PLA2 Research

Over the course of his medical and specialist education, Dr. Hudson trained under Canada’s pre-eminent psychiatrists and scientists including the late Dr. Jock Cleghorn, Dr. Oleh Hornykiewicz and Drs. Mary and Philip Seeman. In 1993, the year he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in Canada, he published a widely cited paper in the journal Synapse which reviewed the importance of the intracellular machinery in forming compounds to treat psychological conditions.

In l993 Dr. Hudson also received the Medical Research Council Clinician Scientist Award which allows specialists with promising clinical and research careers to pursue advance training in both areas. During his four year post- graduate fellowship he began to pursue research into the intracellular enzymes that controlled the release of unsaturated fats which play an important role in mental illnesses. He focused his attention on schizophrenia perhaps the most complicated of all psychiatric conditions because it is, in all likelihood, not just one illness but a series of distinct biochemical illnesses that share the same clinical presentation.

In order to unravel the complex biochemistry underlying schizophrenia Dr. Hudson hypothesized that it may be possible to subtype schizophrenic patients according to the common cellular signal disturbance they share. To this end he developed methodology to separate out of those patients the ones with abnormal blood flow reactions to large dosages of vitamin B3 (Niacin). He utilized this clinical challenge test to conduct a series of clinical (Biological Psychiatry, 1996), biochemical (Archives of General Psychiatry 1997 & Biological Psychiatry 1999) and genetic (Schizophrenia Research 1996 & British Journal of Psychiatry 1999) research studies, now widely replicated, which demonstrated that schizophrenia is linked to an enzyme known as cytosolic phospholipase A2, the key enzyme responsible for the release of certain unsaturated fats in the brain. These findings, in collaboration with work by Dr. David Horrobin and colleagues in England and Scotland, allowed for a possible biochemical explanation for the benefits that some schizophrenic patients receive from omega 3 unsaturated oils.