Impaired empathy and social skills lead to severe social consequences and influence the development and treatment of several psychiatric disorders. Furthermore, empathy has been shown to play a crucial role in moral and prosocial behavior. Recently, a revamped interest for psychedelic compounds has invested the medical research community. For instance, psilocybin is a psychedelic compound which has been demonstrated to safely relieve depression in treatment-resistant depressive patients when used in a controlled setting.
Technological advancements have profoundly altered the lives of children and youth in the 21st century. While there are undeniable harms associated with excessive screen use, digital media has positively transformed how children learn, make friends, and interact with society. Research has firmly established the benefits of technology-based learning for young people’s reasoning and thinking abilities, and preliminary evidence also suggests that some digital media activities may improve children’s mental health.
Individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often struggle to relax, or simply be at ‘rest.’ In particular, recent research has revealed participants with PTSD show hyper-activity across the visual cortex while at rest. Referred to as sensory hyper-activity and disinhibition, altered resting-state patterns are thought to be underlying hypervigilance and re-living sensations clinically, as well as cognitive deficits, which may be produced when cognitive resources are overwhelmed by sensory hyper-activity.
The proposed research project is to program artificial intelligence, as produced by technology company EAIGLE, to monitor animals’ behaviour at the Toronto Zoo. The program will be capable of distinguishing where animals are in their enclosures, between individual animals, and which behaviours they are producing under different contexts. This technology will allow zoos, conservation areas, and researchers to monitor how animals interact with their enclosures and throughout the day, allowing for improved habitats and improved data collection for future experiments. Dr.
This project will undertake research on priorities and concerns that arise within Indigenous and Coastal Communities across Canada. Shipping provides benefits to many remove communities in delivering critical supplies, but the increase in shipping due to growth in activities such as tourism, mining and other industries presents a risk to the environment, livelihoods and food sources. The project aims at enhancing general understanding of the relationship between shipping and Indigenous coastal communities, to better inform decision makers, rights holders and stakeholders.
Dopamine and noradrenaline are neurotransmitters that are released from neurons located in the substantia nigra and locus coeruleus. Therefore, these brain structures have the unique property of containing high concentrations of neuromelanin, a dark pigment that can be visualized with specialized MRI sequences. The neuromelanin-sensitive MRI signal has been used to visualize degeneration of these neurons. Recent work has shown that this signal can also serve as a proxy measure for long-term imbalance in activity of these neurotransmitter systems.
Between 22-81% of individuals with eating disorders (ED) engage in dysfunctional exercise (DEX). Engagement in DEX predicts relapse, illness chronicity, and length of hospital stay, as well as increases cardiovascular and metabolic risk. Conversely, healthy exercise engagement and education during treatment has been linked to improved ED outcomes. Ultimately leading to lower rates of relapse, time spend in hospital, and illness chronicity. The Safe Exercise at Every Stage (SEES) guideline has been developed to support the safe prescription of exercise in ED populations.
Educational video games or ‘serious games’ represent an emerging trend in technology-assisted learning. Research suggests that interactive media, which responds to user input (e.g. video games), may promote learning by engaging attention better than receptive media (e.g. videos). Mind wandering, including off-task thoughts, is associated with disengagement of attention and is linked to boredom and poor learning outcomes. Thus, reduced mind wandering may serve as an indicator of better engagement and learning associated with serious games.
Depression is a common and dangerous mental disorder. Depression can develop during puberty after repeat exposure to stress. In our past studies, we found that both male and female pubertal mice will show depressive behaviour after experiencing repeated sleep disruptions. Interestingly, there is a substance called lactate that is produced in humans and mice that may also improve sleep and reduce depression. Certain probiotics, or healthy bacteria, make this lactate will living in the stomachs of humans and mice.
Violence against women is a widespread public health issue and a human rights violation, adversely affecting women’s physical, psychological, social, and economic well-being. The proposed research, by centering on the post-traumatic mental health outcomes of violence on women, will evaluate the therapeutic effectiveness of two evidence-based interventions, cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), in reducing women’s experiences of traumatic stress and related difficulties.