Top 12 research stories of 2022

As the research institute of London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and St. Joseph’s Health Care London, our teams impact the lives of people in Ontario, Canada and around the globe with groundbreaking studies, world firsts and translational research that enhances care, health and wellbeing. Here are some of Lawson Health Research Institute’s top research highlights of 2022.

Researchers looking to better personalize treatment for PTSD

Dr. Ruth Lanius

In a new study through Lawson and Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, scientists are looking at a form of treatment called deep brain reorienting (DBR) for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Read more.

Virtual care associated with significant environmental and patient cost savings

LHSC Hospital H

A new study by researchers at ICES, Lawson and Western finds that virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and patient travel-related expenses, such as gasoline, parking or public transit costs. Read more.

Novel test that could easily diagnose blast injury created by local scientists

File of a blast

In a world first, researchers at Lawson and Defence Research and Development Canada have developed a breath test that could be used to diagnose repetitive blast injury – a mild traumatic brain injury resulting from pressure changes that occur during explosions. The device will soon go through clinical trials to validate its efficacy. Read more.

Local researchers using artificial intelligence to lead the way in bedside lung imaging

AI Machine

A team at Lawson is testing a new form of artificial intelligence (AI), paired with portable ultrasound machines, to image and identify lung concerns in real time, right at the beside of critically ill patients. Approximately 100 critical care patients at LHSC will be part of this study. Read more.

New tool shows promise in helping people manage traumatic brain injuries one pace at a time

Brain pacer app

A team at Lawson has developed a new app called MyBrainPacer™ which aims to better assist and treat those living with mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI), including concussions. mTBI may come with lasting effects that can alter a person’s life.  Although a person with a mTBI may appear fine on the outside, many have to pace their day-to-day activities in order to allow the time needed for the brain to properly heal. Much like point tracking used by dieters to monitor food choices, through MyBrainPacer™ App, users can assign values to tasks like driving, grocery shopping, screen use and exercise so they can plan and pace their daily activity.  Read more.

Study shows a decline in Veterans' mental health throughout the pandemic

Veteran stock photo

When it comes to mental health conditions, Veterans are an at-risk population, often having higher rates of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, scientists at Lawson wanted to understand its effects on this already at-risk population. They found that more than half of Canadian Veterans reported a decline in their mental health. Read more.

Growing evidence that PSMA imaging improves prostate cancer detection

PSMA file

Scientists at Lawson are leading the way in using specialized imaging to detect prostate cancer – the fifth leading cause of cancer death in men around the world. Early evidence indicates that PSMA PET scans have changed how prostate cancer is being treated, but more work is underway to understand the impact of those treatment changes. Read more.

Leveraging virtual reality to manage pain in paediatric patients

VR device

A study underway through Lawson and Children’s Hospital at LHSC is using virtual reality (VR) to help paediatric patients during painful and distressing procedures. The study is focusing on paediatric patients who need port access. A port is a little reservoir that sits underneath the skin that allows access to blood or medication with the use of a needle. Ports are most commonly used in paediatric cancer patients. Read more.

Team players: FMT and microbiome research could have widespread impact

FMT lab work

There is still much to learn about the human microbiome and its role in fighting disease, but ongoing studies at Lawson, including a focus on fecal microbial transplants (FMT), are making strides in harnessing this complex system. FMT is being studied in connection with conditions as varied as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, HIV, cancer and multiple sclerosis. Read more.

London researchers adapt MRI technology to image salt within the kidneys

MRI Machine

Scientists at Lawson have adapted PET/MRI technology to accurately image salt within the kidneys of patients with kidney disease. Imaging salt within the kidneys has never been accurately accomplished in patients with kidney disease, but Dr. McIntyre and his team developed new technology and software that was adaptable to a PET/MRI machine at St. Joseph’s. Read more.

London researchers discover novel method to diagnose long COVID

Lab file

Published in Molecular Medicine, researchers at Lawson have found that patients with post-COVID-19 condition (long COVID) have unique biomarkers in their blood. The team is now working on developing a first of its kind blood test that could be used to diagnose long COVID. The discovery could also lead to new therapeutics for this condition. Read more.

Largest trial ever done in hemodialysis care examines optimal dialysis temperature

Dialysis machine

Published in the Lancet findings from a large clinical trial through Lawson, ICES Western and Western University suggest that lowering dialysis temperatures does not lead to improved patient outcomes, despite previous studies suggesting otherwise. Read more.

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Lawson Health Research Institute
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