All posts by Elizabeth Doyle

Driving Retirement and Dementia: Does Sex Matter?

For many older adults, being licensed to drive and having access to a vehicle are associated with mobility and independence. Set against this backdrop, driving retirement tends to be viewed as losing a privilege, losing the ability to move about freely, and being reliant on others to meet transportation needs.   While significant, individual feelings of loss need to be balanced against more far-reaching issues of safety. When the quality of one’s driving deteriorates, driving retirement is necessary to ensure the safety of the person with dementia and other people on the roads.   This gains importance when you consider Read the full article…

Dr. Carrie Bourassa named new Scientific Director of CIHR’s Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health

Dr. Alain Beaudet – President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) – recently announced that Dr. Carrie Bourassa will become the Scientific Director of CIHR’s Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health on February 1, 2017.   Within the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA), Dr. Bourassa co-leads a research team with Dr. Kristen Jacklin that examines issues in dementia care for Indigenous communities. The team’s projects are based on findings that show rates of dementia in First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities throughout Canada have steadily increased over the past 7-10 years. Compounding the challenges, onset is now Read the full article…

Is Canada investing enough in dementia research?

By Dr. Serge Gauthier Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Psychiatry, Medicine, McGill University Director of the Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders Research Unit, McGill Center for Studies in Aging, Douglas Hospital. As a researcher and neurologist who treats people with dementia, I feel their frustration when I tell them there is no cure and that the drugs we can prescribe are of limited value.   Throughout my career, I’ve supported research into dementia therapeutics, which promises to improve quality of life for those living with dementia by curbing symptoms and slowing its progression. But our own progress as researchers is Read the full article…

Alzheimer’s disease: New Imaging Techniques take us closer to Diagnosis and Treatment

“We’re looking to identify new biomarkers for early diagnosis and new targets for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease by uncovering the earliest synaptic changes in the brain that lead to cell death.” Dr. Robert Bartha   When a cell is damaged by Alzheimer’s disease and the neurons in the brain begin to die, it can start a process of controlled cell death, known as apoptosis. Having a domino effect, once apoptosis begins it cannot be stopped. At least not yet.   Attempting to get ahead of this process, Dr. Robert Bartha leads a research team within the Canadian Consortium on Read the full article…

Dr. Debra Morgan’s team Awarded CIHR Foundation Grant for Rural Dementia Care

$2.3 million CIHR grant funding research to improve quality and appropriateness of services in rural areas.  According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, there are close to 564,000 Canadians living with dementia. This number is expected to increase by 66% over the next 15 years to 937,000. Rural areas are hit especially hard, according to Dr. Debra Morgan.   “Despite having a higher proportion of adults over the age of 65, rural areas have fewer primary health care, specialist, and support services available than cities. This leaves some people in rural communities living with undiagnosed dementia, and without an effective care Read the full article…

Changes in Frailty Affect changes in Cognition in Older Men: The Honolulu-Asia Aging Study

  Although advanced age remains the “most potent risk factor for dementia,” it does not fully account for the incidence and severity of the disease, according to Drs. Melissa Andrew, Kenneth Rockwood, and colleagues in CCNA’s Team 14.   With an eye to understanding how the environment and biology affect cognition, the researchers drew on the Frailty Index to measure and bundle some of the known “problems of old age,” using data from a well-known cohort study on aging, the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study (HAAS).   After controlling for age, education, and APOE ε4 (a known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s Read the full article…

Why Alzheimer’s Disease needs to be Identified at the “Pre-Clinical” Stage

“It’s unlikely that any therapy will be effective after the clinical presentation of Alzheimer’s disease. The best chance we have to alter its course is to intervene at earlier stages.” Dr. A. Claudio Cuello   Alzheimer’s disease develops decades before it can be clinically detected. And by the time it is detected, it’s already too late to change the disease’s course. By then, the brain will have undergone extensive and irreversible damage, Dr. A. Claudio Cuello explains.   Efforts must therefore be directed at getting ahead of the clinical presentation of the disease.     Attempting to do just that, Read the full article…

“Paving the way to Precision Medicine for people with dementia”

“The significance of vascular health to the public can’t be overstated: It may be the only modifiable degenerative condition leading to dementia.” Dr. Eric Smith Over the past 10 years, dementia researchers have established that vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) is common in the brains of older people, accounting for up to 33% of the risk for developing dementia. Second only to Alzheimer’s disease, VCI is a leading cause of dementia and needs to be better understood, according to Dr. Eric Smith.   Symptoms of Vascular Cognitive Impairment In some cases, VCI is evident as a symptomatic stroke that causes paralysis Read the full article…

Driving and Dementia: Maintaining Mobility After Deciding to Hang up the Keys

“Hearing the news that you have to stop driving can be more devastating than finding out that you have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.” Dr. Mark Rapoport   Driving is a crucial link to the outside world for many older adults. Being licensed to drive and having access to a vehicle are associated with mobility and independence. Having to stop driving, by contrast, tends to be seen as losing a privilege; losing the ability to move about freely; and being reliant on others to meet one’s transportation needs.   While the feeling of loss can be significant, in some cases Read the full article…

Responding to the Behavioural Symptoms of Dementia: We Must do Better

“For many people with dementia, their behavior is more challenging to grapple with than the diagnosis itself.” Dr. Nathan Herrmann These interventions include determining: (1) How well drugs actually address BSD, and investigating newer, safer alternative medications; (2) Whether the use of personalized behavioral interventions, through touch-screen technology, can help to reduce symptoms like anxiety and agitation; and (3) Whether prescribing habits of long-term care staff can be optimized through educational interventions, so that residents are only getting the medication they require. Currently, the team is assessing the resources and best practices used by each residence within their network to support Read the full article…