CAN holds its first in-person Hill Day in Ottawa November 3, 2022

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience held its first in-person Parliament Hill Day on November 3, 2022 in Ottawa. It was an opportunity for our team of neuroadvocates to meet face to face or virtually with members of Parliament, Senators, Parliamentary staff members and important senior civil servants to advocate for a increased support for CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC, graduate scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and to make research on Brain and Mental Health a national priority. Continue reading

Saving more stroke patients

Man with heavy headache or brain stroke - conceptual artwork - 3d illustration - Gray scale Image

Approximately 20,000 Quebecers suffer a cerebrovascular accident every year. Nearly 90% are caused by a blood clot that blocks the brain’s blood vessels and, by the same token, its supply of oxygen and nutrients. Deprived of oxygen, some 1.9 million nerve cells die every minute following a stroke.

While no treatment can restore brain function, there is a therapeutic approach that helps limit the damage. It involves injecting a thrombolytic agent that dissolves the clot and restores blood flow. It must be administered within 4.5 hours of the stroke, after which the risk of bleeding increases. But according to the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec, 66% of stroke victims don’t arrive at the hospital in time to benefit from the medication. The result: close to 3,000 deaths annually and 130,000 people living with physical and psychological effects. Continue reading

Read CAN Connection – Fall 2022

Catch up with CAN in our latest newsletter, CAN connection – Fall 2022

Table of content

UofT news: Canada must boost support of science and tech: President Meric Gertler and Alan Bernstein in the Globe and Mail

Meric Gertler and Alan Bernstein

Canada must step up its support of R&D in science and technology if the country’s innovation economy is to remain competitive globally.

That was the key message of a Globe and Mail op-ed by University of Toronto President Meric Gertler and Alan Bernstein, president and CEO of CIFAR (Canadian Institute for Advanced Research), who noted substantial recent investments by the U.S. government in the country’s AI, robotics, clean electricity and green energy sectors.

“The U.S. initiatives demand a commensurate response from Canada both in size and breadth. Otherwise, our economic performance will continue to lag behind other advanced economies,” Bernstein and President Gertler warn in the op-ed published Sept. 5. Continue reading

Exoskeleton robot helps researchers shed new light on learning and stroke recovery

UCalgary clinical trial maps how we learn motor skills, and the results could be a game-changer for stroke rehabilitation.

This morning, you probably reached out of bed to turn off your alarm clock, and later brushed your teeth or buttoned a shirt. Those movements are routine; mundane, even. You are long past the point of wondering how you learned to do any of those things and don’t give a second thought to the complexity of what happened in your brain so that your arm could lift your cup of coffee. Continue reading

Discovery reveals blocking inflammation may lead to chronic pain

back pain

Findings may lead to reconsideration of how we treat acute pain

Using anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids to relieve pain could increase the chances of developing chronic pain, according to researchers from McGill University and colleagues in Italy. Their research puts into question conventional practices used to alleviate pain. Normal recovery from a painful injury involves inflammation and blocking that inflammation with drugs could lead to harder-to-treat pain.

“For many decades it’s been standard medical practice to treat pain with anti-inflammatory drugs. But we found that this short-term fix could lead to longer-term problems,” says Jeffrey Mogil, a Professor in the Department of Psychology at McGill University and E. P. Taylor Chair in Pain Studies.

The difference between people who get better and don’t

In the study published in Science Translational Medicine, the researchers examined the mechanisms of pain in both humans and mice. They found that neutrophils – a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight infection – play a key role in resolving pain.

“In analyzing the genes of people suffering from lower back pain, we observed active changes in genes over time in people whose pain went away. Changes in the blood cells and their activity seemed to be the most important factor, especially in cells called neutrophils,” says Luda Diatchenko a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Dentistry, and Canada Excellence Research Chair in Human Pain Genetics.

Read the full story on the McGill University website

Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 CAN- CIHR-INMHA Brain Star Awards!

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience (CAN) and the Canadian Institutes of Health’s Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (CIHR-INMHA) are proud to announce the winners of the 2021 Brain Star Awards.

The CIHR-INMHA Brain Star awards, administered for 2021 by the Canadian Association for Neuroscience, are awarded to students and trainees who have published high impact discoveries in all fields and disciplines covered by CIHR’s Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction in the 2021 calendar year.

The top 3 Brain Star Award winners of the year have been invited to make a presentation at the CAN meeting in May.

Read about the Brain Star Award winners of 2021

Promising new treatment for ALS goes to clinical trials

Physiotherapist assisting a patient with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

After 12 years of research, Dr. Richard Robitaille is hopeful that we’ll soon have a treatment to help people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) regain mobility.

A new clinical trial is set to start soon, thanks to a $1-million grant from the American ALS Association announced just before Christmas. “I’m still in shock! For me, this grant is recognition of years of hard work,” said Robitaille, a full professor in the Department of Neurosciences in the University of Montreal’s Faculty of Medicine. “Now we will be able to run clinical trials on patients with ALS and ultimately use what we learn to help others suffering from the disease.”

Read the full story on the Université de Montréal website