Our UHN programs and services are among the most advanced in the world. We have grouped our physicians, staff, services and resources into 10 medical programs to meet the needs of our patients and help us make the most of our resources.
University Health Network is a health care and medical research organization in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The scope of research and complexity of cases at UHN has made us a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care.
Our 10 medical programs are spread across eight hospital sites – Princess Margaret, Toronto General, Toronto Rehab’s five sites, Toronto Western – as well as our education programs through the Michener Institute of Education at UHN. Learn more about the services, programs and amenities offered at each location.
Maps & Directions
Find out how to get to and around our nine locations — floor plans, parking, public transit, accessibility services, and shuttle information.
Ways You Can Help
Being touched by illness affects us in different ways. Many people want to give back to the community and help others. At UHN, we welcome your contribution and offer different ways you can help so you can find one that suits you.
The Newsroom is the source for media looking for information about UHN or trying to connect with one of our experts for an interview. It’s also the place to find UHN media policies and catch up on our news stories, videos, media releases, podcasts and more.
Despite being hampered by painful injuries, many athletes continue to compete and win. For example, Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Bobby Baun scored the winning goal in overtime despite breaking his ankle earlier in Game 6, helping his team win the Stanley Cup in 1964.Why is it that some individuals can perform a task – and do it well – while experiencing pain?"There is a complex relationship between pain and attention, where pain can modulate attention and vice versa. Moreover, the interplay between these two factors differs from one person to the next," explains
Dr. Karen Davis.
Dr. Davis has shown that individuals can be classified as one of two types depending on how pain affects their performance in doing a task. In P-type individuals, pain impedes their ability to perform a task; whereas, in A-type individuals, like Bobby Baun, pain enhances their performance.
To gain a better understanding of the brain mechanisms that contribute to this divergent behaviour during pain, Dr. Davis and her PhD student Joshua Cheng led
a study examining patterns of brain activity in these two groups.
First, 51 healthy participants were classified as either A-type or P-type based on their performance in a complex mental task in the presence and absence of a painful stimulus. Next, the participants underwent a functional MRI (fMRI) scan, while they were not thinking of anything in particular, to measure their spontaneous brain activity.
The researchers focused their study on the activity of brain cells in two networks: the executive control (EC) network and the salience network. The EC network helps to optimize a person's behaviour in response to what's happening around them; whereas, the salience network is normally engaged when something like pain draws your attention.
Through their analysis, Dr. Davis and her research team discovered a link between spontaneous brain activity and task performance with pain. The synchrony of activity between the EC network and the salience network, as well as within the salience network, was more flexible in A-type individuals than P-type individuals. These findings suggest that brain communication is more flexible in A-type individuals – a feature that could be important for prioritizing task performance over pain, producing
Regarding her future work, Dr. Davis says, "We'd like to explore whether communication flexibility is disrupted in chronic pain and how it is altered by treatments for chronic pain – including surgery, medications and cognitive-behavioural therapy. This will improve our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning chronic pain, which will be instrumental for developing more effective and personalized therapies for this debilitating condition."
Supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation.