Searching for signs of depression and suicide

By Shaalee Sone, Outreach Intern, Ontario Brain Institute

Individuals who have attempted suicide often say that if one person had taken a minute to ask them how they were feeling it could have prevented them from engaging in suicidal behaviour. While it’s healthy to regularly discuss feelings with loved ones, and we want to support those in need, how can we tell when someone is contemplating suicide and if we should talk about it with them? Beyond individual help, it can also be challenging to find systemic help. A recent ICES report found that mental health and addictions care for youth is poor in five provinces, including Ontario.

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Reducing the stigma of overdose and increasing awareness

By: Shaalee Sone, Outreach Intern, Ontario Brain Institute

There is a tendency to categorize people who have died or been injured by overdose as “others,” but overdose can affect anyone – our friends, our parents, our siblings, our children and even ourselves. The impact of overdose extends beyond each individual, onto their family, their friends and the people who care about them which is why we need to address the stigma around overdose collectively.

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Research Updates

OBI’s Integrated Discovery Programs bring together over 200 core researchers and clinicians, 35 institutions, 40 companies, and 20 patient advocacy groups from across Ontario.

Read about their latest news and progress in the updates that they have provided. Continue reading “Research Updates”

Hitting A Bullseye Using Biomarkers

By: Martin Smith, OBI Intern, Outreach

The brain is complicated.  After a century of research we are still making new discoveries every day.  Our knowledge of how this organ works is limited because it is a network of highly-specialized cells and the network is always being rewired. Continue reading “Hitting A Bullseye Using Biomarkers”

Mythbusters: The Brain Edition

There are a lot of folktales, sayings and “common sense” statements surrounding the topic of brain health. These statements or blurbs can be a one-liner heard on the news, a topic discussed on the radio, or even a meme on the internet. For example, “we only use 10% of our brains” is a fairly prevalent phrase – it was even the premise of the 2014 box office movie hit “Lucy.” In the movie, Morgan Freeman states, “It is estimated most human beings use only 10 %of the brain’s capacity… imagine if we could access 100%.”  In fact, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that 90% of the human brain is unused. What would be a more accurate statement is that we actually have little understanding of how our brains work. Continue reading “Mythbusters: The Brain Edition”

Bringing Together the Brightest Minds to Beat Depression

By: Dipa Basu, PhD, OBI Management Fellow

1 in 10 Canadians will be affected by depression at some point in their lives. The remaining 9 will know someone who is affected. Depression is a mood disorder which can become isolating and debilitating, and in some cases, even life-threatening. However, innovative research within this field is bringing about major improvements in how we treat depression. Recently, I had the chance to attend an event that presented some very new ideas and approaches to conquering the burden that depression has on individuals and our society.
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Exercise as medicine

As you leave the doctor’s office you look down at the prescription pad and notice that instead of a drug your doctor has prescribed a dose of… exercise? This should really come as no surprise considering that by combining all the benefits discussed previously, aerobic exercise acts like a ‘cocktail therapy’ to improve brain health. There is little doubt that a dose of exercise is foundational for brain health, but did you know exercise can also be used as medicine to prevent, treat or recover from several brain disorders? Here are some examples: Continue reading “Exercise as medicine”