CERVO bets on mental health research

This text is part of the charity work section

The cradle of psychiatry in Quebec, CERVO continues to play a major role in the field of mental health. While it continues to contribute to the quality of care, it plays an important role in changing perceptions and advancing science.

“You can’t fix a broken car if you don’t know how to operate it,” explains Dr.s Yves de Koninck. Likewise, in medicine, you can’t cure a problem if you don’t understand it well! Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at Université Laval and Director of the CERVO Research Center. “Mental health is the most complex medicine. So we still have a lot of work to do to better understand the human mind.”

Like him, many researchers are working hard to demystify the causes of mental health problems within the nationally and internationally recognized CERVO research center. The center brings together experts from various disciplines, from ophthalmology to engineering, who care about issues such as depression, post-traumatic stress, or even schizophrenia.

The research center receives a portion of its funding through charitable causes raised through the CERVO Foundation. The latter was created 45 years ago with the initial goal of being able to improve the daily lives of patients at Robert Giffard Hospital Centre. In 2009, it became the University of Quebec’s Institute of Mental Health and merged with the Center for Integrated Health and Social Services (CIUSSS) in Capitale-Nationale in 2015.

The importance of mental health research

Since then, the foundation has expanded its skills and changed its name to CERVO, in reference to the member at Origin of Mental Health Disorders. In addition to supporting care, it invests heavily in education against stigma and the advancement of basic and clinical research.

“Looking upstream a little bit and often we forget it,” comments Yves de Koninck. [La philanthropie] Highlights the importance of this work done in the shadows, adds the researcher, who insists on the importance of research for the necessity of early detection and care.

For example, through the work of the Center, certain vital signs were identified. And the latter, in a way, are molecular signatures that allow early diagnosis of diseases. Dr. points out.s from Konink. If we can detect vulnerability to a disease, we can put in place items to prevent its development. »

If the metabolic syndrome associated with diabetes is quickly detected in the patient, then the latter can adjust his diet to avoid developing the disease, the researcher gives as an example. “The same goes for mental illness,” he says. The earlier we discover things, the sooner we can intervene. if we deal [un patient] In the first psychosis, the chances of recovery are much higher. »

Similarly, researchers from the center have shown that the network of genes underlying depression is very different in men and women. The mechanisms vary by gender, and medical interventions with women should be reviewed accordingly, the doctor explains.

The Ten Impact of Philanthropy

More than $10 million: This is the charitable contribution that the CERVO Foundation has made possible to pour into research, rejoices Marieze Beaulieu, the foundation’s CEO. While part of the CERVO Research Center’s funding comes from government grants, the charitable portion helps create a vibrant work environment.

“The ten million made it possible to find new seekers, new equipment, and a new building. We have an exponential clout effect. [sur la recherche], explains the general manager. In particular, donations make it possible to invest in the latest equipment in order to study the infinitesimally small and attract distinguished researchers. »

In January, a $250,000 donation from Bell Let’s Talk made it possible to purchase a second neuromodulator for patients at CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale. The device, whose operation is based on pulses of magnetic fields that have an effect on the activity of neurons, is used with patients with depressive disorders who are resistant to standard treatments. The second device would improve access to care, and waiting times for this type of care could extend to more than 8 months.

“Money from philanthropy allows us to get very large amounts of money from the public. Our public decision makers like that we get a portion of the funding from private donations, because it shows a commitment from the community, which continues in the same vein.s Yves de Koninck. We multiply by 5 or sometimes by 10 with public funding programs! »

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