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CAMH scientist first psychiatrist to win Royal College Medal Award in Medicine

Dr. Jeffrey Meyer, and Head of Neurochemical Imaging in the Mood Disorders at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), is the first psychiatrist to be honoured with the Royal College Medal Award in Medicine in the award's 60 year history.

For over 30 years, scientists believed that monoamines mood-related chemicals such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine are low in the brain during episodes of major depression. This is commonly referred to as a "chemical imbalance", but no one had ever found a convincing explanation for monoamine loss. In 2006, Dr. Meyer unlocked this mystery and released a study that provided an explanation of how the "chemical imbalance" occurs in major depressive episodes the new leading monoamine theory of depression.

Dr. Meyer, who also holds a Canada Research Chair in Neurochemistry of Depression, investigated whether brain monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) an enzyme that breaks down chemicals like serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine was higher in those with untreated depression. The results showed that in major depression MAO-A was significantly higher in every brain region that the scientists investigated. On average, MAO-A was 34 per cent higher.

"It's a wonderful honour for Dr. Meyer, for CAMH, and for psychiatry that a clinical scientist's work is being recognized in this way," said Vice President of Research Dr. Bruce G. Pollock. "The Royal College winners have been amongst Canada's most outstanding emerging investigators in medicine and surgery for the past 60 years, and we're proud to have Dr. Meyer included in this distinguished group."


Contact: Michael Torres
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

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