New communication test provides early indicator of dementia

“Our discovery demonstrates changes in the brain regions that process speech into understandable words occur early on. This finding could be the first sign of decline in communication-related brain function and the research technique used in the study could lead to the development of a cost-effective and objective dementia screening test for older adults.”

– Dr. Claude Alain, the study’s senior author and senior scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute (RRI)

Their research technique was able to predict Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), a condition that is likely to develop into Alzheimer’s, with 80 per cent accuracy. Based on this, the researchers hope to explore the development a portable, reliable and easy-to-use alternate diagnostic test for MCI.

Read more about the study’s findings here.


Groundbreaking work predicts how epilepsy seizures start

“The Virtual Brain has been used to demonstrate epilepsy’s impact on an individual’s brain. Through the research, we can predict how epileptic seizures start and spread within the brain, which could help doctors identify where to intervene during surgery, reducing the risk of adverse events.”

-Dr. Randy McIntosh, co-founder of The Virtual Brain, Vice President of Research at Baycrest and Director of the Rotman Research Institute (RRI)

The Virtual Brain, an international brain-mapping platform co-created by Baycrest, is one step closer to being used by doctors to provide personalized treatments based on brain simulations.

Baycrest aims to create similar simulations that predict the start and spread of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. They are also exploring potential partnership opportunities to improve the platform’s accessibility among physicians and bring it into clinical care.

The Virtual Brain is supported by generous gifts from Maxz’l and Gianna Glassman and the Zwig Family Foundation.

Find out more about the Virtual Brain’s latest breakthrough here.


First clinically-validated, online brain health workshop

“Normal age-related memory decline can be a source of worry and frustration for many older adults. Baycrest’s Memory and Aging Program is one of the few brain health workshops for healthy older adults around the world that helps seniors take control of their memory change experience and optimize their brain health. The online Memory and Aging Program workshop will allow us to share Baycrest’s expertise to anyone with an Internet connection.”

-Dr. Susan Vandermorris, Baycrest clinical neuropsychologist and lead for the Memory and Aging Program

For more than 20 years, Baycrest’s Memory and Aging Program has helped more than 1,000 healthy older adults. It is among the few clinically-validated, gold standard brain health workshops across the globe and it will offer an evidence-based, brain-training product that has a long track record of scientific excellence.

In 2016, the Memory and Aging Program worked closely with e-learning experts, designers and program users to design an interactive, informative and practical e-learning experience.

With support from the Canadian Centre for Aging & Brain Health Innovation (CC-ABHI), the program is currently being tested by older adults across Canada and is expected to be validated and widely distributed this year.


Uncovering the impact of volunteer visits on thinking skills

“What I’ve learned is that each day is a day in itself, one day is different from the other. You can’t expect the residents to remember you from one day from the next but when you see that smile that they somewhat remember you or that they’re happy to see you, it really makes it worth it.”

-Sabrina Teles, volunteer with Baycrest’s PLEASE program (a person-centred care program)

Baycrest scientists and clinicians are teaming up with long-term care homes across Toronto to explore how volunteer visits could help older adults with dementia preserve or improve their thinking abilities. This work could help long-term care homes incorporate a cost-effective program to improve care for residents with dementia and create new roles for volunteers working with older adults.

More than half of long-term care home residents in Ontario have dementia and impairments to residents’ thinking abilities impact their overall health and quality of life. This project received support from The Retired Teachers of Ontario Foundation. Find out more about this work.


Baycrest launches first Canadian Brain Health Food Guide

“Our Brain Health Food Guide will help adults 50+ preserve their thinking and memory skills as they age. There is increasing evidence in scientific literature that healthy eating is associated with retention of cognitive function, but there is also a lot of misinformation out there. This guide will help older adults seeking to proactively manage their brain health through healthy nutrition.”

– Dr. Carol Greenwood, co-author of the Brain Health Food Guide and senior scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute

Research has found that dietary patterns similar to those outlined in the first Canadian Brain Health Food Guide are associated with decreasing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 36 per cent and mild cognitive impairment (a condition likely to develop into Alzheimer’s) by 27 per cent.

Download the Brain Health Food Guide and start protecting your brain health today.