Welcome to the Thombs Research Team Website!

Dr. Brett Thombs is a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University, a Senior Investigator at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at the Jewish General Hospital, Chair of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care and Director of the Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network (SPIN) and Director of the DEPRESsion Screening Data (DEPRESSD) Project.

Members of the Thombs Research Team work in three projects or areas: (1) SPIN, (2) the DEPRESSD Project, and (3) meta research and policy, which includes the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (CTFPHC), the development of an extension of the CONsolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) statement for trials conducted in cohorts and other routinely collected data, and other meta-research projects.

Each project group includes research coordinators, research assistants, postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students who collaboratively work on various aspects of the projects. Check out the individual project sections to learn more about each project team and our current team members.

Latest News...


Dr. Brooke Levis Successfully Defends her Ph.D. Thesis

Congratulations to Dr. Brooke Levis! Dr. Levis successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis entitled "Using individual participant data meta-analysis (IPDMA) to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9)" on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, at McGill University. Her thesis focused on comparing diagnostic interviews for major depression classification, evaluating the accuracy of the PHQ-9 depression screening tool, and examining bias in accuracy estimates due to using data-driven procedures in small samples. Dr. Levis is currently conducting a postdoctoral fellowship in IPDMA and prediction modelling at Keele University and continues to collaborate with the DEPRESSD Project team.


Congratulations on SPIN's New Publication in BMJ Open! 

Recently, the SPIN team published another paper on factors associated with patient-reported likelihood of using online self-care interventions in BMJ Open. This study, led by Dr. Linda Kwakkenbos, examined factors that explain responses to intervention-specific signalling items, using data of 1,060 SPIN Cohort participants. It was found that the most important factor influencing patient-reported interest in using disease-specific online self-care interventions was a general interest in using online interventions. SPIN will further explore what factors may drive this general interest, as these factors may be taken into consideration when inviting patients to try novel (online) interventions in a research context. Please click here to read more about the study. 


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Congratulations on SPIN's New Publication in Disability and Rehabilitation!

A study led by SPIN's Co-director Dr. Linda Kwakkenbos was recently published in Disability and Rehabilitation. The aims of the study were to assess reasons for not attending scleroderma support groups in European countries and to compare this with previously published North American findings. The two most important reasons for non-attendance in European as well as North American participants were (1) already having enough support, and (2) not knowing of any local scleroderma support groups. Compared to North American non-attenders, European patients were more likely to rate not knowing enough about what happens at support groups, not having reliable ways to get to meetings, and being uncomfortable sharing experiences with a group as important reasons for non-attendance. Please click here to read more about the study. 


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DEPRESSD Team Publishes an Individual Participant Data Meta-analysis 

Recently, the DEPRESSD Team published their first IPD meta-analysis using the DEPRESSD-EPDS database. The study, led by Brooke Levis, included 46 studies (12,759 pregnant or postpartum women, 1553 major depression cases) and compared the probability of major depression classification for different diagnostic interviews. It was found that controlling for EPDS depressive symptom scores and other study and participant characteristics, there were important differences in classification probability across interviews. Among fully structured interviews designed for lay administration, the MINI classified depression more often than the CIDI. Compared with the semistructured SCID designed for administration by clinically trained professionals, probability with the CIDI and MINI increased less as EPDS scores increased. Read more about the study here.


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Congratulations on DEPRESSD's New Publication in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics!

A study led by Chen He (DEPRESSD’s research assistant) on the accuracy of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) algorithm was recently published online in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. The aim of the study was to use IPDMA to evaluate the accuracy of two PHQ-9 diagnostic algorithms for detecting major depression and compare accuracy between the algorithms and the standard PHQ-9 cutoff score of ≥10. Results show that the PHQ-9 score threshold approach provides more desirable combinations of sensitivity and specificity across different cutoffs than the algorithm approach for screening and provides the flexibility to select a cutoff that would provide the preferred combination of sensitivity and specificity. Therefore, The cutoff score approach appears to be a better option than a PHQ-9 algorithm for detecting major depression. To view the full-text article, please click here


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For more news about the team, please click here ...