A Holistic Way to Think About Our Health and Reframe Disability

No one likes to be defined by an illness, disorder or disability – even when we are a patient. Our ‘health’ is not only based on our biology, but also by our relationships with friends and family and our ability to do the things we enjoy. Researchers Drs. Peter Rosenbaum and Jan-Willem Gorter from our cerebral palsy research program (CP-NET) wrote a concept paper[1] explaining how holistic thinking towards health can create a better framework to approach childhood disability. This framework helps to identify the ability and potential in persons with disabilities like cerebral palsy so people can work with them the same way we should with anyone else.

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Connecting Research Back to the Community

Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) believes connecting its research programs with patients and their advocates is critical to having relevant and high impact programs.

OBI has worked with each of its Integrated Discovery Programs (ID) to form five separate Patient Advisory Committees (PACs) that consist of advisors from various neurological health charities (e.g., Alzheimer Society of Ontario or Autism Ontario), researchers, caregivers, and patients. The purpose of these committees is to bring the patient voice to our ID Programs, promote knowledge exchange between patients, advocates, caregivers and researchers, discuss key issues for patients, and connect the research back to their communities faster. Continue reading “Connecting Research Back to the Community”

Grooming Entrepreneurial Talent for Great Health Returns

Ontario has one of the highest concentrations of neuroscientists in the world, creating an opportunity for a thriving industry around the development of neurotechnologies to treat brain disorders. However, a study of Ontario’s ability to develop a neurotechnology cluster highlighted two obstacles; a lack of access to capital and insufficient managerial talent. Continue reading “Grooming Entrepreneurial Talent for Great Health Returns”

Enhancing the Neuroscience Research System through Strategic Collaborations

Brain disorders affect one in three Ontarians and the direct cost to the province exceeds $4 billion each year. The indirect costs from work missed and the emotional costs for families are incalculable and create an urgency to address brain health by means of innovation and translational research that can improve the quality of life for people living with brain disorders. Continue reading “Enhancing the Neuroscience Research System through Strategic Collaborations”

Another side of cerebral palsy: the genetic story

Photo credit: Veronica Rousseau

By: Shaalee Sone, Outreach Intern, Ontario Brain Institute

In the age of genomics we are racing to uncover what our genes say about us. If we had the ability to read our genetic code and learn what’s in store, we could play to our strengths and prepare for our limitations.

One obstacle to deciphering the information in our genes is knowing what patterns to look for in specific genes. For some disorders, like Huntington’s disease, clinicians know exactly what gene to look at and how to read the signs. Other diseases, like cancer, are too diverse to find a single gene pattern; instead, we subdivide cancer into sets and look for gene patterns in each set.

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Research Updates

OBI’s Integrated Discovery Programs bring together over 200 core researchers and clinicians, 35 institutions, 40 companies, and 20 patient advocacy groups from across Ontario.

Read about their latest news and progress in the updates that they have provided. Continue reading “Research Updates”

Hitting A Bullseye Using Biomarkers

By: Martin Smith, OBI Intern, Outreach

The brain is complicated.  After a century of research we are still making new discoveries every day.  Our knowledge of how this organ works is limited because it is a network of highly-specialized cells and the network is always being rewired. Continue reading “Hitting A Bullseye Using Biomarkers”