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
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:
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: .
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:
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 () and announced a new journal policy to ensure that registration guidelines are enforced ().
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 () 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 (). 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 (). 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 () 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 support Dr. Wu in her work with Drs. Thombs and Benedetti in the DEPRESSD Project in the Department of Psychiatry at the Jewish General Hospital.
Congratulations on SPIN Team's New Publication on Support Groups in Scleroderma!
Recently, an article authored by Danielle Rice from the SPIN team has been published in Current Rheumatology Reports. In this article, Danielle reviews existing literature on support group effectiveness in common diseases, research on support groups in scleroderma, and the support group program conducted by SPIN (SPIN-SSLED) to train scleroderma support group leaders to improve individual's support group access as well as the experiences of both support group members and leaders. Congratulations to Danielle and the SPIN team!
Congratulations on SPIN Team's New Publication on Shortening Body Image Measures in the SPIN Cohort!
We are excited to share with you our latest SPIN publication. SPIN's statistician Daphna Harel's article on shortening cohort body image measures has now been published online by BMJ Open. In this article, Daphna et al. describe a method for shortening body image measures in the SPIN Cohort. This method will allow researchers to efficiently collect data on patients' appearance concerns in scleroderma while reducing patients' burden in filling out the questionnaires. Check the following link to read the full article:
DEPRESSD - PHQ IPDMA Update Funded by CIHR
We are excited to announce that we recently received a funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Project Grant Program to update our Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) Individual Participant Data Meta Analysis (IPDMA). PHQ IPDMA is a continuing project that has been active since 2012. The DEPRESSD Team received a 2.6 years funding to update the search and expand the exiting database.
We would like to thank our DEPRESSD team members for their great work on the project.
Congratulations on SPIN Team’s Recent Publication on the Scleroderma Caregiver Project!
We are glad to share that SPIN team’s paper titled “Challenges and support service preferences of informal caregivers of people with systemic sclerosis: a cross-sectional survey” has been recently published online in Disability and Rehabilitation. 202 informal caregivers of people with scleroderma were invited to complete an online survey related to possible challenges they are facing and their support service preferences. This paper was led by SPIN’s PhD student Danielle Rice, and co-authored by a few other members in SPIN. Congratulations to the Scleroderma Caregiver Project Team! Please click on the following link if you are interested in knowing more about this paper:
SPIN-SSLED Full-Scale Trial Funded by CIHR
We are excited to announce that we have recently received a funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for our Scleroderma Support Group Leader EDucation (SSLED) full-scale trial. SPIN-SSLED is a 3-month videoconference-based program that will provide training to scleroderma support group leaders and others who would like to become support group leaders.
We would like to thank our SPIN-SSLED team membes for their tremendous work on the project. The trial will commence in late Spring with participants from different countries, including Canada, United States, UK, and Australia.
Congratulations to the CONSORT Team!
The CONSORT team recently received confirmation that the project will be sponsored by the Lady Davis Institute of the Jewish General Hospital and McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine. This funding will help support the upcoming International CONSORT Guideline Development Meeting scheduled to take place in May 2019 in London, UK.
To know more, please click here ...
Highlighting the Contributions of the SPIN-SSLED Patient Advisory Team
We would like to highlight the contributions of the SPIN-SSLED Patient Advisory Team, which consists of ten patients and patient advocates who generously volunteer their time to work on the Scleroderma Support group Leader EDucation (SSLED) Project.
Please click here to learn more about the SPIN SSLED Project.
CTFPHC Receives Media Coverage on Recent Publication on Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations
The recently published recommendations on Breast Cancer Screening from the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care have received broad media coverage and support (e.g., The Glob and Mail, Global News, Reuters).
Please click here to see highlights...
CTFPHC Guideline Announcement
On December 10th, the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care published its newest set of recommendations on screening for breast cancer in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ): . This guideline is an update to the Task Force’s 2011 breast cancer guideline, emphasizing shared decision-making between women and their health care providers as well as the importance of individual values and preferences in screening decisions. To know more, please click here ...
Sami Harb Receives the Graduate Excellence Fellowship in Mental Health Research
McGill University's Department of Psychiatry introduced a new award this year: the Graduate Excellence Fellowship in Mental Health Research. Our SPIN trainee and MSc student, Sami Harb, was fortunate to receive this award of $10,000 to recognize his research aptitude and to cover part of his student stipend. His thesis work is focused on the SPIN-PACE research program with the purpose of adapting an online physical activity program to the specific needs of scleroderma to support engagement in safe physical activity.
DEPRESSD Team Publishes Protocol for IPD Meta-analysis of Geriatric Depression Scale
The DEPRESSD Team published its protocol for its next big dataset project in BMJ Open (). The team has begun work on a systematic review of studies with data that allow a comparison between the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) and diagnoses of major depression based on validated diagnostic interviews. The GDS is the most commonly recommended screening tool among elderly populations. Work on this project was funded by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to Drs. Benedetti and Thombs and their DEPRESSD investigator colleagues.
Parash Mani Bhandari Awarded the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre Studentship Award
We are delighted to announce that Mr. Parash Mani Bhandari received a studentship of $9,125 from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. The RI-MUHC website mentions that the studentship “aims to support graduate students and post-doctoral trainees with exceptional potential for future achievement and productivity.” The studentship will support Mr. Bhandari in his work with Drs. Benedetti and Thombs in the DEPRESSD Project.
Congratulations on CONSORT Team's New Publication!
Recently, CONSORT Extension project team's study protocol titled "Protocol for the development of a CONSORT extension for RCTs using cohorts and routinely collected health data" has been officially published in BioMed Central (BMC). Congratulations!
To know more about this project and their publications, please click here ...
SPIN Recap of the 2018 Scleroderma Canada National Conference
At the National Scleroderma Conference in Calgary this September, we were excited to announce the launch of SPIN’s online platform for sharing our scleroderma support programs: SPIN-SHARE. Once ready, these programs will be available to the public free-of-charge through Canadian and international patient organization websites.