Research

What is schizophrenia exactly? What causes it? Is it preventable and is there a treatment or even a cure?

Researchers have confronted these questions and more for decades, and as they continue delve into the fascinating areas of molecular genetics, neurophysiology and the brain, we find ourselves on the cusp of new insights into understanding and treating schizophrenia and related disorders. Just imagine a day when there would be a͞ “cure”͟ for these illnesses! Meanwhile, researchers are also looking at the effects of psychosocial interventions and complementary treatments – like exercise, music therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and cognitive remediation – to be used along with medication.

Funding for leading-edge research is crucial to eventually eradicating these illnesses and improving the quality of life for those affected by schizophrenia and psychosis. However, when you compare the amount of support and funding allocated towards schizophrenia research to that of cancer or heart disease, it is clear that the resources required to realize this goal are severely limited.

Since 1993, the generous donors of the BCSS Foundation have not only provided vital funding for BCSS programs, but also for research in schizophrenia – helping fund more than 80 research projects and contributing more than $2 million towards schizophrenia research. Now more than 25 years later, donors continue to provide reasons to hope.

The BCSS Foundation is committed to ensuring that research into schizophrenia and related disorders continues in British Columbia.

Last fall, the BCSS Foundation established an endowment fund* to support schizophrenia research projects and equipment purchases.

Research Projects

Thanks to the support of B.C. Schizophrenia Society Foundation, the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry has successfully completed the purchase and implementation of a 256-channel electroencephalogram (EEG) system to advance the Department’s schizophrenia research program. This state-of-the-art equipment will enable UBC schizophrenia researchers and their colleagues in mind and brain health research to develop more nuanced models of the relationship between symptoms and brain function, increasing the speed with which new therapies can be developed and tested for the benefit of patients with schizophrenia and other brain disorders in British Columbia.

Data collection for research using this system started in September 2015 for four schizophrenia-related studies, all being conducted by Dr. Todd Woodward, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Cognitive Neuroscience of Schizophrenia Laboratory.

Functional brain networks underlying non-pharmaceutical interventions for psychosis

A study aimed to contribute to the body of evidence supporting methods for bringing strength and organization back to the brain networks affected in psychosis through the use of group-based education and training sessions.

Cognitive and brain mechanisms underlying disconfirmatory evidence integration in delusions in schizophrenia

This study investigates the brain network processes around evidence integration and whether they are impaired in schizophrenia patients with delusions, compared to patients without delusions and healthy controls.

Decision-making and schizophrenia and the salience network

This study investigates whether salience networks used in decision-making are impaired in schizophrenia, compared to healthy controls.

Neurological networks underlying working memory in psychosis

The purpose of this study is to develop a better understanding of the brain networks underlying persistent cognitive impairments (present throughout the course of schizophrenia) in working memory.

Links to other Research and Information

A list of useful links to research and information on schizophrenia, psychosis and the brain.

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