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December 19, 2014

Mitral valve repair after a heart attack may not offer a lot of benefit
Researchers with NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Cardiothoracic Surgical Trials Network have determined that mitral valve repair may not offer a lot of health benefits for someone after a heart attack. Their clinical study, which involved 301 patients, compared the benefits of those who underwent bypass surgery to those who had bypass surgery with the mitral valve repair.

Doctors believe that fixing the mitral valve, a dual flap in the left side of the heart, will further prevent the chance of blood leaks and reduce the threat of heart failure or strokes. However, the two patient groups in the study showed similar rates of improvement in their heart’s blood flow after 12 months of recovery.

This research was co-funded by the National Institute for Neurological Disease and Strikes and CIHR.

October 6, 2014

New way of understanding how the brain and the cardiovascular system work together [ PDF (107 KB) - external link ]
New research by scientists at the Ottawa Heart Institute and the University of Maryland School of Medicine has uncovered a new pathway by which the brain uses an unusual steroid to control blood pressure.

July 23, 2014

International team sheds new light on biology underlying schizophrenia
As part of a multinational, collaborative effort, researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have helped identify over 100 locations in the human genome associated with the risk of developing schizophrenia. It is the largest genomic study published on any psychiatric disorder to date. The findings, published online in Nature on July 21 2014, point to biological mechanisms and pathways that may underlie schizophrenia, and could lead to new approaches to treating the disorder. Drug development for schizophrenia has seen little innovation in more than 60 years. Core funding comes from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), along with numerous grants from governmental and charitable organizations, as well as philanthropic donations. The Canadian contribution was funded in part by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

June 11, 2014

Painless test can predict severity of chronic liver disease
CIHR-funded research, led by Dr. Robert Myers at the University of Calgary, shows the efficacy of a device assessing liver disease and determining its progression. Liver disease is often caused by hepatitis B or C, or more commonly, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This device predicts the severity of liver illness and associated complications such as liver failure, liver cancer, and need for liver transplantation.This is a non-invasive method that can replace biopsy that may lead in itself to pain, bleeding and death. Additionally, the device provides rapid and immediate assessment of liver disease at significantly reduced cost compared to biopsy.This research was published in PLOS One in April 2014.

June 5, 2014

Brain protein may explain depression in pre-menopause phase
A new study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) shows that women nearing menopause have higher levels of a brain protein linked to depression than both younger and menopausal women. On average, levels of the chemical monoamine oxidase-A (MAO-A) were 34 per cent higher in women with perimenopause than in the younger women, and 16 per cent higher than those in menopause. The research was led by Senior Scientist Dr. Jeffrey Meyer of CAMH’s Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute. This study was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ministry of Research and Innovation. The study was published in JAMA Psychiatry.

May 22, 2014

Scientists discover a natural molecule to treat type 2 diabetes (only in French)
Researchers at the Université Laval Faculty of Medicine, the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Research Center, and the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods have discovered a natural molecule that could be used to treat insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. The molecule, a derivative of omega-3 fatty acids, mimics some of the effects of physical exercise on blood glucose regulation. The details of the discovery made by Professor André Marette and his team are published today in Nature Medicine. This research is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Diabetes Association.

May 21, 2014

NIH-CIHR studies find statins provide no benefit to COPD, ARDS outcomes
A USA-Canada research collaboration has found that statin therapy does not prevent exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or lower mortality from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The findings of these clinical trials were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and supported in part by CIHR.

April 17, 2014

Factor present in gestational, type 2 diabetes could provide new treatment options
New research reveals that both pregnant women with diabetes and with type 2 diabetics have high levels of a fat metabolite that impairs pancreatic cells from secreting insulin. The findings, which are published in the April 1 issue of the Cell Press journal Cell Metabolism, suggest that blocking the effects of this fat metabolite may help prevent and treat diabetes. The research was supported in part by CIHR.

April 8, 2014

Food Insecurity presents a serious and growing challenge in Canada’s northern and remote Aboriginal communities, finds Expert Panel
A new expert panel report on food security in Northern Canada, has found that food insecurity among northern Aboriginal peoples requires urgent attention in order to mitigate impacts on health and well-being. Aboriginal Food Security in Northern Canada: An Assessment of the State of Knowledge, released today by the Council of Canadian Academies, addresses the diversity of experience that northern First Nations, Inuit, and Métis households and communities have with food insecurity.

Aboriginal households across Canada experience food insecurity at a rate more than double that of non-Aboriginal households (27% vs. 12%, respectively). Recent data indicate that Canadian households with children have a higher prevalence of food insecurity than households without children. The research was supported in part by CIHR.

February 20, 2014

New tool identifies high-risk lung patients: Ottawa COPD Risk Scale
Less than thirty days after their release from the hospital, one third of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) find themselves in the emergency department. This disease, usually caused by smoking, is especially prevalent in seniors. Emergency physicians have difficulty deciding which patients with COPD are severe enough to be admitted and which ones are safe to be sent home.

A new Ottawa COPD Risk Scale tool has been created by Dr. Ian Stiell and colleagues that will give emergency physicians an easier and standardized way to identify high-risk lung patients that should be or remain hospitalized. This 10 point scale will help both patients and health care systems.

January 23, 2014

Researchers discover how heart arrhythmia occurs
Researchers at the University of Calgary and Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta have discovered the fundamental biology of calcium waves in relation to heart arrhythmias.

Heart arrhythmias cause the heart to beat irregularly, resulting in symptoms such as dizziness and fainting, or in severe cases, sudden arrhythmic death. While many factors contribute to the development of arrhythmias, including genetics, scientists know that a common mechanism of cardiac arrhythmias is calcium overload in the heart. The underlying mechanism of these calcium-triggered arrhythmias has remained a mystery for decades.

The findings published this month in Nature Medicine outline the discovery of this fundamental physiological process that researchers hope will one day help design molecularly tailored medications that correct the pathophysiology. The research was supported in part by CIHR.

January 16, 2014

Special supplement: The Health of Official Language Minority Populations
In Canada, official language communities living in minority situation represent approximately two million citizens who are scattered over the entire country. In spite of the equal constitutional status of both official languages in Canada, Francophones living in Anglophone provinces and Anglophones living in Quebec are confronted with systemic barriers preventing them from accessing resources and services in their preferred official language. Supported by an Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) grant from CIHR, researchers explored the environmental, cultural and structural factors that influence health disparities among Francophone minorities. They published their results as a special supplement in the Canadian Journal of Public Health: “The Health of Official Language Minority Populations”.