November 16, 2022
Toronto, ON – November 16, 2022
– Baycrest is pleased to announce that Dr. Jed Meltzer has been named the Canada Research Chair in Interventional Cognitive Neuroscience for a second consecutive term. A senior scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute (RRI), Dr. Meltzer is a trailblazer in the use of individualized brain stimulation to treat symptoms of brain disorders such as dementia and stroke.
While there is currently no cure for dementia, its symptoms can be treated to help improve quality of life for those living with the condition. Among the most promising symptomatic treatments is brain stimulation, which involves passing a mild current of electricity through the brain while the patient is awake.
During his second term as a Canada Research Chair, Dr. Meltzer and his team will continue their innovative use of behavioural studies and brain imagining technology, such as using magnetoencephalography (MEG) to test the effectiveness of brain stimulation treatments for neurological disorders and to better understand the brain.
“With my research, I aim to help optimize the treatment of different brain disorders, such as stroke and dementia, for people living with these disorders in Canada and around the world,” says Dr. Meltzer.
As part of his research program, Dr. Meltzer and his team are interested in the brain’s processing speed, and whether it can be improved. With age, adults become slower at naming pictures correctly – for example, seeing a picture of a toothbrush and identifying it as “toothbrush.” In an ongoing study, the research team is training study participants aged 18 to 90 to name images faster. The researchers are also using brain imaging techniques to determine whether increases in naming speed are reflected in changes in the brain’s cells. This research could ultimately help improve treatments for individuals living with language disorders such as aphasia, which can have serious, negative impacts on numerous aspects of daily life.
Dr. Meltzer will also study how the two sides of the brain, or hemispheres, cooperate or compete with each other.
“The two brain hemispheres seem to have a natural competition to keep each other balanced,” says Dr. Meltzer. “Our theory is that in certain asymmetrical neurological disorders, like stroke and some cases of dementia, the damaged side of the brain is too inhibited by the healthy side. If we could prevent that with targeted brain stimulation, we might improve an individual’s quality of life.”
Another portion of Dr. Meltzer’s research focuses on the practical application of language technology.
For example, he has investigated the use of language-learning apps for post-stroke speech disorders, as well as for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease using speech samples, the cognitive benefits of learning a second language via a smartphone app, and the revitalization of endangered languages through the development of neuroscience-based learning materials.
“We are thrilled that the Canada Research Chair program has once again recognized Dr. Meltzer’s work to advance the treatment of neurological disorders,” says Dr. Allison Sekuler, President and Chief Scientist of the Baycrest Academy for Research and Education, and the Sandra A. Rotman Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience at the RRI. “In line with our vision of predictive neuroscience for precision aging, his research will help improve the lives of older adults everywhere.”
Baycrest is a global leader in research, innovation, education and care for older adults, with a special focus on brain health and aging. Baycrest is home to a robust research and innovation network, including one of the world’s top research institutes in cognitive neuroscience, the Rotman Research Institute; the scientific headquarters of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging, Canada’s largest national dementia research initiative; and the Baycrest-powered Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation, a solution accelerator focused on driving innovation in the aging and brain health sector. Baycrest helps aging adults assess, monitor, maintain and enhance cognition through an innovative portfolio of evidence-based products and services offered through its brain health company, Cogniciti.
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. Through these initiatives, Baycrest has remained at the forefront of the fight to defeat dementia as the organization works to help individuals fear no age and create a world where every older adult enjoys a life of purpose, inspiration and fulfilment. Founded in 1918 as the Toronto Jewish Old Folks Home, 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 about Baycrest, visit baycrest.org.
About Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute
The Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest is a preeminent international centre for the study of aging and human brain function. Through generous support from private donors and funding agencies, the RRI advances our understanding of human brain structure and function in critical areas of clinical, cognitive, and computational neuroscience, including perception, memory, language, attention and decision making. With a primary focus on aging and brain health, including Alzheimer’s and related dementias, research at the RRI and across the Baycrest campus promotes effective care and improved quality of life for older adults through research into age- and disease-related behavioural and neural changes.