Concussions loosen insulation around brain cells

Alex Rauscher
Alex Rauscher

Researchers say the findings provide a convincing reason to keep concussed athletes on the bench even if they no longer exhibit any symptoms.

Detailed scans of concussed University of British Columbia hockey players found that the protective fatty tissue surrounding brain cell fibres was loosened two weeks after the injury—even though the athletes felt fine and were deemed ready to return to the ice. Continue reading

The link between obesity, the brain, and genetics

Alain Dagher
Dr. Alain Dagher

When it comes to weight gain, the problem may be mostly in our heads, and our genes

Clinicians should consider how the way we think can make us vulnerable to obesity, and how obesity is genetically intertwined with brain structure and mental performance, according to new research.

The study, led by researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro) and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Aug. 28, 2018, was an examination of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and cognitive test data from 1,200 individuals, supplied as part of the Human Connectome Project. Continue reading

Congratulations to newly elected fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, and to the incoming class of the college of new scientists

The Royal Society of Canada has recently announced new Fellows in the Academies of Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, and Science.  They have been elected by their peers for their outstanding scholarly, scientific and artistic achievement. Recognition by the RSC is the highest honour an individual can achieve in the Arts, Social Sciences and Sciences.

The RSC also welcomed new Members of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, that include top mid-career leaders in Canada. The College provides the RSC with a multigenerational capacity to help Canada and the world address major challenges and seize new opportunities including those identified in emerging fields. Continue reading

Genetic model offers elegant tool for testing Parkinson’s disease therapies

Matthew Farrer
Matthew Farrer

For the past decade, Parkinson’s disease researchers have relied on the experimental equivalent of using a sledgehammer to tune a guitar to test new therapies for the disease. This may be a reason clinical trials of promising neuroprotective drugs fail. But, in new research published today in Nature Parkinson’s Disease, researchers at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health (DMCBH) may have found the ideal tool for the job.

“We believe we’ve found an approach that is most relevant to humans, in that our models of gene dysfunction mimic the etiology of Parkinson’s disease rather than its pathology— meaning its beginning rather than its end,” says Dr. Matthew Farrer, the study’s lead investigator and a researcher at the Centre for Applied Neurogenetics at DMCBH. “This means we’re looking at the disease before it becomes symptomatic, before it begins affecting an individual’s motor skills or cognition.” Continue reading

Scientist denied visas to attend next SfN meeting

Individual members of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience (CAN) have alerted us to the fact that a number of scientists across Canada are being denied visas to enter the United States to attend the next annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego. Many are students and postdoctoral fellows who have left their home countries to dedicate their energy and talents to research into devastating brain and mental health conditions that afflict millions worldwide. CAN takes the position that the exchange of ideas cannot be limited by political boundaries. To do so severely compromises the ability of the scientific enterprise to develop new ideas and advance humanity. Scientists must have the ability to travel freely to discuss their work and interact with colleagues across the globe. Continue reading

The power of multidisciplinary collaboration: A sculptor’s exploration of the brain

Read about a multidisciplinary collaboration between neuroscientists and artists, developed through The Convergence Initiative. Founded in 2016 by neuroscientist and graphic designer Dr. Cristian Zaelzer, the Convergence – Perceptions of Neuroscience initiative is a partnership with the Brain Repair and Integrative Neuroscience Program (BRaIN) of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), the Faculty of Fine Arts of Concordia University (FoFA), and the Canadian Association for Neuroscience (CAN/ACN). This partnership has been continuously supported by the RI-MUHC, the Montreal General Hospital Foundation, McGill University Integrative Program in Neurosciences (IPN), and the Visual Voice Gallery.

Dr. Keith Murai, BRaIN program director, thinks the science vs. humanities dichotomy is a false one. Continue reading

Huai-Ying Huang of London, Ontario, Canada wins third place in the 2018 International Brain Bee Championship

Huai-Ying Huang
Huai-Ying Huang

Congratulations to 17 year-old Huai-Ying Huang of Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School in London, Ontario, Canada, on winning third place in the 2018 International Brain Bee Championship in Berlin, held July 7-11, 2018! .

Huai-Ying Huang loves playing the piano and oboe, and is starting at McGill University to pursue her dream of becoming a neurologist or a neurosurgeon, not only because she has passion for neuroscience, but because she wants to be able to help people affected by neurological disorders. Continue reading