Research new medical technologies and techniques

Researchers provide insight into the complex mental health challenges facing Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and their families.

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) uses a two-pronged approach to mental health research: social sciences and life sciences research.

  • Physical, mental and social health indicators of CAF veterans after transitioning from military to civilian life
  • Stressors experienced on military deployment and their relationship with post-deployment mental and physical health outcomes
  • Psychological resilience and post-deployment mental health outcomes of CAF members
  • Association between combat exposure and post-deployment alcohol use
  • Attitudes toward seeking mental health care.

Read more about the research that is advancing Canadian Armed Forces Mental Health Care.

Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a neuroimaging technique used to map brain activity by recording magnetic fields produced by the electrical currents that occur naturally in the brain, using very sensitive magnetometers.

In the Life Sciences domain, researchers are currently studying Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD

Research is being conducted on the long-term physiological, behavioural and cognitive effects of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI). This injury, most commonly known as a concussion, is not a new condition; however there is a lack of diagnostic tools and treatment options available. While mBTI symptoms can be diagnosed, there is no definitive diagnosis of the injury itself and no way to assess its severity. DRDC researchers, in cooperation with partners, are trying to change this by using neuroimaging techniques and identifying biomarkers to determine if a definitive diagnosis can be made between mTBI and PTSD.

Seeking objective solutions to diagnose PTSD and mTBI DRDC, the Canadian Forces Health Services (CFHS) and The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) successfully demonstrated the use of magnetoencephalography (MEG), a real-time, non-invasive neuroimaging technique capable of showing when and where processing activity occurs in the brain. Learn more about mild traumatic brain injury.

“I joined DRDC after working in the private sector for a few years because of the unique science and technology (S&T) challenges presented by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). To provide physical and medical solutions against biological hazards facing the CAF, I have discovered that I have to work with experts from other fields using a multidisciplinary approach, which provides exciting opportunities. Working at DRDC allows me easy access to subject matter experts both nationally and internationally, in all areas of S&T, so that a team can collaborate and deliver tangible solutions that influence the military. I am proud to work alongside these dedicated individuals every day and I am proud to be able to contribute.”

—Nora is a Defence Scientist working in biological defence

 "As a DRDC scientist it has been very rewarding working in an area with immediate requirements and objectives to be addressed.  This has provided both an excellent opportunity to engage in advanced medical countermeasures development along with the support to engage scientists in Canada and other nations which are developing novel and unique methodologies and advanced technologies. As a scientist it is very rewarding as we are involved in projects with immediate impact and deployment but also fulfilling the inherent scientific requirement to assess and advance novel scientific discoveries."

—John is a Defence Scientist working in CBRN medical countermeasures development.

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