A Longitudinal Comparison of Aripiprazole Vs. Higher Metabolic Risk Antipsychotic Drugs on Adiposity using MRI

Antipsychotic medication is associated with a constellation of metabolic abnormalities, including weight gain, an imbalance between glucose and insulin actions, and higher than normal lipid content. In particular, adolescent psychiatric patients are at increased risk for Type II Diabetes and cardiovascular disease when undergoing therapeutic treatment. Current analysis indicates that antipsychotic drugs have differing effects on body weight gain and fat content. Our aim is to conduct the first-ever study to quantify changes in both whole-body fat and liver-fat accumulation after the administration of several different antipsychotic drugs in children and adolescents. By utilizing sophisticated imaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), we will gain insight into antipsychotic drug-induced fat accumulation and distribution. The results of this study will provide important information about the potential hidden harmful effects associated with several drugs and identify optimal treatment strategies that may guide future clinical studies with adolescent patients.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Alasdair Barr


Heidi Boyda


BC Mental Health & Addictions Services




Life sciences


University of British Columbia



Current openings

Find the perfect opportunity to put your academic skills and knowledge into practice!

Find Projects