Dr. A-M. Ghadirian — Research

Most significant contributions

1. Research and academic collaborative work with late Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Heinz Lehmann in diagnostic and psychopharmacology aspects of psychiatry with articles in peer review journals. Also together published a book entitled “Environment and Psychopathology: (Eds) in 1992, Springer Publishing Company in New York. It explored the impact of environmental forces on mental health.

2. From 1977 to 2001 Dr. Ghadirian was director of the Mood (or Affective) Disorders Clinic at the Allan Memorial Institute and founded the Seasonal Affective Disorders (SAD) Clinic in the same institution in 1989. This clinic became a centre of treatment of patients with SAD in the Montreal metropolitan area and beyond. During this period he was involved in teaching residents in Mood Disorders and actively pursued important research projects, especially in psychopharmacology and epidemiology, a few highpoints of which are:
A) Study of psychotropic effect of lithium on memory function in Mood Disorder patients which was conducted in the 1980s and which led to the publication of articles in journals including the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology in 1993. This reserach at McGill University was unique in Canada at the time and contributed to the understanding of drug effect on memory.
B) Research on the effect of lithium and benzodiazepines on the sexual function of bipolar patients, the result of which was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 1992. This was another unique research exploration on a subject in which literature was scarce.
C) Epidemiological study of prevalence of psychosomatic disorders in schizophrenic and manic depressive disorders in the 1980s and 1990s with publication in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research (1982) and other related articles in other journals. Very little literature was available at that time to elucidate and analyze psychosomatic phenomena in this group of patients.

3. Since 1988, he has been collaborating with Dr. Beverly P. Murphy and other colleagues at McGill University on research into steroid suppression in major depression resistant to antidepressants. This was a pioneering work which resulted in new findings and several publications in peer reviewed journals. Some of the refractory depressed patients responded successfully to the treatment applied. This work was corroborated by researchers in other countries. The most recent development in this field has been research on the role of neuroactive progresterone metabolites in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). The results are outlined in a paper, published in the Journal of Psychoneuroendrocrinology.

These exploration and research studies will have important implications on the future treatment of refractory depressed patients with endocrinological disturbances involving adrenal gland and corticosteroids. They also offer a possible new perspective on the role of neuroactive steroids in the pathophysiology of CFS and depression.

4. He has been a Professor of Psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine, McGill University since 1989. As of July 2001, he has been an Emeritus Physician of the McGill University Health Centre. As a former Director of Medical Education of the Montreal WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health and also Director of Medical Education of the Douglas Hospital (1981-86) chaired the scientific organizing committee of the first WHO course on Psychiatric Hospital Organization and Management held in Montreal, May 16 – June 3, 1983 (at Douglas Hospital). Participants came from several countries and the proceedings of the course were printed and distributed among the participants as well as among the Regional Centres of WHO in other countries.

In another level he has been the Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Branch for Quebec and Eastern Canada since 1983. His contribution was to help this committee organize scientific conferences for the CME program in the field of psychiatry which has been held annually for many years. In addition, this year he was recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a Distinguished Life Fellow of the APA.

5. He has been an indefatigable promoter of prevention of substance abuse through his research, his seminars and conferences in many parts of the world. The results of two of his research studies carried out at McGill have been published. In addition, he has written two books on the subject. “In Search of Nirvana – A New Perspective on Drug Dependency” was published in 1985 by George Ronald, Publisher in Oxford, United Kingdom. A second edition appeared in 1989. His most recent book on the subject is “Alcohol and Drug Abuse – A Psychosocial and Spiritual Approach to Prevention” (George Ronald, Oxford, UK, 2007). These two books have had worldwide distribution. The former has been translated and published into other languages – Spanish, Russian, Portuguese and Italian. The latter has been translated into and published in Persian and Chinese. This book reflects not only the biological aspects, but also the psychosocial and spiritual dimensions of this epidemic problem. It also offers a strategy for primary prevention involving the individual, the family and society. Another book, entitled Substance Abuse: A Baha’i Perspective was published by Palabra Publications, Riviera, Florida, 2000.

6. He has studied and explored the subject of aging and Alzheimer’s disease and published a book on “Ageing – Challenges and Opportunities” (George Ronald, Oxford, UK 1991) (also published in Spanish and Chinese. He also published a book entitled Alzheimer’s Disease: An Eclipse before Sunset, published by Palabra Publications, Riviera Beach, Florida. (1999) (Also published in French)

7. In recent years he has concentrated on research and teaching in the field of spirituality and ethics in medicine. Since 2002 he has developed a curriculum for a course on this subject at McGill University in Montreal where he teaches medical students on spirituality as well as moral ethics in the practice of medicine. He has also been exploring subjects such as creativity in relation to adversity as well as materialism and consumer culture in contemporary society.