A Decade Older, A Decade Wiser

Ten years ago, the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) was established with a goal of improving brain health for the 1 in 3 Ontarians directly impacted by brain disorders. As we look back, we’re certain that our formula for collaborative discovery and innovation works and that we are on course to advance brain health. But along the way we’ve learned a lot by testing assumptions, collecting feedback from our stakeholders, and gathering data that will help us chart the course for the next phase. While there are many insights we could share, a few stand out which will help us focus our activities through this funding cycle and the next. And they all revolve around how we work with people, which is when you think about it makes sense for an organization that is focused on building relationships and supporting collaborations.

We have learnt to appreciate that showing direct impact of work on the people and the community is as important as strong performance metrics. We’ve seen that patient engagement improves the quality of research and makes its outputs more meaningful. And lastly, we must listen to the needs of our stakeholders and build systems to help them succeed. Continue reading “A Decade Older, A Decade Wiser”

How to Transform a Promising Idea from the Lab to Life

OBI is working towards creating an inclusive society for neurodiverse people that accommodates a vast range of needs. In the last decade alone, we have seen plenty of promising tech coming out of Ontario’s neurotech cluster. Entrepreneurs and researchers are coming up with creative solutions to directly address barriers that exist for people with brain disorders in becoming active members of society.

Put simply, these advancements in neurotechnology are the result of us getting better at taking a great idea developed in the lab and translating it into a tangible tool that can help people lead fuller lives. Continue reading “How to Transform a Promising Idea from the Lab to Life”

Sleep and its impact on Brain Health

Everyone needs sleep, but its biological purpose remains a mystery. Sleep affects almost every type of tissue and system in the body – from the brain, heart, and lungs to metabolism, immune function, mood, and disease resistance.

Recent findings suggest that sleep plays a housekeeping role that removes toxins in your brain that build up while you are awake. And we know for certain that a chronic lack of sleep, or getting poor quality sleep, increases the risk of disorders including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity.

Sleep has the power to define the course of our day, so why not learn to sleep better? Continue reading “Sleep and its impact on Brain Health”

Why Patient Engagement Matters in Improving Brain Health?

 

1. Lived experience offers valuable insight on what matters

“Being a part of OBI’s Patient Advisory Committee has provided me the opportunity to increase my own knowledge base while being able to share my opinions and thoughts – the ability to contribute a broader personal perspective, based on my lived experience and professional experience towards research projects” says Shelly LaForest. Shelly is a parent of three – two of whom have epilepsy, a practicing Registered Nurse at The Hospital for Sick Children and a member of OBI’s Data Access Committee and Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for EpLink. Continue reading “Why Patient Engagement Matters in Improving Brain Health?”

Care in the Digital Age

The shift from traditional in-person activities to the digital space brought on by the pandemic has been challenging, but this change gave us a new perspective on how we do our work. Simply by moving online, we’ve been able to reduce barriers to access and reach more people than ever before. Change doesn’t come easily, but despite the challenges we’ve faced along the way, we are poised to steer the future of brain health into the digital space by investing our energy and resources in the right places.

OBI is committed to supporting activities that either generate the evidence to improve care or lead to the development of products and services that improve health outcomes. We’re striving to improve the lives of people with brain disorders and moving to digital or virtual approaches makes it easier to reach the 1 in 3 Ontarians in the comfort of their homes. Over the last year, we’ve supported major efforts to address mental health challenges, better the delivery and experience of virtual care, and create new tools that can be used at home. Continue reading “Care in the Digital Age”

The Potential of Data Sharing: What Data Means for your Brain Health

“As the world has grappled with a global pandemic, we have faced much uncertainty and many challenges in our society and our economy. In dealing with these issues, however, we have also been presented with an opportunity – the chance to rethink outdated conventions and renew the way we do business as we rebuild our society,” Dr. Mona Nemer, Chief Science Advisor of Canada, spoke on how COVID-19 may serve as a catalyst for change in how we approach research.

It’s no surprise that in the aftermath of the pandemic, the calls for collaboration and open science have grown louder across the science and research community. Brain-CODE, OBI’s neuroinformatics platform is a strong example of how we can share data on a global scale, leading to improved care, while also protecting privacy and upholding consent. Continue reading “The Potential of Data Sharing: What Data Means for your Brain Health”

Four misconceptions around depression

“These are truly extraordinary times. We know that when people are experiencing something new and unfamiliar to them, it can cause many people to also experience stress and anxiety among other mental health challenges,” remarked the Hon. Michael Tibollo, Associate minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “These stressors become a lot for a person to manage on their own – even with the support of their family and friends.”

As Tibollo rightly pointed out, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the concerns around brain health, making it more important than ever for mental health and wellness to be discussed more broadly. This offers people an opportunity to speak and share without fear of stigma and make use of tools and supports readily available to make informed decisions about their overall health in partnership with health care providers.

Here are four misconceptions experts would like to clarify, for you to better understand depression. Continue reading “Four misconceptions around depression”