human brain
CIHR-funded researcher Dr. Alan C. Evans achieved a big milestone in his research career. He and his Canadian-German research team digitally reconstructed the brain of a 65 years old woman. Their work will be accessible through BigBrain Online to other researchers. It represents the highest-resolution 3D reconstruction of a human brain to date according to Science.
June 18, 2013
Blocking overactive receptor in Alzheimer's recovers memory loss and more
A new study shows that memory pathology in older mice with Alzheimer's disease can be reversed with treatment. The study by researchers from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital - The Neuro, at McGill University and at Université de Montréal found that blocking the activity of a specific receptor in the brain of mice with advanced Alzheimer's disease (AD) recovers memory and cerebrovascular function. The results, published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation in May, also suggest an underlying mechanism of AD as a potential target for new therapies.
May 27, 2013
Canadian student makes discovery in orthodontic tooth movement
Western University dentistry student Patricia Brooks has received international acknowledgment for her work discovering the recently unrecognized crosstalk between signaling pathways in bone-forming cells called osteoblasts. Brooks, the recipient of a CIHR summer studentship, was one of only two trainees in Canada to receive a 2012 International Association for Dental Research (IADR)/Unilever Divisional Award. The award provided her with the opportunity to participate in the International Hatton Competition during the 2012 IADR General Session in Iguaçu Falls, Brazil. After graduating from Western University, Ms. Brooks plans to sink her teeth into the University of Toronto’s doctorate program in Oral Pathology and Medicine.
May 9, 2013
Medical scientists team up to improve mobility for children who suffered strokes in utero or shortly after birth
A research study led by Monica Gorassini and Jaynie Yang from the University of Alberta is helping toddlers who have suffered a stroke as babies learn how to walk. In the pilot study, early and intensive physiotherapy helped toddlers between the ages of 8 months to 3 years gain a more steady use of their legs.
CIHR will be supporting the expansion of the study. Toddlers from across Alberta will train with physiotherapists four times a week to perform activities such as walking on a treadmill with support, kicking, splashing, and stepping on steps. If successful, the research team will embark.
April 17, 2013
Explanation for increase in stillbirth rates from 2000 to 2010
A recent study conducted by Dr. K.S. Joseph, a CIHR funded researcher at the University of British Columbia, has shown that Canada's stillbirth rate appears to be rising not because more fetuses are dying spontaneously but because more pregnancies are being terminated due to serious birth defects. The rate of recorded stillbirths has increased by 31 per cent between 2000 and 2010. Moreover, the increase in stillbirths seems to be because we have more acceptance and uptake of prenatal diagnosis and pregnancy termination for congenital anomalies. The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
April 9, 2013
Genetic code provides new approaches in fight against rare disorders
A genetic code acts as a guide for creating the proteins, molecules, and cells that are necessary for life and the proper functioning of the body. A research team at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM) has now proposed a new genetic code. The existence of this "chaperone code" is redirecting research efforts and creating new hopes for the treatment of degenerative diseases. The research study was published in PLoS Genetics and was supported by CIHR.
March 15, 2013
Exercise can reduce onset of Alzheimer's [ PDF (488 KB) - external link ]
CIHR funded researchers Dr. Donald Stuss and Dr. Laura Middleton have recently found that exercise could delay or even prevent Alzheimer's disease. If all Canadians who are currently inactive were to start getting regular activity, more than one in seven cases could be prevented, based on results published by the Ontario Brain Institute. Alzheimer's disease affects more than 500,000 Canadian; delaying onset of symptoms would reduce the number of overall cases and the related costs to families, society and the economy.
March 14, 2013
CIHR-funded research reveals nucleus "gateway" has hidden abilities
Medical researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered that the "gateway" known to control the movement of molecules in and out of a cell's nucleus also has the ability to control the structure and DNA of chromosomes. The discovery gives scientists a new way to investigate what triggers various kinds of disease by examining the impact this "gateway" has on what genes produce or express. The research team, led by Dr. Richard Wozniak, continues to investigate this new mechanism's functionality – when working properly, as well as what causes it to malfunction. The discovery was recently published in the peer-reviewed journal, Cell.
Study suggests seniors with rheumatoid arthritis more vulnerable to infection
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a serious inflammatory condition that affects between three to four per cent of seniors. A study, funded in part by CIHR, has shown that seniors with rheumatoid arthritis are at high risk of serious infections such as pneumonia. This increased risk seems to be associated with the immune suppressing drugs taken by people with RA. The findings were recently published in the Journal of Arthritis Care & Research.
March 8, 2013
Sober examination: CIHR-funded research ranks provinces' alcohol policies
A national report rating the alcohol policies of Canadian provinces has been released. The CAMH's report looked at policies that can impact alcohol use or its societal costs such as alcohol pricing, availability, advertising, and drinking and driving counter-measures. Provinces were scored on the degree to which they implement precautionary alcohol policies. Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia received the highest scores, while Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland received the lowest. Senior Scientist at CAMH in Toronto, Dr. Norman Giesbrecht's aim with this study was to see how each province can improve their policies and better protect against the harmful consequences of irresponsible drinking.
March 5, 2013
CIHR-funded study reveals novel explanation for outcomes in schizophrenia
New findings suggest that a single human gene may explain the radical differences amongst individual patients suffering from schizophrenia. The brain imaging and genetics focused study conducted at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health reveals that people who possess a particular schizophrenia-related gene tend to develop the illness at a younger age and with distinct brain features. Before this study, sex had been the strongest predictor of the age at which schizophrenia develops. With the discovery of gene-related outcomes, treating patients earlier and in a more personalized matter may prove possible. This work, led by Drs. Aristotle Voineskos and James Kennedy, appears in the latest issue of Molecular Psychiatry.
CIHR-funded research finds restaurant sodium levels exceedingly high
A CIHR-funded study examined the salt levels of over 9,000 menu items in restaurant chains across Canada and found that many foods exceeded the recommended daily intake level of sodium. The study's authors, Dr. Mary L'Abbé and Master's student Mary Scourboutakos, found that meal items contained 1,455 milligrams of sodium per serving on average, or 97 percent of an adult's daily adequate intake level. According to Health Canada, no more than 2,300 milligrams of salt should be consumed each day – the equivalent of one teaspoon. Dr. L'Abbé is Chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto. The original study was published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health on February 27, 2013.
February 26, 2013
CIHR funding advances research of potential new treatment for Alzheimer's
A truly Canadian-made treatment for Alzheimer's is one step closer to patients. Winnipeg's Cangene Corporation, a Canadian biotechnology company, recently licensed a technology developed by researcher of UBC and Vancouver Coastal Hospital Research Institute, Dr. Neil Cashman. Dr. Cashman discovered a new way to target the disease with antibodies that could stop its progression and potentially lead to a preventative vaccine. His discovery will allow Cangene to advance an immune therapeutic treatment approach to Alzheimer's, with the potential to directly impact those affected by the devastating disease. The research leading to this discovery was funded by CIHR and further support was recently allocated to evaluate its therapeutic potential.
February 22, 2013
CIHR funded study found increased risk of cyclist injury on Canadian streets
A study led by Professor and avid cyclist Anne Harris at Ryerson University in Toronto looks at the way route infrastructure and intersection traffic influences the risk of cyclist injury in Canada. Findings show that North American cyclists are up to 30 times more likely to be seriously injured while cycling than their European counterparts. This is due in part to safer cycling practices in European countries offered through segregated bike lanes along major roadways and bike-only paths which are separate from those of motor vehicles. The study also finds cars travelling 30 km and under greatly decreases the risk of bicycle injuries. This research was first published in the Injury Prevention journal.
February 20, 2013
Scientists make older adults less forgetful in memory tests
A recent study conducted by CIHR-funded researchers at Baycrest Health Sciences’ Rotman Research Institute and the University of Toronto offers an interesting solution to memory loss for seniors. The suggested approach even helped seniors perform as well as younger adults on memory tests. The researchers found older adults would remember better when words were associated to visual cues. What is especially fascinating is that visual cues used weren’t necessary relevant to the words to be memorized, and that the same benefits didn’t apply to younger adults. The findings, published in Psychological Science, have promising implications for designing memory strategies for seniors.
February 18, 2013
CIHR-funded study provides new insight on delivering twins
The Twin Birth Study is the first of its kind. Undertaken to determine the optimal method of delivering twins, the findings show that delivery by planned vaginal birth is just as safe as by planned cesarean section. When the first baby is facing head down, planned vaginal birth was found to be the correct method of delivery. Dr. Jon Barrett stresses the importance of keeping vaginal delivery skills in practice, and hopes his findings will decrease the rate of early delivery through cesarean sections. Dr. Barrett led this study at the Centre for Mother, Infant and Child Research (CMICR) at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.
Caesarians and formula feeding impacts natural gut bacteria in babies
A CIHR funded team, led by Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj, recently found that C-section delivery and formula feeding appear to change the bacteria footprint in the intestinal tract of babies. Babies born from C-section – even if they were breast fed – didn't have a specific group of bacteria, which was found in babies born via vaginal delivery. Moreover, babies who were strictly formula-fed had different bacterial makeups than babies who were exclusively or partially breastfed. A change in bacterial footprint is thought to have an impact on the health of children. The findings were published the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
February 14, 2013
CIHR funded study finds differential parenting to have adverse effects
A CIHR funded study looks at the effects differential parenting has on the entire family. The term differential parenting defines a parent who treats each of their children varyingly. Such actions may include behaving more positively toward one child compared to more negative behaviors toward a sibling. These parents tend to have more high risk, or stressful factors affecting their lives, such as single parenting or low income. The adverse effects are an increased likelihood that each child will possess mental and emotional health problems, such as heightened aggression. Dr. Jennifer M. Jenkins leads this research at the University of Toronto. The complete study can be found in the journal of Child Development.
February 6, 2013
Stress as a risk factor for apnea of prematurity (only in French)
A research team at CHUQ (the university hospital centre of Quebec City) has shown that stress may be one of the causes of respiratory problems in infants. Cessation of breathing (apnea of prematurity) is the primary cause of death in premature infants and can have a major impact on infants' neurological development.
This study showed that newborn rats whose mothers had been subjected to stress experienced more instances of apnea, and that newborn male rats were more sensitive to stress. These findings are consistent with the clinical observation that the infants at greatest risk of developing respiratory problems are boys.
This CIHR-funded study has now been published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
January 31, 2013
A new technology to detect and diagnose Alzheimer's
Researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital have developed a new tool which analyzes MRI scans to detect patterns of brain atrophy, characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. The computerized technique known as SNIPE can differentiate Alzheimer's from normal aging with an accuracy of 93%. The technology has also been used for prognosis - it can predict with 75% accuracy which patients with mild cognitive impairment will remain stable and which will progress to this debilitating disease. The discovery published in the journal NeuroImage, will improve the selection of patients for clinical trials and take forward the development of new pharmaceutical treatments. The study was funded in part by CIHR and used data from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative.
January 25, 2013
Slower growth of preterm infants linked to altered brain development
A recently published study by CIHR-funded PhD student Jillian Vinall showed a correlation between the growth of preterm infants and brain development. Delayed brain development was observed in pre-term babies that had slower growth as they approached what would have been their due date. The study compared the development of slow growth preterm infants to the brains of preterm infants having faster growth. Vinall and coworkers hope that this discovery will help them optimize the brain development of small babies. The study is now available in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Perimenopause hot flush research study goes Canada-wide
Dr. Jerilynn Prior and the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR) are initiating an innovative study of progesterone for perimenopausal hot flushes (also known as hot flashes, or night sweats if they happen at night), funded by the CIHR. Women from anywhere in Canada can now participate. In order to collect necessary data, participants have to record their symptoms of hot flushes in the Daily Perimenopause Diary, every night. In another recent trial, Dr. Prior and CeMCOR have shown that progesterone effectively and safely treats hot flushes in healthy early menopausal women (Hitchcock & Prior, Menopause 2012). Consequently, they expect the same positive response to progesterone in perimenopause.
January 18, 2013
A major step in the fight against Alzheimer's disease (only in French)
A team led by CIHR-funded researcher Dr. Serge Rivest at Laval University has potentially discovered a way to stimulate natural defense mechanisms in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Dr. Rivest and his colleagues hope their work could one day lead to new treatment options for Alzheimer's patients and the development of a vaccine against Alzheimer's.
January 17, 2013
Largest Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring study ever in Canada
To mark the launch of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada 100 Year Celebration, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has released its Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Mentoring Study, which is the largest study of its kind ever undertaken in Canada. The five-year study, which tracks the experiences of almost 1,000 children and teenagers registered with Big Brother Big Sisters agencies across Canada, found that those with a mentor are significantly more confident in their academic abilities and considerably less likely to display behavioural problems. One stand out finding is that girls in the study with a Big Sister were four times less likely to bully, fight, lie or express anger than girls without a mentor. The research was made possible by support from CIHR.
January 10, 2013
Unlocking the mysteries of sleep apnea
Dr. Richard Horner, Canada Research Chair in Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology, and his team have discovered how certain critical breathing muscles are shut down in dreaming sleep, leading susceptible individuals to periods of "self-suffocation," from which they recover by repeatedly waking up. This makes these individuals very tired, and also predisposes to other problems like heart attack and stroke.
The implications of identifying this fundamental mechanism relate to the larger issue of understanding the common and serious problem of obstructive sleep apnea and future drug development to stop the problem. The study was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine and was funded by CIHR.