Methamphetamine, Psychotic disorders, Schizophrenia Brain imaging, Brain morphology, Cognition, Dual diagnosis ,Evaluation research, Medication effects, Neuropsychiatry/ Neuropsychology, Exercise & Brain
Genomics and Personalized Health
In 1995, as a new graduate student in the department of psychiatry, I began investigating the morphological phenomena of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders. These initial in-vivo investigations involved the application of CT (Computed Tomography) imaging to examine phenotypic characteristics of brain morphology in families affected by schizophrenia. Since that time, my research has moved forward into multi-modal applications of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to investigate the effects of antipsychotic medications on brain structure in schizophrenia, the relationships between structure, symptoms and cognition in psychotic disorders and first-episode psychosis, and more recently, the interactions between substance abuse, psychosis and systemic infections on brain morphology.
Currently, all my neuroimaging research data are obtained at UBC on the high-field research scanner, which produces exceptionally high quality scans and gives researchers the capability to examine physiological, biochemical and physical markers in the brain. This has allowed me, along with the residents and graduate students I work with, to examine the neurocircuitry and metabolic characteristics of psychotic disorders using diffusion tensor imaging and susceptibility-weighted imaging. My current projects involve the investigation of the effects of exercise on hipppocampal volume and vascularization in chronic schizophrenia patients and in adolescent psychosis patients. Additionally, I am involved in a large longitudinal imaging study of multi-diagnosis addiction, psychosis and infection subjects over the course of 5-8 years. Some of the goals of this study include investigating the interactions of life circumstances, addiction, mental illness and physical illnesses in an urban population, and how these interactions have affected quality of life, health care access, persistence of mental disorder/addictions and neurobiological integrity.