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Scientist profiles A-F

SRI profiles

Anthony Feinstein, MBBCh., MPhil., PhD, FRCPC

Associate scientist

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Department of Psychiatry
2075 Bayview Ave., FG 16
Toronto, ON
M4N 3M5

Phone: 416-480-4216
Fax: 416-480-4613

Administrative Assistant: Colleen Barry
Phone: 416-480-4216


  • M.B.B.Ch., 1980, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
  • M.R.C.Psych., 1988, University of London, U.K.
  • M.Phil., 1990, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, University of London, U.K.
  • PhD., 1992, Institute of Neurology, University of London, U.K.
  • FRCPC, 1996, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Anthony Feinstein is a professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. His research follows two broad strands. The first focuses on the search for cerebral correlates of behavioral disorders associated with multiple sclerosis. His neuroimaging (MRI) studies, have helped define the structural brain changes associated with depression in people with MS. His lab has developed novel, computerized neuropsychological assessments that are sensitive to cognitive impairment in people with MS. Current work has elucidated the functional brain changes and cognitive dysfunction secondary to cannabis use in people with MS. He is the principal investigator on a six country, 11 centre neuro-rehabilitation study investigating the potential cognitive benefits of combined aerobic exercise and cognitive rehabilitation in people with a chronic progressive disease course.

His second research area relates to the study of journalists in conflict situations. He has published a series of seminal studies exploring the psychological effects of conflict on journalists covering the Balkans, Iraq, Mexico, Syria, Kenya, Iran, Afghanistan, the refugee crisis in Europe and the aftermath of the 9/11 attack on New York City. He currently consults to a number of news organizations including the Globe and Mail, CNN, and the New York Times.

Dr. Feinstein is the author of In Conflict (New Namibia Books, 1998), Dangerous Lives: War and the Men and Women Who Report It (Thomas Allen, Toronto 2003), The Clinical Neuropsychiatry of Multiple Sclerosis (Cambridge University Press 1999, with a second edition in 2007), Michael Rabin, America’s Virtuoso Violinist (Amadeus Press, 2005, second edition, 2011; audiobook, 2017), Journalists Under Fire: the Psychological Hazards of Covering War (John Hopkins University Press, 2006), Battle Scarred (Tafelberg Press, 2011) and Shooting War (Glitterati Editions, 2018). His latest book is Mind, Mood and Memory in Multiple Sclerosis (Johns Hopkins University Press), due out in the spring of 2022. He has published widely in peer-reviewed journals and has authored many book chapters.

In 2000-2001 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to study mental health issues in post-apartheid Namibia. In 2012, he produced a documentary, “Under Fire” based on his research of journalists in war zones. It was longlisted for an Academy Award and won a 2012 Peabody Award. His series Shooting War for the Globe and Mail Newspaper was shortlisted for a 2016 EPPY award.

» Selected journalism publications

1. WAR

Feinstein A, Owen J. (2002) War journalists and psychopathology: are those who photograph the news at greater risk? Columbia Journalism Review July/August, 51.

Feinstein A, Owen J, Blair N. (2002) A hazardous profession: War, journalists and psychopathology. American Journal of Psychiatry 159, 1570-1575.

Feinstein A. (2004) The stress of war on journalists. The Nieman Reports. 58, 75-76

Carr-Locke J, Feinstein A. (2006) Motivation, risk-taking and front-line journalism: a pilot study. International Journal of the Humanities, 3, 19-24.

Feinstein A, Botes M. (2009) The psychological health of contractors working in war zones. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 22, 102-5.

Feinstein A. (2010) A dangerous world: Psychological wellbeing in conflict zones: Assessing the psychological effects of conflict. Journal of International Peace Operations, 5, 29-30.

Feinstein A. War Photography: The physical and psychological costs. J. Hum Rehabil. Spring, 2017.

Feinstein A, Osmann J, Patel V. (2018) Symptoms of PTSD in frontline journalists: A retrospective examination of 18 years of war and conflict. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Sep;63(9), 29-35.

Osmann, J., Dvorkin, J., Inbar, Y., Page-Gould, E., & Feinstein, A. (2020). The emotional well-being of journalists exposed to traumatic events: A mapping review pp. 1-27. Media, War & Conflict.


Feinstein, A., Wanga, J., & Owen, J. (2015). The psychological effects of reporting extreme violence: a study of Kenyan journalists. JRSM open, 6(9); 1-6.


Feinstein A. (2012) Mexican journalists: an examination of their emotional health. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 25, 1-4 Jul 13. doi: 10.1002/jts.21715. [Epub ahead of print]

Feinstein A. (2013) Mexican journalist and journalists covering war: a comparison of psychological wellbeing. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 5, 77-85.


Feinstein A, Nicolson D. (2005) The Iraq war: are embedded journalists at greater psychological risk? Journal of Traumatic Stress Studies, 18, 129-132.


Feinstein A, Starr S. (2015) Civil War in Syria: The psychological effects on journalists. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 7(1), 57-64.


Levaot Y, Sinyor M. Feinstein A. (2013) Trauma and psychological distress observed in journalists: A comparison of Israeli journalists and their Western counterparts. Israel Journal of Psychiatry; 50(2), 118-121.


Feinstein A, Feinstein S, Bahari M, Pavisian B. (2016). The psychological wellbeing of Iranian Journalists. (2016) Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Open, 7(15), 1-5.


Osmann J, Khalvatgar M, Feinstein A. (2020) Psychological distress in Afghan journalists: a descriptive study. Journal of Aggression Conflict and Peace Research, Vol. 12 N0. 3, pp. 115-123.


Feinstein A, Waknine E, Audet B. (2014) Witnessing extreme violence in the newsroom. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Short Reports. 5(8); 1-7.


Feinstein A, Pavisian B, Storm H. (2018) Journalists covering the refugee and migration crisis are affected by moral injury not PTSD. JRSM Open, 9(3), doi: 10.1177/2054270418759010.


Osmann J, Selva M, Feinstein A. (2021) How have journalists been affected psychologically by their coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic? A descriptive study of two international news organizations. BMJ-open. Jul 12;11(7):e045675. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-045675.


Feinstein A, Sinyor M. (2009) The emotional health of women frontline journalists: what the data show. Nieman Reports, 63, 24-5.

Sinyor M, Feinstein A. (2012) War, journalism and psychopathology: does gender play a role. Traumatology 18, 29-36.

   a 12-part series for the Globe and Mail (2017-2018)

Globe and Mail. May 25, 2015. CONFLICT PHOTOGRAPHERS.

Globe and Mail. June 22, 2015. CONFLICT PHOTOGRAPHERS.

Globe and Mail. July 20, 2015. CONFLICT PHOTOGRAPHERS.

Globe and Mail. August 25, 2015. CONFLICT PHOTOGRAPHERS.

Globe and Mail. Septemebr 21, 2015. CONFLICT PHOTOGRAPERS.

Globe and Mail. October 23, 2015. CONFLICT PHOTOGRAPHERS.

Globe and Mail. November 26, 2015. CONFLICT PHOTOGRAPHERS. 2015.

Globe and Mail. January 3, 2016. CONFLICT PHOTOGRAPHERS. 2016.

Globe and Mail. February 2, 2016. CONFLICT PHOTOGRAPHERS. 2016

Globe and Mail. March 14, 2016. CONFLICT PHOTOGRAPHERS. 2016

Globe and Mail. April 5, 2016. CONFLICT PHOTOGRAPHERS. 2016

Globe and Mail, May 17, 2016. CONFLICT PHOTOGRAPHERS. 2016

Globe and Mail, June 20, 2016. CONFLICT PHOTOGRAPHERS. 2016

Feinstein A. (2019) Why we need to hear from war photographers.

Feinstein A. (2020) Journalists covering the pandemic are paying a steep price. Globe and Mail Op-Ed. April 27, 2020

» Films

Under Fire. Journalists in Combat – The psychological costs of covering war (2011).
Role: Producer.

A Quiet Courage. Afghan journalists in a time of terror. (2021)
Role: Director, Writer, Producer.

» Selected multiple sclerosis publications


Feinstein A, Roy P, Lobaugh N, Feinstein K, O’Connor P, Black S.(2004) Structural brain abnormalities in multiple sclerosis patients with major depression. Neurology 62, 586-590.

Feinstein A. O’Connor P, Akbar N, Moradzadeh L, Scott CJM, Lobaugh NJ. (2010) Diffusion tensor imaging abnormalities in depressed multiple sclerosis patients. Multiple Sclerosis, 16, 189-198.


Lapshin H, O’Connor P, Lanctôt K, Feinstein A. (2012) Computerized cognitive testing for patients with multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, 1, 196-201. Available online 25 May 2012:

Feinstein A, Lapshin H, O’Conner P. (2012) The Gorilla in the Room: looking anew at cognitive dysfunction in MS. Neurology, 79; 1124-9.

Lapshin H, Lanctot K, O’Connor P, Feinstein A. (2013) Assessing the validity of a computer generated cognitive screening instrument for patients with multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 19(14):1905-12. doi: 10.1177/1352458513488841. Epub 2013 May 7.

Lapshin H, Audet B, Feinstein A. (2013) Detecting cognitive dysfunction in a busy MS clinical setting: a computer generated approach. European Journal of Neurology, 21, 281-286.

Patel VP, Zambrana A, Walker LA, Herrmann N, Feinstein A. (2017) Distraction adds to the cognitive burden in multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler. Jan;23(1):106-113. doi: 10.1177/1352458516641208. Epub 2016 Jul 11.

Patel V. Walker L, Feinstein A. (2017) Processing speed and distractibility in multiple sclerosis: the role of sleep. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders. 11,40-42

Bigi S, Marrie RA, Feinstein A, et al. (2017) The computer-based Symbol Digit Modalities Test: establishing age-expected performance in healthy controls and evaluation of pediatric MS patients. Neurol Sci. 38(4): 635-642.

Patel, V.P., Shen, L., Rose, J., and Feinstein, A. (2019). Taking the tester out of the SDMT: A proof of concept fully automated approach to assessing processing speed in people with MS. Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 25(11), 1506-1513


Ghaffar O, Feinstein A. (2008) Multiple sclerosis and cannabis: a cognitive and psychiatric study. Neurology, 71(3), 164-9.

Honarmand K, Tierney M, O’Connor P, Feinstein A (2011). The effects of cannabis on cognitive function in multiple sclerosis. Neurology, 76, 1153-60. Pavisian B, McIntosh B, Szilagyi G, Staines R, O’Connor P, Feinstein A. (2014) The effects of cannabis on cognition in MS patients: a psychometric and MRI study. Neurology, 82, 1879-1887. Pavisian, B., Staines, W. R., & Feinstein, A. (2015). Cannabis-induced alterations in brain activation during a test of information processing speed in patients with MS. Multiple Sclerosis Journal–Experimental, Translational and Clinical, 1(1);1-10

Feinstein, A., Banwell, E., & Pavisian, B. (2015). What to make of cannabis and cognition in MS: In search of clarity amidst the haze. Multiple Sclerosis Journal. 21(14); 1755-1760.

Feinstein A, Meza C, Staines R, Stefan C. (2019) Coming off cannabis: a cognitive and MRI study. Brain, 142, 2800-2812.

Feinstein A, Meza C, Stefan C, Staines W.R. (2020) Discontinuing cannabis improves depression in people with multiple sclerosis: A short report. Multiple Sclerosis Journal.

Feinstein A, Meza C, Stefan C, Staines R. (2021) Impaired Awareness: Why people with multiple sclerosis continue using cannabis despite evidence to the contrary. Brain and Behavior Aug;11(8):e2220.doi: 10.1002/brb3.2220. Epub 2021 Jun 4.