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...

news item_10-08.PNG

Team publishes a new study on fears due to COVID-19  | 2020/10/08

A new study, conducted by Dr. Yin Wu and the SPIN Team, has been published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research ( Results of the study demonstrate that the COVID-19 Fears Questionnaire for Chronic Medical Conditions is a valid instrument to assess fear among people at risk due to pre-existing medical conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fears experienced during the COVID-19 crisis were first solicited from 121 people with scleroderma. Then, in collaboration with the SPIN Patient Advisory Team, items to evaluate for inclusion in a COVID-19-specific fear measure were developed. The COVID-19 Fears Questionnaire for Chronic Medical Conditions was validated in the ongoing SPIN cohort of almost 800 people with SSc, and the its validity was verified in the second wave of the cohort.

news item_10-06.PNG

Congratulations on SPIN Team's new publication in Health Psychology!  | 2020/10/06

We are happy to announce that the team's paper, "Balance of Group Sizes in Randomized Controlled Trials Published in American Psychological Association Journals", has been published in Health Psychology. The study, led by Mara Cañedo-Ayala who was mentored by Danielle Rice, examined data from 115 eligible studies to evaluate whether sample size differences between arms of two-arm parallel group randomized controlled trials published in American Psychological Association-affiliated journals were consistently smaller than expected by chance with simple randomization. They found that there was a significantly greater number of trials with smaller sample size differences between trial arms than would be expected by chance. Thus, education is needed to ensure that randomization procedures are implemented as intended and fully and accurately reported. Read more about the study:

news_mental health_covid.PNG

SPIN Team publishes new study on mental health during COVID-19  | 2020/10/05

The SPIN Team has published results from a study that compares symptoms of anxiety among 435 participants in the ongoing SPIN Cohort. They found that, on average, anxiety symptoms during April 2020 were substantially higher than prior to COVID-19, whereas depressive symptom change was negligible. Overall, anxiety increased by a clinically meaningful amount for 51% of participants. Anxiety symptoms increased most for participants from the United Kingdom and United States, with lower increases for Canada and France. Greater anxiety increases also appeared to be associated with younger age, shorter time since diagnosis, and less adequate financial resources and non-employment. The study results are available free-of-charge via the following link:

Screen Shot 2020-10-05 at 8.07.57 AM.png

Congratulations to Brooke Levis and the DEPRESSD Team: LDI Paper of the Month!  | 2020/09/29

We are excited to share that the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research has selected the DEPRESSD Team's recent JAMA publication as the September 2020 Paper of the Month. The project, led by Dr. Brooke Levis, combined individual participant data from 100 studies (>44,000 participants) to evaluate the screening accuracy of the PHQ-2 alone and in combination with the PHQ-9. The combination of PHQ-2 (with a cutoff of >=2) followed by the PHQ-9 (with a cutoff of >=10) was found to have similar accuracy to PHQ-9 alone, but reduced the number of participants needing to complete the full PHQ-9 by 57%. Access the full article here:


DEPRESSD's new individual participant data meta-analysis published in Journal of Psychosomatic Research  | 2020/09/24

We are happy to announce that the DEPRESSD team's paper, "Depression prevalence using the HADS-D compared to SCID major depression classification: An individual participant data meta-analysis", has been published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research ( The study, led by Eliana Brehaut (undergraduate thesis student) who was mentored by Dipika Neupane (analytical coordinator), examined data from 41 studies (6005 participants, 689 with major depression), to compare depression prevalence estimates based on the HADS-D versus the SCID. They found that prevalence based on HADS-D ≥ 8 (24.5%) was more than double the SCID (11.6%), and while HADS-D ≥ 11 (10.7%) was similar, single-study differences were highly heterogeneous. Findings suggest that the HADS-D should not be used as a substitute for a validated diagnostic interview.

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