Congratulations to Elsa on receiving a graduate scholarship!
Congrats to team member and master’s student Elsa-Lynn Nassar who was recently awarded a competitive Cedar and Maple Graduate Scholarship from the Canadian-Lebanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry!
Congratulations to the SPIN team on receiving new CIHR funding!
The SPIN Team was awarded a $20,000 CIHR Planning and Dissemination Grant and ranked very high for its proposal titled “Engaging Patients to Develop a Systemic Program of Patient Engagement in Musculoskeletal and Rare Disease Research: Putting Patients First”. The proposal was led by team member Elsa-Lynn Nassar, Dr. Brett Thombs, patient partner Maureen Sauvé, and Dr. Linda Kwakkenbos. This grant will support SPIN’s patient engagement work, which will involve engaging SPIN’s patient partners, scleroderma patient organization leaders, researchers, and clinicians to jointly develop an evidence-based framework for a patient engagement program. Congrats to the SPIN Team!
Welcome Lu to the team!
Lu Qiu recently join the DEPRESSD team as a Mitacs research intern. She studies biomedical engineering at South China University of Technology. She aspires to pursue future studies in the field of biostatistics. Read more about Lu here.
Welcome Sophie to the team!
Sophie Hu will begin as a research assistant with the SPIN Team on June 27th. She will be working on a variety of tasks across projects in English and French. Sophie graduated from McGill in spring 2022 with her BSc in Psychology. Under the supervision of Dr. Jessica Flake, Sophie completed her honour’s thesis on the development and quantitative assessment of a measure of student motivation and engagement in the pandemic. Read more about Sophie here.
Welcome new team member!
Lara Amiri recently joined the DEPRESSD team as a Mitacs intern. She studies psychology at the Georg August University of Göttingen, Germany. Lara aspires to study clinical psychology and clinical data science in the future. Read more about Lara here.
Welcome Vanessa to the team!
Vanessa Cook recently joined the SPIN team as a research associate. She works as a patient advocate and communications coordinator for individuals living with scleroderma. Vanessa completed her bachelor’s degree in April 2022 at Western University. She aspires to continue patient-centered work in the areas of autoimmunity and diet by pursuing a Naturopathic Doctorate (N.D.). Visit Vanessa’s page for more information.
Welcome Nadia to the team!
Nadia Gonzalez Dominguez joined DEPRESSD team as an intern in April 2022. They received a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Superior Studies (ITESM) in 2018 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Nadia is currently studying a Master of Science in Public Health at McGill University. They worked in the field of neuroscience and data analysis, and medical device manufacturing industry. Nadia’s interests include epidemiological studies of mental health, social epidemiology, and public health policy. Visit Nadia's page for more information.
Welcome new team member!
Claire Adams, as Postdoctoral Fellow, joined The Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network (SPIN) project in March 2022. Claire earned her PhD in Health and Clinical Psychology in 2022. She is also a registered psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Claire’s main areas of expertise include mental health promotion, prevention, and early intervention, health behaviour change, healthy ageing, and patient-centered care. She’ll lead the SPIN Patient Engagement Project under the supervision of Prof. Brett Thombs, which aims to develop a systematic and effective model of patient engagement in SPIN. Visit Claire’s page for more information.
Congratulations to Elsa on receiving the McGill Post-Graduate Student Society Travel Award!
Team member Elsa-Lynn Nassar was recently awarded the McGill Post-Graduate Student Society Travel Award to attend the Canadian Psychological Association's annual conference being held this June in Calgary. Elsa will be presenting results from her master's thesis work on the methodological quality and reporting transparency of depression screening accuracy studies through three posters and an oral presentation. Congratulations, Elsa!
Congratulations to Amina and COVID LSR team on their publication in General Hospital Psychiatry!
We are excited to share that the COVID-19 LSR team's paper, led by Amina, on effects of mental health interventions among people hospitalized with COVID-19 , is now published in General hospital Psychiatry. This paper identified 47 randomized controlled trials from 3 countries, of which 21 tested the effects of psychological interventions, 5 physical and breathing exercises, and 21 a combination of interventions. It concludes that due to poor quality reporting there is insufficient evidence to make clinical recommendations based on included trials. Read more about the paper here.
Congratulations to the DEPRESSD Team on receiving new funding from CRCC and SSHRC!
We are thrilled to share that our DEPRESSD team was awarded a 1-year grant ($237,861) of New Frontiers in Research Fund. 2021 Innovative Approaches to Research in the Pandemic Context by Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for our project “Comparison of depression research diagnoses and symptom scores obtained via conventional in-person and alternative methodologies”. This funding will allow the team to robustly evaluate how data collection methods, especially alternative methods increasingly used in COVID-19 may influence sensitive mental health assessments. Thanks to Yin for leading this!
Elsa's meta-research review is now published in the International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research!
Another review, led by team member Elsa-Lynn Nassar and co-authored by team members Dr. Brooke Levis, Marieke Neyer, and Danielle Rice, is published in the International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research. The team examined 106 primary studies on the accuracy of depression screening tools. The team found that only 11% described a viable sample size calculation and 34% provided reasonably accurate confidence intervals (CIs). Overall, the number of included individuals in most studies was too small to generate reasonably precise accuracy estimates; of 103 studies where 95% CIs were provided or could be calculated, only 7% had sensitivity CI widths of ≤10%, whereas 58 (56%) had widths of ≥21%. The team recommends that future studies of the diagnostic accuracy of depression screening tools should conduct precision-based a priori sample size calculations to either attain desired precision levels or to understand limitations prior to initiating a study. To read the full article, click here here!
Congratulations to Dr. Yin Wu for receiving the McGill MedStar Award
We are excited to share that Dr. Yin Wu (DEPRESSD’s postdoctoral research fellow) has earned the McGill Medstar Award for Trainees for her publication in BMJ entitled: Accuracy of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale Depression Subscale (HADS-D) to screen for major depression: systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis, in recognition of the excellent research carried out in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at McGill University. The winning papers were selected to demonstrate excellence at all levels and to represent all disciplines of our training programs in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Congratulations to Olivia and the COVID-19 LSR team on their publication in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry!
We are happy to share that the COVID-19 LSR team's paper on the effects of COVID-19 mental health interventions among children, adolescents, and adultsis now published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. This paper, led by Olivia Bonardi, included randomised-controlled trials of interventions to address COVID-19 mental health challenges among people not hospitalised or quarantined due to COVID-19 infection. It identified 9 eligible trials, including 3 well-conducted, well-reported trials that tested interventions designed specifically for COVID-19 mental health challenges, plus 6 other trials with high risk of bias and reporting concerns, all of which tested standard interventions (e.g., individual or group therapy, expressive writing, mindfulness recordings) minimally adapted or not specifically adapted for COVID-19. The paper concluded that interventions that adapt evidence-based strategies for feasible delivery may be effective to address mental health in COVID-19. More well-conducted trials, including for children and adolescents, are needed. Read more about the publication here.
Congratulations to Diana et al. on their publication in the Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology!
We are excited to share that Diana et al.’s Letter to Editors: The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale in patients with systemic sclerosis: a psychometric and factor analysis in a monocentric cohort, is now published in the Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology. The letter describes that mental health symptom questionnaires like the HADS are not intended nor calibrated to estimate prevalence; in most cases, they tend to overestimate the true prevalence of psychiatric disorders, often dramatically. It also discusses the evidence that would be needed to recommend mental health screening, which is labour intensive and can lead to unnecessary harms, like all screening programs. Read the letter here.
Meta-research study led by Elsa-Lynn Nassar is accepted for publication in General Hospital Psychiatry!
A meta-research study led by Elsa-Lynn Nassar (MSc Trainee) and co-authored by other team members, including Dr. Brooke Levis (Research Associate) and Danielle Rice (PhD Candidate), was recently accepted for publication in General Hospital Psychiatry. The aims of the study were to assess (1) the proportion of recently published studies of depression screening accuracy that appropriately excluded individuals with a confirmed depression diagnosis or who were already undergoing treatment and (2) whether this has improved since the last review of studies published in 2013-2015. A total of 106 primary studies were identified and assessed. Eighteen of 106 (17%) studies appropriately excluded already diagnosed or treated individuals, representing an 11% improvement since the last review. The proportion of depression screening accuracy studies that appropriately exclude individuals already known to have depression remains low. This may significantly bias research findings intended to inform clinical practice, where known depression cases are not screened. To learn more about the study, click here!
Congratulations to the COVID-19 Living Systematic Review (LSR) Team on receiving new CIHR funding!
We are excited to share that our LSR team was awarded a two-year grant ($368,998) by CIHR’s Addressing the Wider Health Impacts of COVID-19 program for conducting our project “Loneliness Among Older Adults in COVID-19: A Living Systematic Review of Changes in Loneliness from Pre-COVID-19, Association with Mental Health Outcomes, and Effects of Interventions.” This funding will allow the team to continue to update its synthesis of evidence on mental health in COVID-19 and to specifically evaluate changes in loneliness and the effectiveness of interventions to reduce or prevent loneliness in older adults during COVID-19.
New SPIN publication in The Lancet Rheumatology: Study on COVID-19 vaccination experiences and perceptions in people living with scleroderma.
From April 9th to May 15th 2021, the SPIN COVID-19 Vaccine Survey was administered and completed by 936 participants of SPIN’s COVID-19 cohort. At that time, 75% of participants had already received at least one dose, while 10% were described as hesitant to get the vaccine. Hesitant responders also rated potential concerns about the vaccine as higher than non-hesitant participants. Altogether, there was substantially lower vaccine hesitancy than in the general population; the vaccine did not cause major changes in medication; and no severe reactions were reported. In fact, reactions to the vaccine were very similar to those reported in the general population. Congratulations to our colleagues at Cornell University, Drs Jessica Gordon, Kim Showalter and Robert Spiera who led the study. The article can be accessed here.
Welcome new team members!
Enqi Wang and Hassan Khan, as research volunteers, joined the DEPRESSD team in January 2022. Enqi is an undergraduate psychology student with a minor in neuroscience at McGill. She is passionate about pursuing future studies in the field of clinical psychology. Hassan graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Arts (honours) degree in Psychology. He hopes to pursue a career as scientist-practitioner in the near future. His research interests broadly include mental health, meta-research, and health services research. Visit Enqi's and Hassan’s pages to learn more about them.
SPIN Study on Mental Health Symptoms in Scleroderma during COVID-19 Published in Lancet Rheumatology
The SPIN Team followed over 400 participants from the ongoing SPIN Cohort who also provided data, initially every two weeks then every four weeks, during COVID-19. They found that anxiety symptoms increased substantially during the April 2020, but then began to subside and were back to pre-COVID-19 levels by early summer 2020, where they have stayed since then. Depression symptoms did not increase compared to pre-COVID-19 levels. Congratulations to Dr. Richard Henry, who led the study, and the rest of the SPIN Team. Read more here
SPIN publishes protocol for the self-management (SPIN-SELF) Program
Julia Nordlund, Dr. Richard Henry and the SPIN Team published their protocol in Trials for testing the SPIN-SELF Program. The SPIN-SELF Program has been revised to include facilitator-led videoconference group sessions in addition to online material. The SPIN Team will test the group-based intervention delivery format, then evaluate the effect of the SPIN-SELF Program on disease management self-efficacy, and other mental and physical health outcomes. This study will be a randomized controlled feasibility trial with progression to a full-scale trial. At the end of the feasibility portion, stoppage criteria will be used to determine if the trial procedures or SPIN-SELF Program need important modifications, thereby requiring a re-set for the full-scale trial. Otherwise, the full-scale RCT will proceed. Congratulations to Julia, Richard, Dr. Thombs and the rest of the team! Read more here.
SPIN Study on Pain in Scleroderma Published in Lancet Rheumatology
SPIN’s study of pain in 2157 SPIN Cohort participants from 46 centres in 7 countries was published in Lancet Rheumatology. The study found that 35% of people with scleroderma live with moderate to severe pain and that greater pain intensity was associated with many different scleroderma disease manifestations. The SPIN Team concluded that health care providers should work with patients to address pain, including identifying and addressing disease manifestations associated with pain. The article can be found here.
Dr. Thombs Featured in McGill Bicentennial Digital Time Capsule
See Dr. Thombs discuss the transformations he thinks we will see in how we do research over the next 25 years: https://200.mcgill.ca/digital-time-capsule/.
Welcome new team member!
Laury Montemurro, as a research assistant, joined The Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network (SPIN) project on October 4th. Laury finished her undergraduate studies in Psychology at McGill University in April 2021. She aims to pursue her studies in psychology by applying to the PhD program in Clinical Psychology. Click here to learn more about Laury.
Dr. Thombs on Sclero Sun Podcast
Dr. Thombs was interviewed for the Scleroderma Foundation Southern California Chapter podcast about SPIN and its patient programs. The podcast will be available October 15 10:00 pm EST.
BMJ Article on Depression Screening Covered in Mad in America
Congratulations to Dr. Zelalem Negeri and the DEPRESSD Team on their publication in The BMJ!
We are happy to share that the DEPRESSD Team's updated IPDMA on the accuracy of the PHQ-9 screening tool has been published in the BMJ. The project, led by Dr. Zelalem Negeri, combined individual participant data from 100 studies (>44,000 participants) to evaluate the screening accuracy of the PHQ-9. The combined sensitivity and specificity of the PHQ-9 were maximized at a cut-off of >=10. Specificity was similar across reference standards, but sensitivity in studies with semi-structured interviews was higher than with fully structured reference standards and with the MINI. Moreover, specificity was higher for men and older participants. The full article can be accessed here. Researchers and clinicians can use our results to determine outcomes, such as the total number of positive screens and false-positive screens, at different PHQ-9 cut-offs for different clinical settings as described in our knowledge translation tool here.
Position Available: Full-time Data Manager and Analyst
Dr. Brett Thombs (www.thombsresearchteam.ca/) and Dr. Andrea Benedetti (https://www.mcgill.ca/epibiostat-occh/andrea-benedetti) of McGill University and the Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network (SPIN; www.spinsclero.com) are seeking a full-time Data Manager and Analyst to contribute to observational studies and novel trials of patient-centred interventions in a rare disease context (PDF for more details).
Start date: Start date is flexible, and applications will be considered on a rolling basis.
To apply: applicants should send (1) a cover letter, (2) a curriculum vitae, (3) an unofficial transcript, (4)a writing sample, and (5) contact information for three references to Ms. Marie-Eve Carrier (firstname.lastname@example.org).
COVID-MINDS Interview with Dr. Thombs
See Q & A with Dr. Brett Thombs and COVID-MINDS on mental health research in the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Thombs discusses our living systematic review and what we have learned conducting this work: [LINK]
Congratulations to Nora Østbø and the SPIN Team on SPIN-DINE publication!
We are happy to share that the SPIN Team's study on nutrition information resources was published in Arthritis Care and Research - Open Rheumatology. Study investigators conducted nominal group technique sessions with people with scleroderma to examine the use of nutrition and diet information resources, and perceptions of these resources. This study is the first step of the SPIN - Diet and Nutrition Information (DINE) project led by Nora Østbø, which aims to identify and address existing information gaps in the area of nutrition and scleroderma, with the long-term goal of providing tools for people with SSc to find and access evidence-based information and guidance on nutrition and diet. Read more here: [LINK].
New CIHR funding for the SPIN team!
We are excited to announce that our project “Mental Health in People at Risk from COVID-19 Due to a Pre-Existing Medical Condition: Longitudinal Study of Risk Factors, Outcomes, and the Role of Vaccination” has been awarded a one-year CIHR grant. SPIN launched the SPIN-COVID-19 Cohort in April of 2020 to better understand mental health concerns of individuals with a pre-existing medical condition during the pandemic. This grant will allow our research team to continue this important work!
Position Available: Full-time Research Assistant
SPIN is currently seeking applicants for a Full-time Research Assistant position in patient-engaged health research. (More details about this position).
Eligibility: Applicants should be fluent in English (spoken and written) and French (spoken; written French an asset); have a degree in psychology, health sciences, social sciences, or related field with strong academic record; and be able to commit for at least one and ideally two years.
Start Date: September 2021.
To apply: Applicants should send (1) a cover letter explaining their interest in the position and how this would support their career goals, (2) a curriculum vitae, (3) an unofficial transcript, and (4) an English writing sample and (if possible) an additional writing sample in French, to Marie- Eve Carrier at email@example.com). Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled. French language capacity will be assessed during interview.
Congratulations to the COVID-19 Living Systematic Review (LSR) Team on receiving new CIHR funding!
We are excited to share that our LSR team was awarded a one-year grant ($220,052) by CIHR’s Emerging COVID-19 Research Gaps and Priorities Funding Opportunity for conducting our project “Mental Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Ongoing Living Systematic Review of Mental Health Burden and Intervention Effectiveness to Inform Management Strategies During and Post-COVID-19.” This will allow the team to continue to update its synthesis of evidence on mental health in COVID-19.
Congratulations to the DEPRESSD team on receiving a new CIHR grant!
We are excited to share that the DEPRESSD team was awarded a 3-year grant ($279,224) by CIHR to develop and test statistical methods for individual participant data meta-analysis in diagnostic test accuracy. A special thank you to Dr. Yin Wu, Dr. Zelalem Negeri, Sheryl Sun and Dr. Brooke Levis, who worked closely with Dr. Andrea Benedetti on the CIHR funding competition!
Congratulations to Dr. Brett Thombs who has been awarded the Scleroderma Foundation’s 2021 “Messenger of Hope” award!
We are excited to share that Dr. Brett Thombs has just been awarded the Scleroderma Foundation’s 2021 “Messenger of Hope” award. This award was presented to Brett in recognition of his tremendous work with the scleroderma community through the SPIN programs that have elevated disease awareness, strengthened self-care among individuals living with the disease. Brett received this award on Saturday evening, July 17 in a virtual awards ceremony as part of the 2021 National Scleroderma Conference. Click HERE to watch the ceremony.
DEPRESSD Team published a new IPDMA protocol - Equivalence of the Accuracy of 9 and 10 item Versions of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale for Screening to Detect Major Depression among Pregnant and Postpartum Women on OSF
Dr. Xia Qiu, a visiting PhD Student, and the DEPRESSD team published their protocol on OSF. The objectives of the study are (1) to evaluate the equivalence of continuous EPDS-9 and full EPDS scores for assessing depressive symptom severity; and (2) to assess the equivalence of the accuracy of the EPDS-9 and full EPDS across relevant cut-offs for screening to detect major depression. Read more here.
Welcome new team member!
Suiqiong Fan, as a Research and Synthesis Analytical Coordinator, will be joining the DEPRESSD and COVID-19 Living Systematic Review projects on June 21. Suiqiong completed her BSc in Global Health at Wuhan University in 2019 and recently completed her MSc in Public Health from McGill. At McGill, Suiqiong worked on two projects related to child marriage. We’re fortunate to have her join the team!
Position Available: SPIN Postdoctoral Fellow
SPIN is currently seeking applicants for a postdoctoral fellowship position in patient-engaged health research and novel clinical trials. (More details about this position).
Role: The postdoctoral fellow will lead or assist with ongoing SPIN projects and will have the opportunity to develop their own research.
Eligibility: Applicants should have a recent doctoral degree in a health-related field, such as psychology, public health, or epidemiology. The doctoral degree should be obtained by the date of hire.
Start Date: Start date is flexible, and applications will be considered on a rolling basis.
To apply: Applicants should send (1) a cover letter explaining their interest in the fellowship and how working in this position would support their career goals, (2) a curriculum vitae, (3) an unofficial transcript, (4) reprints or preprints of published articles or submitted manuscripts, and (5) contact information for three references to Ms. Marie-Eve Carrier (firstname.lastname@example.org).
SPIN-CHAT results featured on The Scleroderma News!
The Scleroderma News published an article, entitled "Group Sessions Helpful for Mild Anxiety During COVID-19, Trial Finds”. The article featured a clinical psychologist Dr. Jill M. Newby's comments on the effectiveness of the SPIN-CHAT (COVID-19 Home-isolation Activities Together) Program in providing scleroderma participants with psychosocial tools and group activities to maintain mental health and break isolation during the pandemic. Its findings also emphasize “how essential it is to test, rather than assume what interventions work to improve mental health in susceptible groups during pandemic situations,” Newby added. Read the article here.
Dr. Thombs interviewed on Montreal CTV News about work of COVID-19 Living Systematic Review Team
On May 22nd, Dr. Thombs was interview on Montreal CTV News, where he discussed changes in mental health from prior to COVID-19 to during the pandemic. Based on findings from the team's ongoing living systematic review of over 50 000 scientific articles, Dr. Thombs pointed out that across population groups, results suggest that, rather than a mental health crisis, at a population level, there has been a high level of resilience during COVID-19. Click here to watch the full interview.
SPIN-CHAT Trial receives media coverage!
A Healio Rheumatology article by Jason Laday, entitled “Mental health intervention for scleroderma patients in COVID-19 lockdown sees mixed results”, featured Dr. Thombs’ comments on the SPIN-CHAT (COVID-19 Home-isolation Activities Together) Trial. Dr. Thombs highlights the importance of the SPIN-CHAT Trial - “A key takeaway from our trial is that this kind of ongoing collaborative group can move quickly and effectively to meet patient needs in real time. In terms of clinical significance, our trial showed that simple, multi-faceted strategies to address mental health, along with good peer support, can be used effectively by our vulnerable rheumatology patients to improve their mental health in COVID-19 and beyond.” Read the article here.
Congratulations to Dipika and the DEPRESSD team on their publication in the IJMPR!
We are happy to share that the DEPRESSD Team's study on selective cutoff reporting in depression screening studies was published in the International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research (IJMPR). This study, led by Dipika Neupane, compared selective cutoff reporting in the PHQ-9 and EPDS. The study highlights the importance of reporting accuracy estimates or contingency tables for all relevant cutoffs. Congratulations to Dipika and the rest of the DEPRESSD Team! Read more here.
DEPRESSD Team's meta-analysis on the accuracy of the HADS-D screening tool published in the BMJ
We are excited to share that the DEPRESSD Team's IPDMA on the accuracy of the HADS-D screening tool has been published in the BMJ. The project, led by Dr. Yin Wu, combined individual participant data from 101 studies (>22,000 participants) to evaluate the screening accuracy of the HADS-D. Combined sensitivity and specificity of the HADS-D was maximized at a cut-off of >=7. Accuracy was similar across reference standards and subgroups, and when published results from studies that did not contribute data were included. Read the full article: here Clinicians and researchers who consider screening for depression with the HADS-D can refer to our associated knowledge translation tool which estimates the expected number of positive screens as well as true and false screening outcomes for different screening thresholds.
SPIN-CHAT results featured in Actualités UQAM press release
Actualités UQAM, the Université de Québec à Montréal's (UQÀM) news bulletin, published a press release, entitled " Groupes de soutien par visioconférence" (which translates to "Videoconferenced-based support groups"). The article featured professional educator Dr. Ghassan El-Baalbaki's and scleroderma support group facilitator Violet Konrad's comments on the effectiveness of the SPIN-CHAT (COVID-19 Home-isolation Activities Together) Program in providing scleroderma participants with psychosocial tools and group activities to maintain mental health and break isolation during the pandemic. Read the article (available in French only) here.
SPIN publishes protocol for living systematic review on non-pharmacological and non-surgical interventions in scleroderma
Marie-Nicole Discepola and the SPIN Team published their protocol in BMJ Open. Their living systematic review will compile evidence on the effectiveness of non-pharmacological and non-surgical interventions on mental and physical health outcomes. As a living systematic review, once the initial evidence is assessed, the team will keep updating on an ongoing basis so that people in the scleroderma community can easily access the most current evidence on the project website (forthcoming). Congratulations to Marie-Nicole, Andrea Carboni-Jiménez, Dr. Kwakkenbos, and Dr. Richard Henry, Dr. Thombs and the rest of the team! Read more here.
Elsa-Lynn Nassar receives the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC) Master's Award
Congratulations to Elsa-Lynn Nassar, who received the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC) Master's Award, in addition to a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Canada Graduate Scholarship for her Master’s training with the Thombs research team (see previous item on 2021/04/01)! Elsa began her MSc program today, and will be working with both the SPIN and DEPRESSD teams.
CONSORT-ROUTINE report, extension of CONSORT reporting guidelines, published in BMJ
The CONSORT-ROUTINE, an extension of the CONSORT reporting guideline for innovative trials conducted using cohorts and routinely collected data (electronic health records, registries, administrative databases) was published today in BMJ (here). CONSORT-ROUTINE, which was led by our team, provides guidance to support adequate reporting of these types of trials. Congratulations to Dr. Kwakkenbos, Mahrukh Imran, Danielle Rice, and Dr. Thombs, who led or were part of the CONSORT-ROUTINE project team. An article that describes the methods used to develop CONSORT-ROUTINE was published simultaneously in BMJ Open (here).
A segment by Dr. Thombs on the SPIN-CHAT Trial results featured on CJAD 800 this Sunday!
This coming Sunday, April 25th, at 12:50pm EDT, radio station CJAD 800 AM will feature a short segment by Dr. Thombs on the SPIN-CHAT Trial. Tune in to learn more! For additional information on the study, see here.
UPDATE: Click here to listen to April 25th's Health Matters podcast, "The latest research advances in diabetes and wearable technology" (Dr. Thombs's segment starts at 30:53).
SPIN-CHAT Trial Results published in Lancet Rheumatology
Results from the SPIN-CHAT (COVID-19 Home-isolation Activities Together) Program have been published in Lancet Rheumatology. The trial evaluated the effects of a videoconference-based program on anxiety symptoms and other mental health outcomes among people with scleroderma. It tested a multi-faceted strategy designed in collaboration with patient advisors. Eligible participants from the SPIN-COVID-19 Cohort were invited to take part in 3 sessions a week for 4 weeks. 172 participants were randomly assigned to intervention (n=86) or waitlist (n=86). SPIN-CHAT did not significantly improve mental health by the end of the 4-week intervention period, but symptoms of anxiety and depression were significantly improved 6 weeks later. Congratulations to the SPIN Team and their international team of researchers, professional educators, support group moderators, and SPIN-COVID-19 Patient Advocates! Read the article here. The accompanying editorial can be found here.
Congratulations to Parash Bhandari and the DEPRESSD Team on their new publication!
A new study, led by Parash Bhandari and the DEPRESSD Team, has been published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. This is the first study to use real patient data to estimate the degree that data-driven methods result in selection of inaccurate optimal cutoffs and bias in accuracy estimates. The team found that the optimal cutoffs identified in primary accuracy studies are often incorrect and accuracy estimates are often overstated. Sensitivity was substantially overestimated with a minimal underestimation of specificity, particularly in smaller samples. The implications are twofold: (1) researchers should avoid making recommendations about cutoffs to use in practice and accuracy when reporting results from small studies, and (2) clinicians should only select cutoffs generated from well-conducted meta-analyses or those that are identified consistently across multiple studies. Read more about the study here.
Elsa-Lynn Nassar awarded SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship for her Master's training with the team!
Congratulations to Elsa-Lynn Nassar, who was awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Canada Graduate Scholarship for her Master’s training with the Thombs research team. Elsa will be joining the SPIN & DEPRESSD teams in May. She began her undergraduate studies at the Lebanese American University and is currently completing her Bachelor's degree at Concordia University. Elsa has already been involved in a number of research projects including work on obsessive-compulsive disorder, bullying, eating disorders, and mental health symptom expression from a cross-cultural perspective.
National Post coverage on Dr. Thombs and ongoing work of COVID-19 Living Systematic Review Team
Dr. Thombs' comments on research done by the COVID-19 Living Systematic Review Team were featured in a National Post article,"There's a lot of resilience': Why mental health is holding up to COVID-19 better than expected". Dr. Thombs describes evidence for mental health resilience at the population level while outlining the need to be concerned about mental health in vulnerable groups, based on findings from the team's ongoing living systematic review of over 50 000 scientific articles. Read the article here.
Dr. Thombs and work of COVID-19 Living Systematic Review Team featured in Radio-Canada
A Radio-Canada article by Valérie Ouellet, entitled "Après les mesures sanitaires s'enchaînent les SOS en santé mentale" (which translates to "After the public health measures comes the mental health SOS"), featured Dr. Thombs' remarks on the validity of call volumes as an indicator of distress and the credibility of suicide rates along with recent research from the COVID-19 Living Systematic Review Team. Dr. Thombs highlights the global effects of the pandemic on mental health, based on findings from the team's ongoing living systematic review of over 45 000 scientific articles, and the monitoring of 8 English and Chinese databases. Read the article (available in French only) here.
Congratulations on Dr. Shadi Gholizadeh and the SPIN Team's new publication on body image!
We are excited to share with you our latest SPIN publication. SPIN's former postdoctoral research fellow, Dr. Shadi Gholizadeh's article on the effects of cosmetic and other camouflage interventions on appearance-related and psychological outcomes among adults with visible differences in appearance has now been published online by BMJ Open. Results from this systematic review of one head-to-head trial and five trials with waiting list or routine care comparators revealed that conclusions about the effectiveness of non-surgical cosmetic or other camouflage interventions could not be drawn, highlighting the critical need for well-designed and conducted trials.In addition to Dr. Thombs, current and former team members who contributed to the study included Danielle Rice, Andrea Carboni-Jiménez, Dr. Linda Kwakkenbos, and Ankur Krishnan, in collaboration with the SPIN Body Image Patient Advisory Team. Read more here.
DEPRESSD Team awarded $200,000 in latest CIHR competition
Congratulations to the DEPRESSD team, which was successful in obtaining two $100,000 Project Grants from CIHR, through the Personalized Health priority announcement! One proposal was for updating our databases on the PHQ-9, EPDS, HADS, and GDS depression screening tools. The other was for advancing statistical methods to use for developing personalized depression screening models.
Sami Harb receives media coverage on recent publication on the Physical ACtivity Enhancement (SPIN-PACE) project
Sami Harb’s MSc thesis (recently published in Arthritis Care & Research) was featured in Healio Rheumatology (https://www.healio.com/news/rheumatology/20210225/fatigue-raynauds-top-physical-activity-barriers-for-patients-with-scleroderma). Congratulations to Sami and the rest of the SPIN team! To learn more about the study, see previous news item published on 2021/02/03 entitled "Results from the SPIN-PACE Survey, Sami Harb's MSc thesis, published in Arthritis Care & Research".
Congratulations to Dr. Felix Fischer and the DEPRESSD Team on their new publication!
A new study, led by Dr. Felix Fischer (Psychometrics and Health Outcomes Research, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine of The Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin), Dr. Brooke Levis and the rest of the DEPRESSD Team, has been published in Psychological Medicine. The study used an individual participant data meta-analysis (IPDMA) database to compare different scoring methods based on latent variable models of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Read more about the study: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291721000131
Results from the SPIN-PACE Survey, Sami Harb's MSc thesis, published in Arthritis Care & Research
This week, a survey study related to the SPIN - Physical ACtivity Enhancement (SPIN-PACE) project was accepted for publication in Arthritis Care & Research. The objectives were to determine the (1) prevalence and importance of physical activity barriers experienced in scleroderma and (2) likelihood of using possible facilitators to overcome barriers. In brief, among 721 respondents, medical-related barriers were most prevalent, and fatigue and Raynaud's phenomenon were most important. Facilitators likely to be used involved adapting exercise, taking care of one’s body, keeping warm, and protecting skin. The SPIN team will later use the survey results to develop and test the online SPIN-PACE program with the aim of supporting people with scleroderma in leading an active lifestyle. Congratulations to Sami and the rest of the SPIN Team! Read more here.
Andrea Carboni Jiménez accepted into the Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL)/Juris Doctor (JD) Program at McGill University
Team member Andrea Carboni Jiménez one of 180 students with excellent academic track records to be accepted into the Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL)/Juris Doctor (JD) program at McGill University. Andrea completed her second undergraduate honours thesis under the supervision of Dr. Brett Thombs researching the burden experienced by caregivers of people with various medical conditions. Her Master’s of Psychiatry thesis focuses on examining the effectiveness of psychological interventions delivered to incarcerated individuals with (1) mood disorders and (2) post traumatic stress disorder. In addition, Andrea is currently leading a project evaluating health outcomes from randomized control trials that have tested questionnaire-based screening. Congratulations Andrea!
Dr. Thombs featured on CBC News with tips on mental health in COVID-19 for the new year
A CBC Life - Culture article by Chloe Rose Stuart-Ulin, entitled "Expert advice on how to tackle resolutions for 2021", featured Dr. Brett Thombs' tips on mental health and the importance of staying connected. Read the article here:
Dr. Henry awarded SPOR grant for a research project examining the incorporation of recommendations for gender-diverse people in clinical practice guidelines
Dr. Richard Henry was awarded a $10,000 grant by the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Evidence Alliance to fund his research on the "Incorporation of recommendations for gender-diverse people in clinical practice guidelines: A review of traditionally sex-binary guidelines and recommendations". The goal of the project is to improve health care guidance for gender-diverse individuals by providing guideline producers and health care practitioners with information about the degree that existing guidelines address needs of gender-diverse individuals and examples where they have been addressed appropriately. Dr. Henry's project was one of two (out of 25 applicants) funded by the highly competitive SPOR Seed Grant.
Dr. Yin Wu and the SPIN Team publish new article on factors associated with fears during COVID-19
A new study, conducted by Dr. Yin Wu and the SPIN Team, has been published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2020.110314). It was the first to explore the factors associated with fears during COVID-19 in a vulnerable population with a pre-existing medical condition and the first study that applied the validated COVID-19 Fears Questionnaire for Chronic Medical Conditions, which was developed based on input from over 100 people with scleroderma who shared their fears and with advice from the SPIN-COVID-19 Patient Advisory Team. By linking pre-COVID-19 data from the SPIN Cohort and COVID-19 data collected in April 2020, results from Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States were compared, controlling for pre-COVID-19 anxiety symptoms. They found that fears due to COVID-19 among people with SSc were greatest among participants from the United Kingdom, followed by Canada, the United States, and France. Greater interference of breathing problems in daily activities and lower financial resource adequacy were associated with fear levels, as well.
Congrats to Dr. Brooke Levis and the DEPRESSD Team on their publication in BMJ!
We are thrilled to share that the DEPRESSD Team's IPD meta-analysis on the accuracy of the EPDS screening tool has been published in the BMJ. The study, led by Dr. Brooke Levis, synthesized data from 58 studies (>15,000 participants), and found that the combination of sensitivity and specificity was maximized at a cutoff value of ≥ 11. Accuracy was similar across reference standards and subgroups, including for pregnant and postpartum women. Read the full article here. Clinicians considering screening for depression with the EPDS can refer to our associated knowledge translation tool (depressionscreening100.com/epds), which estimates expected numbers of positive screens and true and false screening outcomes for different screening thresholds.
Editorial by Dr. Thombs and others on Organizational Conflict of Interest in Guidelines
The invited editorial was published in the British Journal of General Practice (https://bjgp.org/content/70/700/530). It follows the team’s study on organization COI published in CMAJ earlier this year (www.cmaj.ca/content/192/23/E617/tab-article-info). See previous news item published on 2020/06/08 entitled "Team study on financial conflicts among Canadian producers of medication guidelines published in CMAJ".
Watch Dr. Brett Thombs & Danielle Rice's presentations at the 19th Bi-Annual National Scleroderma Conference!
Earlier this month, Dr. Brett Thombs and Danielle Rice presented at the 19th Bi-Annual National Scleroderma Conference. Scleroderma Canada’s conference was held virtually for the first time this year, due to COVID-19. As an invited Opening Keynote speaker on October 5th, Dr. Thombs introduced the audience to SPIN’s research and recent developments (watch the presentation in full here). On October 7th, Dr. Thombs announced the recipients of the 2019 and 2020 Maureen Sauvé Inspiration Award (access the recording here). Danielle followed with a presentation of her research on “Identifying the Needs and Priorities of Informal Caregivers for People Living with Systemic Sclerosis” (watch in full here and read the publication in Disability and Rehabilitation: https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2018.1557268). Presentation slides and additional caregiving resources are available to all on the Scleroderma Ontario Resource Centre: www.sclerodermaontario.ca/file-share
DEPRESSD Team's new study published in the International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research
We are happy to announce that the DEPRESSD team's paper, "Depression Prevalence Based on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale Compared to Structured Clinical Interview for DSM Classification: Systematic Review and Individual Participant Data Meta-analysis", has been published in the International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mpr.1860). The study, led by Anita Lyubenova (MITACS summer intern for DEPRESSD, 2019) who was mentored by Dipika Neupane (analytical coordinator), examined data from 29 studies (7315 participants, 1017 major depression cases), to compare depression prevalence estimates based on the EPDS versus the SCID. We found that prevalence based on the most commonly used EPDS cutoffs, ≥ 10 to ≥ 13, overestimated depression prevalence by 12.6% to 1.9% compared to SCID. EPDS cutoff ≥ 14 provided pooled prevalence closest to SCID (pooled difference: -0.7%) but single-study differences were highly heterogeneous. Findings suggest that EPDS should not be used as a substitute for a validated diagnostic interview.
Team publishes a new study on fears due to COVID-19
A new study, conducted by Dr. Yin Wu and the SPIN Team, has been published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022399920308333). 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.
Congratulations on SPIN Team's new publication in Health Psychology!
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: https://doi.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fhea0001020
SPIN Team publishes new study on mental health during COVID-19
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: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022399920308242
Congratulations to Brooke Levis and the DEPRESSD Team: LDI Paper of the Month!
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: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2766865
DEPRESSD's new individual participant data meta-analysis published in Journal of Psychosomatic Research
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 (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022399920308187). 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.
Congratulations to Dr. Andrea Benedetti and the DEPRESSD Team on their new publication!
A new study, led by Andrea Benedetti and the DEPRESSD Team, in collaboration with Dr. Gerta Rücker (University of Freiburg) and Dr. Hayley Jones (University of Bristol), has been published in Research Synthesis Methods. The study used DEPRESSD PHQ-9 data to compare 3 methods for meta-analyzing diagnostic test accuracy data when primary studies report accuracy results for only some of the possible cutoff thresholds. Read more about the study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jrsm.1443.
SPIN-CHAT Program qualitative interview study funded by CIHR
Recently, SPIN received a CIHR grant for conducting qualitative interviews with SPIN-CHAT (SPIN COVID-19 Home-isolation Activities Together) Program Trial participants. SPIN-CHAT participants will be recruited by the SPIN team and invited to individual videoconference-based follow-up interviews that will be led by our research partners, Kelsey Ellis, Delaney Duchek, and Mannat Bansal, from the University of Calgary, under the supervision of Dr. Amanda Wurz. The CIHR funding will also help support SPIN's infrastructure and help us continue to provide online resources to the scleroderma community, free-of-charge.
Team receives supplementary funding from CIHR for the living systematic review
This week, members of the team received an additional $199,836 from the CIHR to supplement previous CIHR and MI4 funding for a living systematic review on mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. This grant supports continued work in dissemination and processing a high volume of evidence. Thank you to the CIHR! Congratulations to team members Yutong Wang, Ankur Krishnan, Kevin Jutras, Olivia Bonardi, Danielle Rice, Jill Boruff, Marleine Azar, Chen He, Dr. Sarah Markham, Sheryl Sun, Dr. Yin Wu, Ian Thombs-Vite, and Drs. Benedetti and Thombs.
Congratulations on DEPRESSD Team's new publication in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics!
We are happy to announce that the DEPRESSD Team published a paper entitled “Probability of Major Depression Classification Based on the SCID, CIDI, and MINI Diagnostic Interviews: A Synthesis of Three Individual Participant Data Meta-Analyses” in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. This study, led by Dr. Yin Wu (DEPRESSD’s postdoctoral research fellow), combined datasets from over 200 studies (around 70,000 participants, ) and showed how different diagnostic interviews perform differently, was really important and the first meta-research synthesized IPD meta-analyses. The results suggested that, adjusting for depressive symptom levels and participant characteristics, compared to the SCID, the MINI classified major depression more often. Odds of depression classification with the CIDI increased less as symptom levels increased. Based on the findings, mental health researchers should carefully consider the interview characteristics when interpreting research that used diagnostic interviews to classify depression.
Read more about the study https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32814337/
Andrea Carboni-Jiménez awarded the Delta Upsilon Memorial Scholarship
Team member Andrea Carboni-Jiménez was recently awarded a Delta Upsilon Memorial Scholarship to support the second year of her graduate studies at McGill University. This award is open to students who have received an undergraduate degree from McGill University in any faculty, and is tenable for graduate study at any recognized university. Andrea's master's thesis is a systematic review evaluating the effectiveness of psychological therapies among incarcerated populations with (1) mood disorders and (2) post-traumatic stress disorder. Congratulations, Andrea!
Dr. Richard Henry receives the Distinguished Dissertation Award from Virginia Commonwealth University
Congratulations to Dr. Richard Henry, who was awarded the Distinguished Dissertation Award in Social Sciences, Business and Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Henry's dissertation focused on examining the relationships among Parkinson’s disease symptoms, stigma, and mental health outcomes and the ways in which social support and spirituality might mitigate negative mental health outcomes. He recently joined the SPIN team as a postdoctoral fellow and will be involved in various SPIN research projects.
Eliana Brehaut awarded the McGill Dow-Hickson Scholarship
DEPRESSD summer student Eliana Brehaut has received a McGill Dow-Hickson Scholarship, which is given to students "entering the penultimate or the final year of the Honours programs in English Literature, Philosophy or Psychology. Awarded by a joint committee of the scholarships committees of the Faculties of Arts and of Science upon the recommendations of the departments concerned". Eliana recently completed her first honours thesis, which compared depression prevalence estimates based on the HADS-D, a commonly used screening tool, versus the SCID, a validated diagnostic interview. Eliana will be continuing her research with the team during the fall semester. Her next project will examine methods of optimal cutoff selection in depression screening studies.
Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care – New Guideline
The Task Force, led by Dr. Thombs, published a new guideline on screening for esophageal adenocarcinoma in patients with chronic gastroesopageal reflus disease without alarm symptoms. The Task Force develops and disseminates guidance for prevention in Canadian primary care. This new guideline reports that evidence does not support screening and that resources would be used more wisely for other services with evidence of benefit for patients. Link to guideline: https://www.cmaj.ca/content/192/27/E768.
SPIN-CHAT Trial Funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research
The SPIN COVID-19 Home-isolation Activities Together (SPIN-CHAT) Program Trial was funded by CIHR. The trial tests the effects of a muti-faceted video-conference-based group mental health intervention on anxiety and other mental health symptoms. The trial was launched with funds from the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity Emergency COVID-19 Research Fund and generous contributions fromScleroderma Canada, made possible by an educational grant for patient support programming from Boehringer Ingelheim; the Scleroderma Society of Ontario; Scleroderma Manitoba; Scleroderma Atlantic; Scleroderma Australia; Scleroderma New South Wales; Scleroderma Victoria; Scleroderma Queensland; Scleroderma SASK; Scleroderma Association of BC; and Sclérodermie Québec. Results for the trial will be available in July. Link to trial protocol: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022399920304001.
Dr. Thombs in the news – COVID-19 and Mental Health in Quebec and Canada
See Dr. Thombs’ comments on a recent survey of mental health in Quebec and the rest of Canada by the Canadian Press, which appeared in the Globe and Mail (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-majority-of-quebecers-believe-first-wave-of-covid-19-pandemic-is-over/), L’actualité (https://lactualite.com/actualites/une-majorite-de-quebecois-croit-que-la-premiere-vague-est-terminee/), and other outlets.
The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care holds its June 2020 meeting online
The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (Task Force) is holding its first ever online meeting on June 15-16, 2020. The meeting is led by Dr. Thombs (Task Force Chair) and has been organized by team members Daniela Cortinovis (Task Force Manager) and Julia Nordlund (Task Force Administrator). The Task Force typically meets in-person three times a year to discuss recommendations on screening practices, methodology for guideline development, communication activities, knowledge translation initiatives and much more! Due to COVID-19, the June 2020 meeting is being held via videoconference. More information about the Task Force guidelines and activities is available here: https://canadiantaskforce.ca/
Congrats to Brooke Levis and the DEPRESSD team on their JAMA publication!
We are thrilled to announce that a DEPRESSD project evaluating the screening accuracy of the PHQ-2 alone and in combination with the PHQ-9 has been published in JAMA. The study, led by Brooke Levis, synthesized data from 100 studies (>44,000 participants), and found that the combination of PHQ-2 (with a cutoff of >=2) followed by the PHQ-9 (with a cutoff of >=10) had 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: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2766865
Team study on financial conflicts among Canadian producers of medication guidelines published in CMAJ
Congratulations to former team members Katie Elder and Kimberly Turner, along with Dr. Thombs, whose study entitled “Reporting of financial conflicts of interest by Canadian clinical practice guideline producers: a descriptive study” was recently published in CMAJ. The study found that most Canadian guidelines on medications are produced by disease interest groups and medical specialty societies that receive funding from the makers of the medications under review; but, none of these organizations disclose those conflicts in the guidelines. To learn more about the study, click here (https://www.cmaj.ca/content/192/23/E617).
DEPRESSD study in Psychiatry News
This week, Psychiatric News from the American Psychiatric Association published an article (https://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.pn.2020.5b6) on a recent study conducted by Dr. Brooke Levis and the rest of the DEPRESSD team. The team combined data from >9000 participants from 44 studies to compare prevalence of depression based on the PHQ-9 screening tool to prevalence based on a validated diagnostic interview for major depression, the SCID. Prevalence based on the PHQ-9 (at the standard cutoff of ≥ 10) was double (12% greater than) prevalence based on the SCID, and no alternative PHQ-9 cutoff matched SCID prevalence consistently. These findings demonstrate that screening tools such as the PHQ-9 should not be used to make diagnostic classifications or to estimate prevalence. To learn more about the study, please click on the link above.
Team publishes the SPIN-CHAT trial protocol
We are thrilled to announce that our SPIN-CHAT trial protocol, "Protocol for a Partially Nested Randomized Controlled Trial to Evaluate the Effectiveness of the Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network COVID-19 Home-isolation Activities Together (SPIN-CHAT) Program to Reduce Anxiety among At-Risk Scleroderma Patients" has now been published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research! The protocol describes a randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of the SPIN-CHAT Program in improving mental health outcomes among individuals with scleroderma during the COVID-19 outbreak. The SPIN-CHAT Program is a 4-week (3 sessions per week) videoconference-based intervention that includes activity engagement, education on strategies to support mental health, and mutual support among scleroderma patients. Read more about the study here.
Dr. Thombs awarded the FRQS Distinguished Research Scholar Award
Congratulations to Dr. Thombs, who was awarded a Fonds de recherche Santé – Québec Distinguished Research Scholar Award (2020-2024) for his work with SPIN, DEPRESSED and in meta-research and policy.
11 presentations by team members accepted to the 2020 Cochrane Colloquium!
Congratulations to current and former team members Zelalem, Dipika, Brooke, Marleine, Yin, and Kim, who had 5 oral presentations and 6 poster presentations accepted for the 27th Cochrane Colloquium! Presentations related to the DEPRESSD Project include: individual participant data meta-analyses of PHQ-2, PHQ-9, EPDS, and HADS accuracy; selective cutoff reporting in depression screening accuracy studies; imperfect reference standards for major depression classification; and a knowledge translation tool for clinician understanding of diagnostic accuracy estimates. Presentations related to meta-research and policy include: reporting of conflicts of interest in Cochrane and non-Cochrane meta-analyses of drug trials, and factors associated with contribution of data to individual participant data meta-analyses of intervention effectiveness.
Danielle Rice successfully defends her doctoral thesis
Congratulations to Danielle Rice, who yesterday successfully defended her doctoral thesis, “Engaging individuals with lived experiences: identifying the needs and priorities of informal caregivers for people living with systemic sclerosis.” Danielle has led SPIN’s work with caregivers marvellously over the last couple of years. Her list of accomplishments in this area and others is long! Danielle has already published 64 peer-reviewed articles (18 as first author), including a recent publication on criteria for academic promotion, which has been accepted for publication in BMJ. To support her doctoral training, Danielle was awarded a prestigious Vanier Graduate Scholarship from CIHR, a CIHR Health Systems Impact Fellowship, a CIHR Doctoral Training Award (declined), and a Fonds de Recherche en Santé du Québec doctoral training award (declined). Danielle will be doing her clinical psychology internship at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Ontario over the next year, at which point, she will be Dr. Danielle Rice. Way to go, Danielle!
Living systematic review funded by CIHR
This week, members of the team received $50,000 from the CIHR to supplement MI4 funding for a living systematic review on mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. This grant supports more effective dissemination and work in processing a high volume of Chinese-language evidence. Thank you to the CIHR! Congratulations to team members Olivia Bonardi, Danielle Rice, Jill Boruff, Marleine Azar, Chen He, Dr. Sarah Markham, Sheryl Sun, Dr. Yin Wu, Ankur Krishnan, Ian Thombs-Vite, and Drs. Benedetti and Thombs.
Team study featured in Cochrane Collaboration News
Kimberly Turner’s master’s thesis (recently published in BMJ Open) was featured in Cochrane Collaboration News. The study concluded that the percentage of recent Cochrane meta-analyses on the effects of drug interventions that transparently reported funding sources and trial author–industry financial ties and employment for included trials far exceeds reporting in other journals. Congratulations to Kimberly, and to other and former team members, Andrea Carboni-Jiménez, Carla Benea, Katie Elder, and Brooke Levis. Read more here.
Congratulations on team's new publication in BMJ Open
We are excited to share that our paper entitled “Reporting of Drug Trial Funding Sources and Author Financial Conflicts of Interest in Cochrane and non-Cochrane Meta-analyses: A Cross-sectional Study” has been published in BMJ Open. This work provides a much-needed update on the state of reporting of financial conflicts of interest from trials included in systematic reviews and meta-analyses by examining whether reporting has improved since the implementation of a reporting policy by Cochrane in 2012 and examining the differences in reporting between contemporary Cochrane and non-Cochrane meta-analyses. Read more about the study here.
SPIN and DEPRESSD teams' oral symposia presented at the Interdisciplinary Conference in Psychology (ICP) 2020
On May 9th, SPIN and DEPRESSD Teams' oral symposia were presented at the ICP online due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The symposia were pre-recorded and uploaded onto ICP's online platform, which was made available to registered conference attendees during the virtual conference. Below are the hyperlinks to recordings of both symposia:
SPIN - Patient-centered Interdisciplinary Research in a Rare Disease Context (https://www.dropbox.com/s/1w7n0zs4442ugui/SPIN-V3.mp4?dl=0)
DEPRESSD - Addressing Challenges in Evaluating Depression Screening Tool Accuracy (https://www.dropbox.com/sh/bz387u883cfjte3/AABWzZPR0ti9jzloDtjBNogSa?dl=0)
Congratulations on team's publication in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology
We are happy to share that our paper entitled “Trial Corresponding Author Country, Year, and Journal Impact Factor Associated with Data Contribution to IPDMAs” has been published in its final version in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. In this study, we reviewed individual patient data meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials to determine the proportion of data contribution amongst eligible trials and factors associated with data contribution. We found that 67% of trials contributed data, and that more recently published trials and trials published in journals with a higher impact factor were associated with data contribution. Trials from the United Kingdom were more likely to contribute data that those from the United States. Congratulations to Marleine Azar, Andrea Benedetti, Kira E Riehm, Mahrukh Imran, Ankur Krishnan, Matthew Chiovitti, Tatiana Sanchez, Ian Shrier and Brett Thombs for their work. The article is available here: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1b1DH3BcJQ0WiA.
SPIN team publishes the SPIN-SELF feasibility trial protocol
We are thrilled to announce that a SPIN trial protocol, led by Marie-Eve Carrier, was recently published in JMIR Research Protocols. This published protocol describes methods that we used in a recent SPIN-SELF (Self-Management) feasibility trial (July to November 2019) to assess the feasibility of conducting a full-scale randomized control trial (RCT) of the SPIN-SELF (Self-Management) program, by evaluating the trial implementation processes, required resources and management, scientific aspects, participant acceptability and usage of the SPIN-SELF program. Results of the feasibility study are expected to be published in 2020, which will guide adjustments needed before undertaking a planned full-scale RCT of the SPIN-SELF program. Read more about the study here.
Team funded for living systematic review on mental health in COVID-19
This week, members of the team received $65,000 from the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (MI4)'s Emergency COVID-19 Research Funding Program to conduct a living systematic review on mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The objectives of this living systematic review are to evaluate (1) changes in mental health symptoms; (2) factors associated with levels or changes in symptoms during COVID-19; and (3) the effect of interventions on mental health symptoms during COVID-19. A huge thank-you to the MI4 initiative who generously supports this important research project during these trying times. Congratulations for team members Olivia Bonardi, Danielle Rice, Jill Boruff, Marleine Azar, Chen He, Dr. Sarah Markham, Sheryl Sun, Dr. Yin Wu, Ankur Krishnan, Ian Thombs-Vite, and Drs. Benedetti and Thombs.
SPIN team funded for SPIN-COVID-19 Cohort Study and embedded SPIN-CHAT Trial
Recently, the SPIN team applied to the MI4 Emergency COVID-19 Research Funding and was granted $100,000 for its proposal titled “Mental health in an at-risk population during COVID-19: longitudinal study of risk factors and outcomes and embedded trial of an activity, education, and support intervention”. In addition to this, the team also received funding from Scleroderma Canada (made possible by an educational grant for patient support programming from Boehringer Ingelheim), the Scleroderma Society of Ontario, Scleroderma Manitoba, Scleroderma Atlantic, Scleroderma Australia, Scleroderma New South Wales, Scleroderma Victoria, Scleroderma Queensland, the Scleroderma Association of BC, the Scleroderma Association of Saskatchewan, and Scleroderma Quebec. SPIN will use these funds for a cohort study that examines mental health during COVID-19, comparing to pre-COVID-19 outcomes, and to conduct a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the SPIN COVID-19 Home-isolation Activities Together (SPIN-CHAT) Program to reduce anxiety among at-risk scleroderma patients. Thank you, MI4 and all the patient organizations, for your tremendous support!
Congratulations to Maria Gagarine and Andrea Carboni-Jimenez on receiving funding for summer internships from MITACS and Scleroderma Society of Ontario
This week, we learned that SPIN’s MSc students, Maria Gagarine and Andrea, both received funding from MITACS and partner funding from the Scleroderma Society of Ontario, for their summer internships with SPIN. Congratulations, Maria and Andrea!
SPIN and DEPRESSD symposiums accepted to the Interdisciplinary Conference of Psychology
We are glad to share that SPIN’s symposium “Patient-centered Interdisciplinary Research in a Rare Disease Context: The Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network (SPIN)” (chair: Danielle Rice, co-presenters: Sami Harb, Andrea Carboni-Jimenez, Lydia Tao) and DEPRESSD’s symposium, “Addressing challenges in evaluating depression screening tool accuracy via individual participant data meta-analysis” (chair: Yin Wu, co-presenters: Zelalem Negeri, Dipika Neupane, Parash Bhandari, Eliana Brehaut), are both accepted to the 9th Interdisciplinary Conference of Psychology, which will be presented online during May 7-9 due to the current COVID-19 outbreak.
DEPRESSD Article featured in Mad in America
Congratulations to the DEPRESSD team, whose Journal of Clinical Epidemiology article was featured in Mad in America. The study, led by Brooke Levis, found that prevalence based on the PHQ-9 screening tool (at the standard cutoff of ≥ 10) was double (12% greater) prevalence based on a validated diagnostic interview for major depression, the SCID. No alternative PHQ-9 cutoff matched SCID prevalence consistently. Read more here.
First SPIN-PACE study published in Disability & Rehabilitation
This week, the first study related to the SPIN - Physical ACtivity Enhancement (SPIN-PACE) project was published in Disability & Rehabilitation. This study, led by MSc student Sami Harb, used a formal consensus development method, the nominal group technique, in which people with scleroderma identified (1) barriers (challenges) to physical activity and (2) facilitators (strategies) to overcome challenges. Read more here.
Congratulations Sami Harb, admitted to York University's graduate Clinical Psychology program
Sami Harb, a MSc student who is working with us on the SPIN-PACE project, will enter York University's MA-PhD Clinical Psychology program in September 2020. His MA thesis will address psychosocial oncology. Congratulations, Sami!
Congratulations: Yin, Brooke, and Dipika had presentations accepted for the MEMTAB 2020
We are excited to announce that Drs. Yin Wu and Brooke Levis had oral presentations accepted and Dipika Neupane had a poster presentation accepted for the MEMTAB2020 (Methods for Evaluation of medical prediction Models, Tests And Biomarker 2020) symposium in Leuven, Belgium. Every year, MEMTAB attracts researchers, healthcare workers, policymakers, and manufacturers actively involved in the development, evaluation or regulation of tests, (bio)markers, models, tools, apps, devices or any other modality used for the purpose of diagnosis, prognosis, risk stratification or (disease or therapy) monitoring. Read more.
Study on Randomization in Trials of Nonregulated Health Care Interventions Published
“Nonregulated health care interventions” are interventions that are not directly regulated by government and, thus, subject to review of trial conduct and reporting. They include many interventions in surgery, nutrition, rehabilitation, nursing, and psychology. Previously, our team showed that among 953 trials of nonregulated interventions published in 2016 in 254 journals, prospective trial registration was required by only 11% of journals, only 20% of trials were registered prospectively, and only 3% of trials published primary outcomes consistent with prospectively registered outcomes (Azar et al., JAMA Intern Med, 2019). The new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, examined a subset of these trials that were two-arm parallel groups trials and did not describe any methods of restricting randomization to equalize the number of participants in trial arms. We found that the numbers of participants allocated to different trial arms were far closer in size than would be statistically plausible if simple randomization had occurred. In addition to Dr. Thombs, current and former team members who contributed to the study included Alex Levis, Marleine Azar, Nazanin Saadat, Kira Riehm, Tatiana Sanchez, Matt Chiovitti, Danielle Rice, Brooke Levis, Claire Fedoruk, Anita Lyubenova, Aurelio López Malo Vázquez de Lara, and Andrea Benedetti. Read more about the study here.
New DEPRESSD Publication in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology
Researchers commonly report the percentage of participants scoring above screening tool thresholds as the prevalence of depression, even though screening tools are designed to identify individuals who may have depression and further assessment is required to confirm whether individuals meet diagnostic criteria. In this study, led by Brooke Levis, the team combined data from 44 primary studies (9242 participants) and compared prevalence based on the PHQ-9 screening tool to prevalence based on a validated diagnostic interview for major depression, the SCID. Using the standard PHQ-9 cutoff score of ≥ 10, prevalence was 12% greater than SCID-based prevalence. No alternative PHQ-9 cutoff matched SCID prevalence consistently. Read more about the study here.
Congratulations on DEPRESSD's New Publication in Journal of Psychosomatic Research
Recently, the DEPRESSD Team published their first IPD meta-analysis using the DEPRESSD-HADS database. The study, led by Yin Wu (DEPRESSD’s postdoctoral research fellow), included 15,856 participants from 73 studies (15,335 non-psychiatric medical patients, 164 partners of medical patients, and 357 healthy adults) and compared odds of major depression classification for different diagnostic interviews. It was found that controlling for HADS-D 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 classifies significantly more participants as having major depression than the CIDI. Compared with the semi-structured SCID designed for administration by a trained evaluator, CIDI is less sensitive to increases in symptom levels, and the odds of diagnosis do not increase as much as symptoms increase. Read more about the study here.
Congratulations to the DEPRESSD Team for receiving a CIHR Operating Grant!
We are excited to announce that the DEPRESSD Team’s research proposal “Depression Trajectories in Pregnant and Postpartum Women: An Individual Participant Data Meta-Analysis” was awarded an operating grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and we ranked 1st place in a committee of 60 applications! In this project, we will use the existing DEPRESSD-EPDS database to try to describe the trajectory of major depression and identify risk factors throughout the pregnancy and postpartum period. We would like to thank our DEPRESSD Team members for their great work on the project.
Danielle Rice matched to her top clinical internship choice at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
We are thrilled to share that Danielle Rice, team member and PhD student, was matched through the APPIC process to her top choice for her one-year clinical psychology internship at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Ontario. Congratulations, Danielle!
Danielle Rice in the Global News
Team member and PhD student Danielle Rice was recently interviewed by the Global News on suicide preventions for individuals with mental health issues. Danielle pointed out the importance of gathering more potential predictors for suicide risks in order to provide better support, prevention and treatments to individuals in need. To learn more, please click here.
DEPRESSD: Brooke Levis receives MedStar Award from McGill University's Faculty of Medicine
Congratulations to Brooke Levis, who received a McGill MedStar Award for her BMJ article on the diagnostic accuracy of the PHQ-9 for screening to detect major depression. Read more about the study here, and check out the team's related web tool here.
SPIN-SSLED Study Protocol Published in the Trials Journal
We are thrilled to announce that SPIN-SSLED’s (Scleroderma Support group Leader EDucation) trial protocol was recently published in the Trials, and is available to all! In the near future, SPIN's patient organization partners will use this program to train and certify their support group leaders, and the SPIN team will work with them to do this. Beyond scleroderma, the SPIN-SSLED Program will be easily adaptable for use in other diseases. Check out the article through the following link: https://trialsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13063-019-3747-z
Congratulations on Dr. Thombs' Induction into the Royal Society of Canada!
Dr. Thombs was honoured this weekend by induction into the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). Dr. Thombs is known for his innovative methods in developing, testing, and disseminating programs to support quality of life for people living with rare diseases, for his leadership in developing novel methods for depression screening and in preventive health care generally, and for his research on health care research methods and reporting. Check out the video here to know more about Dr. Thombs, the new member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists in the RSC. Congratulations to Dr. Thombs and the rest of the team!
Congratulations on SPIN's New Publication on the SPIN-SSLED Feasibility Trial!
We are glad to share that SPIN team’s paper entitled "Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network--Scleroderma Support group Leader EDucation (SPIN-SSLED) program: non-randomized feasibility trial" was recently published in BMJ Open. This study, led by Dr. Thombs, is the first trial to test the feasibility of delivering an education and training program via videoconference to scleroderma support group leaders. Results showed that the overall program satisfaction rating was 9.4/10 and that the support group leader outcomes increased according to the pre-post scores on 4 different outcome measures. Currently, a full-scale trial is underway to further evaluate the effectiveness of the SPIN-SSLED Program on support group leaders’ self-efficacy, burnout, emotional distress, and self-reported physical function. To learn more about the SPIN-SSLED feasibility trial, please click here.
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, assessed 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.
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. Many people with scleroderma rely on peer-led support groups as a coping resource. 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.
Congratulations on DEPRESSD's New Publication in Psychotherapy and
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.
Dr. Brett Thombs Indcuted as Member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada
Dr. Brett Thombs has been inducted into the Royal Society of Canada as a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Dr. Thombs is known for his innovative methods in developing, testing, and disseminating programs to support quality of life for people living with rare diseases, for his leadership in developing novel methods for depression screening and in preventive health care generally, and for his research on health care research methods and reporting. Dr. Thombs is also the Chair of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care.
Editorial on Team’s Work on Registration of Non-Regulated Health Care Interventions
The editors of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes published a guideline based on our meta-research. They highlighted our publication (Azar et al., 2019) on the failure of journals to implement and enforce registration policies for non-regulated health care interventions (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2727849) and announced a new journal policy to ensure that registration guidelines are enforced (https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.119.005721).
Dipika Neupane Receives the McGill Faculty of Medicine Internal Studentship
We are delighted to announce that our DEPRESSD trainee and MSc Epidemiology student, Dipika Neupane, was awarded the McGill Faculty of Medicine Internal Studentship for 2019-2020. Dipika was selected among competition with other "highly qualified Faculty of Medicine graduate students who are registered full-time in a research training program". The studentship will support Dipika in her work with Drs. Benedetti and Thombs in the DEPRESSD Project. Congratulations to Dipika!
Dr. Brett Thombs in Globe and Mail
Dr. Thombs was quoted extensively in a recent Globe and Mail article (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-university-of-alberta-phd-student-develops-ai-to-identify-depression/) on the potential for using artificial intelligence for identifying people who may be depressed or suicidal via their social media interactions. To learn more, please click on the link above.
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.
DEPRESSD - Dr. Zelalem Negeri Successfully Defends his Ph.D. Thesis at McMaster University
Congratulations to Dr. Zelalem Negeri! Dr. Negeri successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis entitled "Contributions to statistical methods for meta-analysis of diagnostic test accuracy studies" on Thursday, July 25, 2019, at McMaster University. His thesis focused on developing and validating statistical methods that optimally identify and accommodate skewness, outlying and influential studies in a meta-analysis of diagnostic test accuracy studies. Dr. Negeri will join the DEPRESSD Team in September as a postdoctoral fellow.
Congratulations on the Team's New Publication on Overdiagnosis in Mental Health!
A study authored by Drs. Brett Thombs and Ian Shrier and Ms. Kimberly Turner (masters student) on the usage of the term overdiagnosis in mental health research was just published online in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. Overdiganosis of certain mental disorders is thought to be a common issue. However, addressing overdiagnosis in mental health requires a consistently applied definition. Their study found that there are few examples of mental health articles that describe overdiagnosis in a way that is consistent with accepted definitions and no examples of attempts to quantify overdiagnosis based on these definitions. To view the full-text article, please click here.
Congratulations on DEPRESSD’s New Publication in Psychological Medicine!
A study led by DEPRESSD’s postdoctoral fellow, Yin Wu, co-authored by Brooke Levis (DEPRESSD’s doctoral trainee) was just published online in the Journal of Psychological Medicine. The 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) is a self-report questionnaire that is commonly used for identifying people who may have depression based on matching symptoms to diagnostic criteria. Item 9 of the PHQ-9 queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. Differences in performance between the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 might be expected to be minimal, nevertheless, only one study has attempted to verify this. Therefore, this study assessed equivalency of the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9. Findings suggest that removing Item 9 and using the PHQ-8 instead of the PHQ-9 has minimal influence on performance of the measure and will likely reduce the number of false positive signals from people who endorse this item but would not be considered to be at risk for suicide based on measures intended to assess suicide risk. Congratulations, Yin and Brooke! Please click here to know more about the study.
SPIN Co-Director Linda Kwakkenbos Accepts the Associate Editor Position with the Journal Trials
Congratulations to former SPIN Postdoctoral Fellow and current SPIN Co-Director Linda Kwakkenbos, who was invited and has accepted to become an Associate Editor with the journal Trials. Linda has experience with conducting trials that are embedded in the SPIN Cohort, using an innovative trial design that addresses challenges of conventional trials related to difficulty recruiting sufficiently large and representative samples, limited real-world generalisability and prohibitive costs. In addition, she co-leads, with Dr. Thombs, the development of an extension to the CONSORT reporting guideline for trials using cohorts and routinely collected health data, which will contribute to more transparent reporting of these types of trials.
Congratulations on SPIN’s New Publication on Scleroderma Support Group Survey!
This week, a study led by SPIN’s former Research Assistant, Mia Pépin, co-authored by Linda Kwakkenbos (SPIN Co-director) and Marie-Eve Carrier (SPIN Research Associate) was published online in the Journal of Scleroderma and Related Disorders (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2397198319849806). The purpose of the current study was to replicate the survey that explored reasons for attending scleroderma support groups in Europe and Australia, in a sample of patients from North America using confirmatory factor analysis. Findings suggest that reasons for attending support groups are similar among patients from Europe, Australia, and North America and that support groups should facilitate social support as well as disease education. Results from the study will inform the development of training programs for current and future scleroderma support group leaders around the world. Congratulations, Mia, Linda, and Marie-Eve!
CONSORT Extension for Trials Using Cohorts and Routinely Collected Data – Consensus Meeting
The CONSORT Extension Team held a consensus meeting at Imperial College in London, UK on May 13th - 14th to finalize items for inclusion in the CONSORT Extension checklist for RCTs conducted using Cohorts and Routinely Collected Data. The meeting involved 27 team members from 6 countries with key expertise in trials. The process involved presentation of the checklist items followed by discussion. Future steps of the project, including the publication and dissemination strategy, were also discussed at the meeting. Congratulations to Drs. Thombs and Kwakkenbos, who lead the Consort Extension project with partners from the UK, Danielle Rice for participating in the meeting, and Mahrukh Imran, who coordinated the highly successful event and the overall CONSORT Extension project.
Brooke Levis Receives 2019 Trainee Paper of the Year Award from the Lady Davis Institute
Brooke Levis, a doctoral trainee with the DEPRESSD team, received the LDI's 2019 Trainee Paper of the Year Award for her IPD meta-analysis on the diagnostic accuracy of the PHQ-9 for screening to detect major depression, which was recently published in the BMJ (https://www.bmj.com/content/365/bmj.l1476). Congratulations, Brooke!
Congratulations to the Team on Receiving the Lady Davis Institute's Paper of the Month Award!
The team's publication in JAMA Internal Medicine was awarded the Paper of the Month (May 2019) by the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital. This study was led by former team member Marleine Azar, and co-authored by current team members, Danielle Rice, Brooke Levis, and Claire Fedoruk. This study examined whether journals in the behavioral sciences or psychology, nursing, nutrition and dietetics, rehabilitation, and surgery that publish non-regulated healthcare intervention trials require prospective trial registration and whether prospective registration policies are associated with publication of prospectively registered trials, publication of trials with adequately registered outcomes, and publication of trials with primary outcomes consistent with registered primary outcomes. You can click here to read more about this awarded paper. Congratulations, Marleine et al!
Yin Wu and Brooke Levis Receive the Fonds de Recherche Québec - Santé (FRQS) Postdoctoral Fellowships
Yin and Brooke were awarded two-year postdoctoral fellowships from the Fonds de Recherche Québec – Santé (FRQS). They both were ranked 1st on their respective panels of about 20 applicants. Yin will use hers with the DEPRESSD team, working on the project, “Improving Depression Screening in Geriatric Patients by Reducing Bias and Generating Individualized Accuracy Estimates: An Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS)”. Brooke will take hers to the UK, to the Centre for Prognosis Research at Keele University, where she will work with Prof. Richard Riley, who is the world’s foremost expert in IPD meta-analysis. Brooke will work on a project developing and applying statistical methods to overcome missing data in IPD meta-analysis and will also be involved in other projects related to IPD meta-analysis, prediction, and prognosis.
Congratulations on SPIN's New Publication in Journal of Scleroderma and Related Disorders!
Recently, a study led by SPIN member Lydia Tao, and co-authored by current team members Claire Fedoruk, Kimberly Turner, and Andrea Carboni Jiménez, as well as former team members Julie Cumin and Mia Pépin was published online in the Journal of Scleroderma and Related Disorders. A total of 125 participants (100 patients, 24 health care professionals, and 1 caregiver) completed the survey, and responses from patients and health care professionals were reported. The objectives of the survey were to (1) obtain input on online programs that SPIN could develop, (2) identify research topics important to members of the scleroderma community that could be addressed via SPIN, and (3) identify potentially understudied groups in the scleroderma community. The Research topic suggestions provided in the survey will inform SPIN priorities and can be considered by other scleroderma and rare disease researchers. Please click here to read more about this study!
Lydia Tao Receives the Best KT Café Presentation Award at the 9th Annual Edith Strauss Interactive Day
SPIN member Lydia Tao attended the 9th Annual Edith Strauss Interactive Day hosted by McGIll’s School of Physical and Occupational Therapy on April 23rd, 2019. During the KT café presentations, Lydia presented SPIN team's scoping review on barriers and facilitators of synchronous telerehabilitation to deliver PT/OT interventions, and received the Best KT Café Presentation Award. This scoping review is a part of an ongoing knowledge translation project funded by Edith Strauss. Congratulations, Lydia!
Danielle Rice and Kimberly Turner Receive CIHR Travel Awards
SPIN members Danielle Rice and Kimberly Turner recently received the CIHR Travel Awards to present their research at two different conferences in May. Danielle will present results from a systematic review and meta-analysis on psychosocial interventions as adjunctive supports for opioid reduction therapies, which she did as part of her internship with David Moher’s team in Ottawa, at the Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research conference (rated 1st in the panel of over 40 applicants). Kimberly will present her research on overdiagnosis in mental health at the 31st Annual Convention by Association for Psychological Science (APS). She will discuss how the term overdiagnosis is being defined in the mental health literature is an important first step towards a standard definition that allows for the quantification of overdiagnosis in mental health. Congratulations, Danielle and Kimberly!
DEPRESSD Team Publishes IPD Meta-analysis of PHQ-9
Yesterday, the DEPRESSD team's IPD meta-analysis on the diagnostic accuracy of the PHQ-9 for screening to detect major depression, led by Brooke Levis, was published online in The BMJ. The team synthesized original patient data from 58 studies (17,357 participants; 2,312 major depression cases) and analyzed PHQ-9 accuracy across reference standards and across patient subgroups. PHQ-9 accuracy was higher when compared to diagnoses from semi-structured diagnostic interviews, which are designed for administration by clinicians, than when compared to diagnoses from fully structured diagnostic interviews, which are designed for lay administration. The standard cutoff score of 10 or greater maximized combined sensitivity and specificity overall and for subgroups. Please click here (https://www.bmj.com/content/365/bmj.l1476.full) to read more about this study.
SPIN Trainees Sami Harb, Kimberly Turner, and Andrea Carboni Jiménez Receive the CIHR Master's Awards
Recently, SPIN trainees Sami Harb, Kimberly Turner, and Andrea Carboni Jiménez all received master's awards from the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR). The CIHR funding will support them to continuously work on their current and future research projects. Congratulations, Sami, Andrea, and Kimberly! Please click here to know more about their research projects and involvements in SPIN.
Dr. Brett Thombs Presents at the rareDIG McGill's Rare Disease Day 2019
On Rare Disease Day in February, SPIN Director Dr. Brett Thombs spoke about some of the major challenges involved in rare disease research and how SPIN is working to address these at a Rare Diseases Day event organized by McGill MSS Rare Disease Interest Group of the Medical Students’ Society of McGill University. Click the link below to watch the whole presentation!
Congratulations on Katie Elder’s Admission to the Master of Public Policy Program at Brandeis University!
Task Force Administrator and Research Assistant Katie Elder was recently admitted to the MPP program at Brandeis University’s Heller School of Social Policy and Management in Boston. She will start this program in Fall 2019, and her work will focus on low-income housing and immigration policy. Congratulations, Katie!
Congratulations on Thombs Research Team’s Publication in BMC Medicine!
A meta-research study led by Brooke Levis and co-authored by former team member Wei Wei Yan as well as current team members Chen He and Sheryl Sun was recently published in BMC Medicine. The team examined 69 meta-analyses of depression prevalence and found that 77% of primary studies included in meta-analyses assessed depression using screening tools or rating scales rather than validated diagnostic interviews. Prevalence based on screening tools or rating scales was almost double prevalence based on diagnostic interviews. Furthermore, most meta-analyses did not disclose depression assessment methods in their abstracts and described the pooled prevalence as being for “depression” or “depressive disorders,” even though disorders were not assessed. The team suggests that users of meta-analyses of depression prevalence be cautious when interpreting results, because reported prevalence may exceed actual prevalence. Please click here to read more about this study!
Congratulations on Kimberly Turner's Admission to the Clinical Psychology Program at University of Ottawa!
Our SPIN's trainee and MSc student, Kimberly Turner, was recently admitted to the doctoral program in Clinical Psychology at University of Ottawa. She will start this program in Fall 2019, and her research will focus on the Ottawa's shelter system. Congratulations, Kimberly!
Congratulations on Kylene Anne Aguila's Acceptance to the Sciences Biomédicales Program at Université de Montréal!
SPIN's research assistant, Kylene Anne Aguila, was recently admitted to the master’s program in Sciences biomédicales (orthophonie option) at Université de Montréal. She will be starting the program in Fall 2019. For her thesis, she hopes to look at potential cultural influences on language development in bilingual children. In the future, Kylene hopes to help develop tools for bilingual children and their language development.
Congratulations on Thombs Research Team’s Publication in JAMA Internal Medicine!
A study led by former team member Marleine Azar, who is now a medical student at the University of Montreal, and co-authored by current team members, Danielle Rice, Brooke Levis, and Claire Fedoruk, was published online in JAMA Internal Medicine. The team examined 953 trials of non-regulated interventions published in 254 journals from the areas of surgery, rehabilitation, psychology, nursing, and nutrition. They found that only 11% of the 254 specialty journals whose contents they reviewed had a stated policy requiring pre-trial registration. However, only 34% of trials appearing in those journals were registered prospectively, compared to 18% in journals with no policy. Most remarkably, only 4% of the 953 trials they reviewed published primary outcomes that could be traced back and were consistent with a pre-trial registration, and this was not associated with journal policies. The team suggested that academic ethic boards or research funding agencies could be effective in making sure that pre-registration of trials occurs. Please here to read more about this study.
Andrea Carboni Jiménez Receives the Best Abstract by an Undergraduate Student Award at the Canadian Rheumatology Association Conference
SPIN members recently attended the 2019 Canadian Rheumatology Association Annual Scientific Meeting in Montreal. They presented work on multiple SPIN projects, including SPIN-HAND, SPIN-SSLED, SPIN-PACE, and SPIN-CARE. One of our team members, Andrea Carboni Jiménez, was awarded best abstract by an undergraduate student for her work on caregiver burden. Her study compared perceived burden reported by caregivers of people living with scleroderma to the burden experienced by caregivers of people living with other chronic diseases. Congratulations, Andrea!
Yin Wu Awarded the Utting Postdoctoral Fellowship for Studies in Depression for a Second Year
The Douglas Utting Fellowship for Studies in Depression was established by the Utting Family to provide funding for postdoctoral research training in mood disorders, particularly depression. The intent is to prepare Fellows to pursue academic careers in clinical research, teaching and practice that will advance our understanding of risk factors, psychological processes, prevention and treatment of depression. The fellowship is a full time position for a one-year period beginning September 1, 2019 and ending August 31, 2020. It will suppor