Blake Richards wins the 2019 CAN Young Investigator AwardCAN ConnectionRoyal Society of Canadaimpact of neurological disorders in Canada

 

Neuroscience news

Call for nominations for the 2020 Brain Prize now open

The world’s largest brain research prize is Danish and is awarded by the Lundbeck Foundation. Each year, the Lundbeck Foundation awards 10 million DKK (approx. 1,3 million €) to one or more brain researchers who have had a ground-breaking impact on brain research. The prize and associated activities are at the very forefront of the Lundbeck Foundation’s ambitions to make Denmark the world’s leading brain research nation. The Brain Prize is an international prize and can be awarded to researchers from all over the world.

The GPS of neurons now better understood with an IRCM study published in Neuron

Frédéric Charron

Frédéric Charron

Our nerves consist of small cables responsible for circulating information to every part of our body, allowing us, for instance, to move. These cables are actually cells called neurons with long extensions named axons.

Frédéric Charron, a researcher at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM) and a molecular biology professor at Université de Montréal, and his team have recently shed light on a system that tells our neurons how to build the delicate circuits of our nervous system. The discovery by this group of researchers, all from the IRCM, appeared in the prestigious journal Neuron. This work may one day contribute to the development of treatments for people with a spinal cord injury or a genetic disorder affecting their motor function.

How a small worm helped unravel a big mystery in rare disease – SickKids researchers discover the important role of zinc in CCM disease

Brent Derry

Brent Derry

Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM) is a rare disease that causes anomalies in tiny capillaries that transport blood throughout the brain. The disease manifests as irregularities that resemble raspberries, most often in the brain, that can lead to hemorrhage, stroke and seizures in afflicted individuals. The disease involves defects in one of three CCM genes (CCM1, CCM2, or CCM3) and affects nearly one in six thousand people. Currently, there is no clinically approved therapy to treat this disease; patients rely on invasive brain surgery for treatment, but some extreme forms cannot be treated surgically.

Discovery of mutations in ACTL6B gene offers insight into brain development

Carl Ernst

Carl Ernst

Québec siblings with rare orphan disease lead to discovery of rare genetic diseases

Mutations in a gene involved in brain development have led to the discovery of two new neurodevelopmental diseases by an international team led by researchers at McGill University and CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center.

The first clues about the rare disorder arose after doctors were unable to diagnose why two siblings from Québec City were experiencing seizures and neurodevelopmental deficits. Desperate, the children’s family turned to Carl Ernst at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montreal for answers.

Canadian Artificial Intelligence pioneers win the 2019 Turing Award

Congratulations to Geoffrey Hinton (University of Toronto), Joshua Bengio (Université de Montréal) and Yann LeCun (Boston University) who have won the 2019 Turing award for their work to understand neural networks using artificial intelligence and deep learning.   The Turing Award is an annual prize given by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) to an individual selected for contributions “of lasting and major technical importance to the computer field”.  The award is accompanied by a $1 million USD prize, to be shared by the three winners.

Read more on the Association for Computing Machinery website

Fathers of the Deep Learning Revolution Receive ACM A.M. Turing Award
Bengio, Hinton and LeCun Ushered in Major Breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence

Geoffrey Hinton will be present at the CAN meeting on May 21, 2019, where he will present the CAN annual public lecture, which will be hosted by Blake Richards, from the University of Toronto. More here.

New molecules reverse memory loss linked to depression, aging

Etienne Sibille

Etienne Sibille

New therapeutic molecules developed at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) show promise in reversing the memory loss linked to depression and aging.

These molecules not only rapidly improve symptoms, but remarkably, also appear to renew the underlying brain impairments causing memory loss in preclinical models. These findings were presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Washington DC.

“Currently there are no medications to treat cognitive symptoms such as memory loss that occur in depression, other mental illnesses and aging,” says Dr. Etienne Sibille, Deputy Director of the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute at CAMH and lead scientist on the study.

Congratulations to Brain Prize winners Marie-Germaine Bousser, Hugues Chabriat, Anne Joutel and Elisabeth Tournier-Lasserve

Brain Prize winnersThe Brain Prize 2019: French neuroscientists honoured for outstanding research into small vessel strokes in the brain

Aiming for treatment they have spent more than 30 years describing, understanding and diagnosing the most common hereditary form of stroke, CADASIL. For this, the four French neuroscientists are now receiving the world’s most valuable prize for brain research – the Lundbeck Foundation Brain Prize, worth 1 million euros.

A new experimental therapy for ALS and fronto-temporal dementia

Jean-Pierre Julien’s team recently published an article in the high impact journal, the Journal of Clinical Investigations, about a new experimental therapy for ALS and frontotemporal dementia based on the use of antibodies that target the abnormal accumulation of a protein called TDP-43 in degenerating neurons. The formation of TDP-43 aggregates is associated with ALS development.

Spinal cords contribute to complex hand function

Andrew Pruszynski

We often think of our brains as the centre of complex motor function and control, but how ‘smart’ is your spinal cord? Turns out, it is smarter than we think.

Circuits which travel down the length of our spine control things like the pain reflex in humans and some motor-control functions in animals. Now, new research from Western has shown that the spinal cord is also able to process and control more complex functions, like the positioning of your hand in external space.