The building blocks of schizophrenia and drug addiction


Montreal, July 4, 2005 – Traumatic life events such as complications during birth, drug abuse and stress may have long-lasting effects on behaviour according to researcher Cecilia Flores PhD, of the Douglas Hospital Research Centre. She is using a variety of techniques to better understand how these changes occur in the brain and is particularly interested in how exposure to environmental stressors can have an impact on the development of mental disorders such as schizophrenia and drug addiction. Her research is one step closer thanks to new funding from the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). This was announced at the Douglas Hospital by Henri-François Gautrin, MNA of Verdun and Minister for Online Government.

"The study of psychiatric disorders has been transformed by the explosive growth of neuroscience and recent advances in molecular biology," says Flores. "My research involves looking at the links between behaviour, neurochemistry and molecular biology." Flores' project involves looking at changes in the gene and protein levels from brains of animal models of mental disorders. The localization, identity and shape of nerve cells expressing these genes and proteins of interest are a core component of her research. She will also look at the relationship between these findings to behavioural study data. "This research has important implications for understanding the causes of mental illness, and could lead to the development of diagnostic tools, treatment and prevention," adds Flores.

"Treatment provided to people suffering from mental illness is more likely to be successful when there's a good understanding of the causative mechanisms," says Gautrin. "Because of this, our government is proud to support the work of Ms. Flores, with a view to improving the quality of life of all citizens," he adds.

Flores will receive $143,400 in financial support from the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services. Within the context of CFI programs, the financial contribution of the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services can reach 40 percent of admissible expenditures, the remainder being provided by the CFI itself and by various partners. "Schizophrenia is an illness that can significantly affect the afflicted person, as well as having an impact on his or her interpersonal relationships. This is why it's important, even crucial, to support programs like this one. It contributes to improving the well-being of our society," Gautrin concludes.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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