Canada Defence Ministry invests in brain imaging technology for mental health research

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OTTAWA, May 16 (Xinhua) — Canada’s National Defence Ministry Monday announced a collaboration with the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre to invest in brain imaging technology.

The collaboration is one of a number of the ministry’s initiatives aimed at improving mental health services to military personnel and their families.

The ministry has invested 2.65 million Canadian dollars(some 2.2 million U.S. dollars) over a four-year period for this collaboration.

Under a signed agreement, the ministry will acquire access to the state-of-the-art Positron Emission Tomography/fMRI scanner — the only one of its kind in Canada devoted entirely to brain and mental health research.

The Positron Emission Tomography, or PET scan, identifies which parts of the brain are metabolically active using specially labeled molecules. Functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, is a technique for measuring brain activity by detecting the changes in blood oxygenation and flow that occur in response to neural activity.

The combined use of these two technologies will allow clinicians and scientists from Canadian Forces Health Services and The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre to examine the effects of various drugs used to treat depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses on brain functions.

The mental health research is expected to lead to more personalized treatment for those suffering from mental illness.

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