Research Projects

Our department conducts clinical research into mental disorders and neurodevelopmental disorders in child and adolescent. This research is designed both to contribute to the clinical fields of child and adolescent psychiatry and to give back to the community. We have partnerships with Sapporo City and national public research institutions, and are planning joint study programs with various international institutions. We welcome researchers, participants, and research partners who share our interests and determination to join us.

Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents

Child mood disorders are an underestimated research area, so these conditions are generally underdiagnosed. Our studies focus on the generalization of diagnoses and treatments of child mood disorders.

We aim to :

  1. develop diagnostic criteria of depression for preschool children,
  2. study the generalization of treatments for child depression, and
  3. study the efficacy of antidepressants for children and adolescents.

Research into Suicide Prevention, and into the Risk and Protective Factors of Suicide in Children and Adolescents

Unlike suicide rates in adults, which have been decreasing gradually, child suicides show an increasing pattern. In collaboration with Nippon Medical School’s Psychiatry Department and Sapporo City Board of Education, we are carrying out the following clinical research projects on child and adolescent suicide:

  1. Prospective study on child suicidal behavior, which aims to identify children who display such behavior during an observation period, and to examine factors related to suicidal behavior
  2. Psychological study of children who attempt suicide to analyze the primary causative factors
  3. Project to establish a suicide prevention system for children and adolescents by applying the findings of projects 1 and 2

Pathogenesis and Clinical Assessment of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

We are using cutting-edge brain imaging methods and brain function examination techniques to investigate neurodevelopmental disorders. We are thus able to find biomarkers and improve the accuracy of current diagnostic tools. Our activities in this area are as follows:

  1. Using magnetoencephalography, 3D-MRI, and dynamic statistical parametric mapping (dSPM) to assess brain function in dyslexic children while they are reading
  2. Developing diagnostic criteria for dyslexia in adolescents and adults
  3. Seeking reliable biomarkers for ADHD by analyzing fuzzy entropy in default mode networks (DMNs) with electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography
  4. A joint functional MRI study of DMN in adult ADHD with the Department of Psychiatry, Nippon Medical School
  5. Working with the DIVA Foundation to establish a semi-structured interview and standardized diagnosis for adult ADHD
  6. Collaborative research project with the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry (NCNP) on an early detection program for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ? investigating the early signs of ASD

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Oxytocin

Development of methods to evaluate adult Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with oxytocin infusion in physiological and cognitive level. There is no single treatment proved to work for every adult ASD. We conduct a clinical trail on effectivenss of oxytocin nasal spray for adult ASD which is expected to improve social functioning. Together wtih ASD assessments such as Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R), we also measure biological reactions including eye movement, blood tests, and brain function. In addition, we connect two magnetoencephalography (MEG) to establish dual-MEG system in Hokkaido University, which will enable us to assess brain activities of interactive communication with no time delay and to objectify subtle changes during interview.

Parent Training for Children with ADHD, and Psychological Intervention

Since September 2014, our department at Hokkaido University Hospital has been offering a twice monthly training course called “Kokoro no Hiroba Fukuro-san” over 3-month periods for families of patients with ADHD or ADHD tendencies. The program involves dealing with a training group (family members) and a play group (children) in the same room side by side. This challenging setting enables us to take a new approach to studying the psychology of the parent-child relationship.