Brain disorders are an increasing public health concern, surpassing both cardiovascular disease and cancer with respect to global burden of disease. These disorders have familiar names, including depression, multiple sclerosis, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and many more. They have a devastating impact, not only to those afflicted, but also on families, the community and the health care system.
Launched in May 2015, the Brain and Mental Health research strategy provides a unifying direction for brain and mental health research at the University of Calgary. This exciting strategy, led by the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, positions University of Calgary researchers to unlock new discoveries and treatments for brain health in our community by working in interdisciplinary teams.
Existing drug is effective in preventing withdrawal symptoms in opioid-dependent rodents
Opioid use and abuse is a significant social, health and economic issue in Canada. Researchers at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM) and Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) have discovered that an existing anti-gout medication is effective in reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms in opioid-dependent rodents. Their work is leading to the development of a clinical trial at the Calgary Pain Clinic.
Neuroscientist Tuan Trang, PhD, and his team including PhD student Nicole Burma explored the underlying causes of opioid withdrawal and identified an important target in the spinal cord that is responsible for producing withdrawal symptoms in rats and mice.
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Researchers study binge-eating to better understand why people overeat
Overeating is the largest determinant of obesity, which is one of the biggest health crises affecting Canadians. A new animal study by the Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) provides new insight into how high-fat diets rapidly rewire the reward circuits in the brain, which can lead to an increase in food-seeking and risk-taking behaviours in the pursuit of food. The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States. Read more »
Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre partners with university to 'make the invisible visible' using scientific approaches
A new partnership between the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre (SKCAC) and the University of Calgary’s Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education will study the impact of child abuse on the developing brain. The goal is to use a scientific approach to understand which interventions work best to mitigate the impact of child abuse, to compare the impact of childhood sexual abuse to that of other forms of childhood trauma, and to understand why some children are more resilient than others.
“I am so excited to see this collaboration between the SKCAC and the Mathison Centre to examine the impact of childhood abuse on the neurobiological and psychosocial development of young victims,” says Sheldon Kennedy, lead director at the SKCAC. Read more »
Chance meeting sets in motion promising new multiple sclerosis therapies
A Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) trainee looking for the next big discovery in multiple sclerosis (MS) research got a surprise break while on a ski trip to Banff with some new friends — unveiling a new approach to repair damaged nerve cells. MS is a neurological disease that attacks myelin, the protective covering surrounding nerve cells. The disease affects 100,000 Canadians and approximately 340 out of every 100,000 Albertans. Read more »