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Mood disorders

Brain sciences scientists are studying mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder from four main perspectives:

  • phenomenological
  • biological
  • psychopharmacological
  • cognitive behavioural

Unique to this program is our focus on people across the lifespan. We are working to improve the treatment of mood disorders for teenagers, adults and the elderly through population health initiatives, clinical trials and pharmacogenetics.

Population health initiatives ask questions such as the following:

  • How common is seasonal bipolar disorder in Ontario?
  • What are the trends in prescribing patterns for bipolar disorder in the elderly?
  • What is the effect of antidepressant use on hospitalizations across Ontario?
    (a collaboration with the Institutes for Clinical Evaluative Sciences)

Example projects

  • A clinical trial investigating which medication is most effective for bipolar disorder
  • A utilization trial looking at how often antidepressants are used
  • Probing the possibility that there is a genetic predictor able to specify who will respond to specific medications

Across all of these areas of investigation, our research findings are having an impact on the quality of treatment and the quality of life for patients with mood disorders. These results are receiving considerable national and international interest.

Just recently, scientists in the mood disorders program published the first findings from the Wireless Mood Telemetry Project, an 18-month pilot study that used wireless technology in real-time to track and map the moods of people with and without bipolar disorder. The twice-daily ratings collected were used to create a massive database that is now serving as an invaluable research resource.