Feb 1, 2024

News Roundup - January 2024

Article Summaries

Pale Blue
By Matthew Xia

Our faculty members frequently make appearances in the media as expert consultants or authors. This article summarizes the faculty media appearances that were featured in our Department newsletter in January 2024. 

Ottawa acknowledges ‘concerns about readiness’ on medical aid in dying expansion 

Global News January 22, 2024. Featuring Dr. Sonu Gaind.

Dr. Sonu Gaind opposes the expansion of medical assistance in dying (MAiD) to include mental illness as the sole reason, citing a lack of safeguards to protect vulnerable individuals.

Amid a dire nationwide therapist shortage, could lay counselors help close the gap? 

STAT News. January 18, 2024. Featuring Dr. Daisy Singla.

Dr. Singla advocates for the scalability of lay counselor effectiveness in mental health care, emphasizing their potential to address the vast unmet need for mental health services through evidence-based interventions and training.

How to hack your winter workday to boost your mood 

CBC News January 16, 2024. Featuring Dr. Robert Levitan.

Dr. Levitan emphasizes that the lack of daylight in winter can disrupt sleep-wake cycles, mood, and appetite, potentially leading to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or winter blues, affecting a significant portion of the population.

Government deliberating expansion of MAID 

Global News. January 12, 2024. Featuring Dr. Sonu Gaind.

Dr. Gaind opposes the expansion of MAiD for mental illness due to the lack of safeguards for vulnerable individuals, asking the Canadian government to delay the implementation beyond the March 2024 deadline.

How to survive Blue Monday this year 

CityNews Toronto. January 12, 2024. Featuring Dr. Michael Mak.

Dr. Mak describes Blue Monday as a marketing concept with no scientific basis, but acknowledges the winter months can affect mood due to decreased sunlight, advising exposure to bright light as a remedy for seasonal blues.

Feelings of depression linked to short-term weight gain, study finds

Global News. January 11, 2024. Featuring Dr. Roger McIntyre.

Dr. McIntyre highlights the association between depressive symptoms and obesity, suggesting that socio-economic, psychological, and neurobiological factors contribute to this link, with implications for both the understanding and treatment of these conditions.

Four Temerty Medicine faculty members honoured with Order of Canada

Temerty Medicine News. January 8, 2024. Featuring Dr. Anne Bassett, Dr. Bruce G. Pollock, and Dr. Arun Ravindran.

Dr. Bassett, Dr. Pollock, and Dr. Ravindran were all inducted into the Order of Canada this past December.

Do we really want to be No. 1 in medically assisted dying? 

The Toronto Star. January 5, 2024. Featuring Dr. Sonu Gaind.

Dr. Gaind criticizes the expansion of medically assisted dying to include mental illness as decided by the Senate without comprehensive legislative debate, emphasizing the need for autonomy and self-determination to be considered carefully, especially for vulnerable populations.

U of T community members recognized with Order of Canada 

U of T News. January 5, 2024. Featuring Dr. Anne Bassett, Dr. Bruce G. Pollock, and Dr. Arun Ravindran.

On December 28, 2023, Dr. Pollock, Dr. Bassett, and Dr. Ravindran were inducted into the Order of Canada, recognizing their significant contributions as researchers, innovators, and educators in their respective fields.

January has a reputation as the bleakest month. Does the grey weather make it worse? 

CBC News. January 5, 2024. Featuring Dr. Michael Mak.

Dr. Mak explains that the prevalence of winter blues in Canada is not due to the absence of snow, but rather the reduced exposure to sunlight, which significantly impacts mood, suggesting bright light therapy as a potential remedy.

A new Azrieli Foundation fellowship will help transform the way we treat patients with complex brain disorders 

U of T Defy Gravity Campaign. January 3, 2024. Featuring Dr. Sarah Levitt and Dr. Sara Mitchell.

Dr. Mitchell leads the Azrieli Brain Medicine Fellowship Program, aimed at breaking down educational and practice siloes in medicine to provide holistic care for patients with complex brain disorders by training practitioners in an integrated approach to brain health.

Should Patients Be Allowed to Die From Anorexia? 

New York Times Magazine. January 3, 2024. Featuring Dr. Justine Dembo.

Dr. Dembo comments on the ethical challenges of providing hope for recovery for patients who are facing unbearable mental anguish.

Toronto just set December records for rain and fog, and the winter is expected to stay grey 

CBC News. January 3, 2024. Featuring Dr. Robert Levitan.

Dr. Levitan warns that the continued lack of sunlight this winter in Toronto, due to unusually mild and foggy weather, may exacerbate symptoms for those struggling with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), recommending regular use of bright, artificial light therapy as an effective treatment.

Possible relief from grey days on Thursday with some sunlight in the forecast 

CityNews. January 3, 2024. Featuring Dr. Michael Mak.

Dr. Mak highlights the impact of prolonged overcast weather in Toronto on mood, emphasizing the importance of light exposure to combat seasonal blues and seasonal affective disorder (SAD), with a recommendation for using bright light therapy to improve mood during the darker winter months.