Sharing Caregiving Strategies to Address Risky Behaviour Changes in Dementia

Caring for someone with dementia is a long and challenging journey. Over the course of this disorder memory, cognitive function and other abilities deteriorate. Behaviour can also change over time in ways that are completely out of character for that person. For instance, the person with dementia may display aggressive behavior or get angry and act out. This can be very difficult as a caregiver and can lead to many questions. Is this typical? Is there something I can do to change this potentially risky behaviour? Getting these answers to caregivers is important for improving both care and safety in the home.

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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”

Setting the Stage for Deep-Data Analysis and Innovation

“With great power comes great responsibility” – Ben Parker.

Ontario Brain Institute’s (OBI) researchers collect ‘deep data’ using scientific and clinical tools like behavioural tests, neuroimaging and genetics. By bringing these data together in Brain-CODE, we can develop a holistic approach to understanding brain disorders. A recent report, “Dementia Research and Care: Can Big Data Help?”, by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Ontario Brain Institute and the University of Toronto highlighted the potential of linking ‘deep data’ from basic and clinical research to ‘broad data’ from healthcare and population-level statistics to driving new discoveries and applications of research in healthcare and policy.

The question is how can we best link ‘deep’ research data and ‘broad’ health data to drive new discoveries and benefit people in their communities?

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Physical activity protects us from losing brain function

By Shaalee Sone, Outreach Intern, Ontario Brain Institute

As our population ages, Canadians are looking for ways to prevent dementia. As of 2010, there are 136 000 Ontarians living with a confirmed diagnosis of dementia. In addition to the impact on individuals and their families, the direct cost to the Ontario health care system is eight times higher for an individual living with dementia than it is for the average Ontarian. Continue reading “Physical activity protects us from losing brain function”

Joining Global Discussions on Data Sharing

In OBI’s goal to improve brain health, research data are one of the basic building blocks.  Data are assets that hold value because they can be shared, analysed, and reused in different ways to support new discoveries and reduce the loss of resources. One opportunity to reuse data and uncover new insights is the linking of routinely collected population and healthcare data, or ‘broad’ data, with ‘deep’ research data (e.g., imaging, genetics, etc.).  To harness data’s full potential, OBI has developed several initiatives including an informatics platform, an international workshop, and internships to address linking and sharing data in new ways. Continue reading “Joining Global Discussions on Data Sharing”

Alzheimer’s Awareness Month: Influential Discoveries of 2014

By Bryan Jenkins, OBI Intern, Research Programs 

At the end of 2014, many of us – with the help of certain social media websites – were reflecting upon the past year of our lives. It was a big year for neuroscience and brain health, following from our proclaimed ‘Year of the Brain’. In this post for Alzheimer’s Awareness month we will reflect upon some of the most influential discoveries of 2014 related to Alzheimer’s research, and from this assess the current and future state of this ever-progressing field. If you’re interested in learning more about Alzheimer’s disease, tune in to the Facebook chat we are hosting with the Ontario Science Centre from 12:00-1:00 pm on January 20, 2015. Continue reading “Alzheimer’s Awareness Month: Influential Discoveries of 2014”

Addressing Dementia Research And Care: Can ‘Big Data’ Help?

We live in a world of big data which can serve as a particularly useful tool for health systems to gain a better understanding of patients and their needs across large populations. With appropriate use, big data has the potential to advance health research and help healthcare providers personalize care; however, this has been largely unrealized because of the challenges associated with connecting, processing, and analyzing large data sets to produce meaningful conclusions. Continue reading “Addressing Dementia Research And Care: Can ‘Big Data’ Help?”