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Karl Looper, MD, FRCPC

Senior Investigator, Lady Davis Institute
Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Department of Psychiatry, Jewish General Hospital
Co-Director‎, Mental Health Program, CIUSSS West-Central Montreal Health
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University
Dr. Karl Looper is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University. He graduated from the McGill Psychiatry Residency Program in 2000, completed a Master of Psychiatry and fellowship in Psychosomatic Medicine. He is a psychiatric consultant to the medical and surgical departments of the Jewish General Hospital and the Segal Cancer Centre. His clinical and research activities focus on the interaction between psychiatric issues and medical illness.

Major Research Activities
Dr. Looper's research has addressed the overlapping and interacting processes between a person's medical problems and their mental health. This includes the effects of drug interactions, the relationship between depression on outcomes of patients with major medical illnesses, and unexplained medical phenomena routinely ascribed to psychiatric problems. The impact of these issues can be as relevant to the overall health of a patient as the primary medical diagnosis itself. For example, the potential interaction between certain antidepressants and tamoxifen can greatly reduce the anti-cancer effect of tamoxifen which is prescribed to prevent the recurrence of breast cancer (Desmarais & Looper, 2009). Depression is found to be a very significant predictor of medical outcomes, such as overall physical functioning in pulmonary hypertension (Looper et al, 2009), and even a past history of depression predisposes patients with inflammatory arthritis to have negative medical consequences (Looper et al 2011).

In many cases, a clear underlying medical diagnosis cannot be established to explain an individual's physical problems. The assumption that what is not identified as medical is therefore psychiatric leads to great conflict in the clinical setting, where the explanation of the problem contradicts the patient's illness experience and erects barriers to care. Dr. Looper has explored this dilemma in different settings, including the experience of pseudoseizures in neurology (Dickinson & Looper 2012) and unexplained somatic problems in primary care (Looper & Kirmayer 2012). The dilemma of the interaction between the medical and psychiatric aspects of a person's care has challenged physicians as far back as Hippocrates. New models of illness and approaches to treatment are required to address these complex psychosomatic problems.

Recent Publications

Rej S, Beaulieu S, Segal M, Low NCP, Mucsi I, Holcroft C, Shulman K, Looper K, “Lithium Dosing and Serum Levels Across the Age Spectrum - From Early Adulthood to the 10th Decade of Life”. Drugs and Aging 2014 Oct 21, doi: 10.1007/s40266-014-0221-1, ePub ahead of print. PMID 2531906

Abitbol R, Rej S, Segal M, Looper K, “Diabetes mellitus onset in geriatric patients: does long-term atypical antipsychotic exposure increase risk?”. Psychogeriatrics. 2014 Nov 4. doi: 10.1111/psyg.12081 ePub ahead of print. PMID 2536990.

Mahadian A, Rej S, Bacon S, Lavoie K, Looper K. “Antidepressant-related bleeding risk in surgical patients - A Systematic Review”. Expert Opinion in Drug Safety Epub ahead of print 2014 Apr 9. doi: 10.1517/14740338.2014.908182. PMID: 24717049
Dr. Looper's research has addressed issues including: 
drug interactions in breast cancer patients; the effect of depression on patients with major medical illnesses; and understanding unexplained medical phenomena routinely ascribed to psychiatric problems.

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