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Impact February 2013

Impact February 2013

This issue: Diverse research that improves patient care

Published by Women’s College Research Institute, Impact is a quarterly newsletter that shares updates about our scientists’ recent accomplishments, tells their stories, offers a peak into what inspires them and shows how their work improves the world. This issue highlights recent examples of diverse ways that our research improves clinical care. Dr. An-Wen Chan is doing work to improve the reliability of research itself, to make sure that doctors are making the most informed decisions for their patients’ health and safety. Dr. Lorraine Lipscombe has identified that, not only does diabetes increase breast cancer risk, but vice versa. Dr. Paula Rochon’s research into how antipsychotics affect women has uncovered insights into men’s health. And Dr. Janice Du Mont continues to uncover insights into the impacts of violence on women.

Innovative research tool aims to improve patient safety
Doctors base their treatment decisions on the results of research studies that aren’t producing reliable data, according to Phelan scientist Dr. An-Wen Chan.

To manage this “dangerous situation that puts patients at risk and wastes health-care dollars,” Chan developed an evidence-based checklist designed to help scientists improve their clinical trial protocols. Higher quality research will better support physician decision making – and patients’ health and safety.

“The checklist will help scientists build protocols that stand up to scrutiny,” says Chan. “It will ultimately support a higher quality of clinical trial data that doctors and patients can rely on.”

The checklist was published in BMJ and Annals of Internal Medicine.

Breast cancer survivors more likely to develop diabetes
Women who have survived breast cancer are more likely to develop diabetes that women who have not had breast cancer, according to researchers at Women’s College Research Institute (WCRI) and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).

Published in Diabetologia, Dr. Lorraine Lipcombe found that breast cancer can increase the risk of diabetes, and that the patterns of disease onset differ in patients who have undergone chemotherapy.

Older men at greater risk of serious events after starting antipsychotic drugs
Scientists at Women’s College Research Institute (WCRI) and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) have found that, following the initiation of antipsychotic therapy, older men with dementia are more likely than women to experience a serious event. The study appeared in JAGS.

“Understanding how drug therapy affects women and men differently is important because it can impact the treatment decisions physicians make regarding prescribing drug therapy for their patients,” says Dr. Paula Rochon.

Intimate partner violence in immigrant and Canadian-born women
A recent study published in BMJ Open highlights differences and similarities in how Canadian-born and immigrant women experience intimate partner violence.

The study compared the physical and psychological consequences of intimate partner violence in Canadian-born and immigrant women.

“We looked at those assaulted by a current or ex partner and then looked at the different types of abuse experienced and the  consequences of that abuse,” says Dr. Janice Du Mont, lead author of the study.

The study findings have implications for seeking help subsequent to intimate partner violence.

Awards in women’s mental health

Dr. Cindy-Lee Dennis, Shirley Brown Chair in Women’s Mental Health Research at Women’s College Research Institute, was awarded the Hope Inspiration Award from the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario. Dennis is also a professor in the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto, and is cross-appointed to the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry.

Dr. Valerie Taylor, psychiatrist-in-chief and scientist and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, was awarded the TOPS Research Award from the Canadian Obesity Network. The award recognizes career contributions to research in the field of obesity. Taylor will deliver a keynote address and receive the award in Vancouver this May 2013, at the Canadian Obesity Summit.

 

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