Neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with illness include mood changes, apathy, aggression and cognitive changes. These are common sequelae of many central nervous system disorders such as dementia, traumatic brain injury, cerebrovascular disease and stroke. Dr. Lanctôt’s goal is to optimize the psychopharmacological management of these neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Current research addresses this goal by determining underlying neurobiology of neuropsychiatric symptoms, examining predictors of treatment response, using novel pharmacological agents, and carefully considering adverse drug events. Dr. Lanctôt’s early focus was on neurobiology of behavioural disorders associated with dementia. The goal of this research was to determine if behavioural subtypes can be linked to underlying neurochemical or neuropathologic dysfunction. A variety of tools including neuroimaging, pharmacogenetics and pharmacologic challenges are used in combination with pharmacotherapeutic trials. This research will contribute to our understanding of the link between dysfunction in various neurotransmitters and neuropsychiatric symptoms. As such, it may allow Dr. Lanctôt’s team to predict response to medications based on behavioral subtypes. At a broader level, it can provide the background for novel therapies.
A second focus of research evaluates the impact of pharmacologic treatments at a population level, which includes measuring relevant health outcomes, quality of life and modelling cost-benefit, cost-effectiveness and cost-utility of pharmacotherapies.