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.