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Dr. William Panenka

Investigator, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services Research Institute

Primary research areas

  • Concussion
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Substance use
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Neuroimaging 

About William J. Panenka, MSc, MD, FRCPC Neurology, FRCPC Psychiatry

  • Investigator, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services Research Institute
  • Investigator, BC Children's Hospital Research Institute
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia
  • Member, Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health

Dr. William Panenka’s is a clinical researcher and dually certified psychiatrist and neurologist whose research interests include determining the outcomes of concussion and traumatic brain injuries using brain imaging and neurocognitive and psychiatric assessments. He is the medical lead at the Neuropsychiatry Concussion Clinic and neurology consultant to the Fraser Health concussion clinic.

Current projects

One of his ongoing projects is looking at traumatic brain injuries in those experiencing homelessness in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. This study has been following almost 500 individuals for up to 10 years and is part of a large team led by Dr. William Honer. They recruit individuals housed in single room occupancy hotels and have them undergo detailed medical and psychiatric testing, including a brain MRI.

Dr. Panenka recently completed data collection for a national Brain Canada-funded study on traumatic brain injury in athletes. With the last patient enrolled, he will be examining the effects of serious brain injuries in order to find cognitive, imaging and blood markers that may predict outcome and response to treatment.  

In an ongoing clinical trial with Dr. Noah Silverberg, Drs. Panenka and Silverberg are looking at the psychological coping mechanisms that result in lasting symptoms and disabilities from brain injuries in order to advance care and support services.

Recent publications

View Dr. Panenka’s publications on ORCID

Terry DP, Brassil M, Iverson GL, Panenka WJ, Silverberg ND. Effect of depression on cognition after mild traumatic brain injury in adults. Clin Neuropsychol. 2019 Jan;33(1):124-136. doi: 10.1080/13854046.2018.1459853. Epub 2018 May 4

Silverberg ND, Martin P, Panenka WJ. Headache trigger sensitivity and avoidance after mild traumatic brain injury. J Neurotrauma. 2019 May 15;36(10):1544-1550. doi: 10.1089/neu.2018.6025. Epub 2019 Jan 11

Reed N, Silverberg ND, Iaccarino MA, McCrea M, McCulloch KL, Panenka WJ, Gregory E, Dams-O'Connor K, Iverson GL, Weyer Jamora C, Belanger H, McKinney G, Cogan AM, Provvidenza C. Returning to Activity After a Concussion. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2019 Jan 30. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2018.11.022

Stubbs JL, Coorow SL, Kiang BR, Corrow JC, Pearce HL, Cheng AY, Barton JJS, Panenka WJ.  Working memory load improves diagnostic performance of smooth pursuit eye movement in mild traumatic brain injury patients with protracted recovery. Sci Rep. 2019 Jan 22. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-36286-3

Jones AA, Jang K, Panenka WJ, Barr AM, MacEwan GW, Thornton AE, Honer WG. Rapid Change in Fentanyl Prevalence in a Community-Based, High-Risk Sample. JAMA Psychiatry. 2018 Mar 1;75(3):298-300. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.4432

Iverson GL, Terry DP, Karr JE, Panenka WJ, Silverberg ND. Perceived Injustice and Its Correlates after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.J Neurotrauma. 2018 May 15;35(10):1156-1166. doi: 10.1089/neu.2017.5402. Epub 2018 Mar 1

Barbic SP, Jones AA, Woodward M, Piercy M, Mathias S, Vila-Rodriguez F, Leonova O, Smith GN, Buchanan T, Vertinsky AT, Gillingham S, Panenka WJ, Rauscher A, Barr AM, Procyshyn RM, MacEwan GW, Lang DJ, Thornton AE, Heran MK, Leon AM, Krausz M, Honer WG. Clinical and functional characteristics of young adults living in single room occupancy housing: preliminary findings from a 10-year longitudinal study. Can J Public Health. 2018 Apr;109(2):204-214. doi: 10.17269/s41997-018-0087-9. Epub 2018 May 31

Gicas KM, Thornton AE, Waclawik K, Wang N, Jones AA, Panenka WJ, Lang DJ, Smith GN, Vila-Rodriguez F, Leonova O, Barr AM, Procyshyn RM, Buchanan T, Su W, Vertinsky AT, Rauscher A, MacEwan GW, Honer WG. Volumes of the Hippocampal Formation Differentiate Component Processes of Memory in a Community Sample of Homeless and Marginally Housed Persons. Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2018 Nov 8. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acy066. [Epub ahead of print] 

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