September 21, 2018
Healthcare researchers are in a race against time. As the world’s population ages, a new case of dementia is diagnosed every four seconds with 7.7 million new cases per year worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Currently, about 50 million of people around the globe live with the neurodegenerative disorder and this number is expected to surge to 75 million in 2030.
The statistics may appear bleak, but there are still opportunities to intervene. “We now know that Alzheimer’s starts to develop in the brain decades before memory loss symptoms become apparent,” says Baycrest President and CEO Dr. William Reichman. “By focusing on ways to prevent the disorder from developing, we stand a chance in stemming this ballooning public health crisis.”
On World Alzheimer’s Day, Baycrest is honoured to share its plans for the new Kimel Family Centre for Brain Health and Wellness, a unique research and care facility that will play a pivotal role in the fight to prevent dementia and be a shining example of what is possible in the realm of brain health and aging.
The Kimel Family Centre for Brain Health and Wellness
Under the direction of Dr. Howard Cherktow, Baycrest’s new Chair in Cognitive Neurology and Innovation, and Senior Scientist at the Rotman Research Institute, this new centre will spearhead the unprecedented convergence of scientific research and evidence-based interventions that will have a measurable impact on the brain health and wellness of older adults in our community, across Canada and worldwide.
The Kimel Family Centre for Brain Health and Wellness builds on nearly 30 years of research leadership in Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute (RRI) to seamlessly integrate brain health workshops, physical fitness, nutrition, sensory and cognitive training, arts programs, and social engagement for older adults. It also will serve as a testing ground and demonstration centre for new technologies supported by the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CABHI), a solution accelerator powered by Baycrest.
The Kimel Family Centre will focus on three areas:
- Community Wellness Programming
- Specialized Wellness Clinics
- Integrated Research to Prevent Cognitive Decline
“The programming we will offer is based on research demonstrating that these activities may be beneficial to everyone,” says Dr. Chertkow, who is also the Scientific Director of Canada’s largest dementia study involving over 400 researchers across the country, the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration on Aging. “The Kimel Family Centre’s one-of-a-kind environment will allow clinicians and researchers to closely track the effectiveness of prevention regimens and bring us closer to answering how we could prevent the onset of dementia and cognitive loss.”
The Baycrest Foundation will be holding a special 100th Anniversary Gala
on October 14, to raise funds in support of the new Centre.
Clinical Trials Unit: Exploring promising dementia treatments
To complement this cutting-edge facility, Baycrest also is developing a formal Clinical Trials Unit to continue providing clients and community members access to groundbreaking drug and non-drug interventions.
“The majority of promising therapies have only shown benefits to mice, but some may work on patients,” says Dr. Chertkow. “In fact, these might also be more effective when administered in combination, and individuals deemed to have a higher risk of developing dementia at the Kimel Family Centre will qualify to participate in trials for combination therapy through our Clinical Trial Unit.”
Some of the upcoming clinical trials researchers, clinicians, and industry partners are planning at Baycrest include:
- Mindfulness meditation training for clients with early cognitive impairment and caregivers for individuals with dementia
- Real-time fall detection and prevention technology for clients with dementia
- Combined brain stimulation with group intervention to boost treatment effects
- Lifestyle interventions to ward off dementia
Baycrest has long set the stage to move forward the latest dementia research, care and innovative solutions, as home to a world renowned research centre, an innovation accelerator for aging and brain health products, a centre for education, long-term care, a retirement home and hospital.
“Scientists, clinicians, and front-line staff work side-by-side, and are united through their vision of a world where every older adult enjoys a life of purpose, inspiration, and fulfillment,” says Dr. Allison Sekuler, Vice-President, Research and the Sandra A. Rotman Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience at Baycrest, and Managing Director of the RRI and CABHI. “Both the Kimel Family Centre and our new Clinical Trials Unit will enhance our collaborative approach, and empower individuals in any and all areas to join Baycrest in our quest to prevent, detect, and treat dementia.”
Now in its 100th year, Baycrest is a global leader in geriatric residential living, healthcare, research, innovation and education, with a special focus on brain health and aging. Fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, Baycrest provides excellent care for older adults combined with an extensive clinical training program for the next generation of healthcare professionals and one of the world’s top research institutes in cognitive neuroscience, the Rotman Research Institute. Baycrest is home to the federally and provincially-funded Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation, a solution accelerator focused on driving innovation in the aging and brain health sector, and is the developer of Cogniciti – a free online memory assessment for Canadians 40+ who are concerned about their memory. Founded in 1918 as the Jewish Home for Aged, Baycrest continues to embrace the long-standing tradition of all great Jewish healthcare institutions to improve the well-being of people in their local communities and around the globe. For more information please visit: www.baycrest.org
About Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute
The Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest is a premier international centre for the study of human brain function. Through generous support from private donors and funding agencies, the institute is helping to illuminate the causes of cognitive decline in seniors, identify promising approaches to treatment, and lifestyle practices that will protect brain health longer in the lifespan.