Toronto conference attracts scientists and clinicians to talk about emotions and the brain

Toronto, Canada, March 23, 2011 — Leading thinkers in the science and treatment of emotion-related disorders, such as depression, anxiety and debilitating stress, are in Toronto for a three-day conference March 27-29, 2011 to discuss the latest advances in understanding the brain changes behind these illnesses and the way forward to treat more effectively.

Dr. Jennifer Ryan and Dr. Linda MahMore than 300 scientists, clinicians and academics from around the world are attending the “Neuroscience of Emotion and Emotion-Related Disorders” at The Four Seasons Hotel. The conference is presented by Baycrest, an academic health sciences centre internationally renowned for care of aging adults and excellence in aging brain research, clinical interventions, and promising cognitive rehabilitation strategies.

Presentations from 23 scientists, representing Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., will focus on the distinctive brain changes underlying mood disorders and emotional disturbances associated with head trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and neurodegenerative diseases – all of which have implications for next generation treatment strategies.

This year marks the first time Baycrest’s two research units – the world-renowned Rotman Research Institute and the Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied Research Unit (KLARU) – have joined forces to present one of the world’s foremost neuroscience conferences.

“We have a diverse group of presenters who will provide a bench to bedside approach to understanding the complex interplay between emotion and cognition,” said Dr. Jennifer Ryan, conference co-chair, senior scientist and academic director of Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute. “Emotion may boost certain aspects of cognition, however it can also result in devastating conditions that can be life-altering.”

Added co-chair Dr. Linda Mah, a psychiatrist and clinician-scientist at Baycrest’s KLARU who specializes in treating depression in older adults: “We will hear about the latest advances in the way we use cognitive processes to control or manage our feelings. Emotion dysregulation is a core feature of many psychiatric disorders and is a potential biomarker of treatment outcome. What this means is that in the near future, with a better understanding of the brain changes underlying emotion regulation, we may be able to tailor specific treatments for mood and other emotion-related disorders to the individual.”

The conference features three keynote speakers, all of whom are internationally renowned in their field. They include Dr. Larry Cahill (University of California, Irvine), “Sex influences on brain and emotional memory”; Dr. Ned Kalin (University of Wisconsin Madison School of Medicine and Public Health), “Understanding the development of anxiety and depression”; and Dr. Robert Levenson (University of California, Berkeley), “Emotion in normal aging and in neurodegenerative disease”.

For the full list of speakers and conference itinerary, go to:

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Media attending the conference are asked to sign in at the conference registration desk at The Four Seasons Hotel, 21 Avenue Road. Interviews with conference presenters can be arranged through the on-site media officer.

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For more information on this press release, please contact:
Kelly Connelly
Senior Media Officer