Neurological/Nerve Disorders

Shared decision-making at the end of life: Including the voices of people with dementia


Recent debates about palliative end-of-life (EOL) care and legalized assisted dying have stimulated new questions about EOL care for those living with dementia. However, when discussing preferences for EOL care, individuals with dementia are often excluded from the decision-making process, leaving decision making to family members and/or care providers. 

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Tissue engineered human cerebral blood vessels: A platform for lipoprotein studies on cerebrovasculature health

With every heartbeat, one quarter of all the blood in the body flows through the brain. This activity is essential for the health of neurons in the brain throughout life.

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Year: 
2017
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Genetic etiology of progressive multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common cause of neurological disability in young adults, other than trauma, with over two million people affected worldwide. Approximately 100,000 Canadians have MS, a rate that is nine times higher than the global average. MS symptoms vary widely and may affect vision, hearing, cognition, balance, and movement; negatively affecting many aspects of quality of life. To date, there is no cure or prevention for MS.

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Year: 
2017

Genetic dissection of neuronal pattern formation

Neurological diseases and disorders have been estimated to affect 3.6 million Canadians living in the community and over 170,000 Canadians living in long-term care facilities, including in British Columbia. However, we have limited information about the molecular mechanisms that cause many of those neurological conditions, largely because of the complexity of our nervous system. Therefore, understanding the mechanical processes that impart precise neural circuit formation using a simple model organism is critical to try to find ways to prevent neurological diseases and cure patients.

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2017
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Breaking the link between obstructive sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease using a translational experimental approach

Previous research by Dr. Foster has illustrated that angiotensin receptor blockade can abolish the blood pressure response to intermittent hypoxia (IH), reduce oxidative stress and increase nitric oxide bioavailability. In addition, recent work suggests heightened peripheral neurovascular transduction in response to baroreflex activation.

Primary Investigator: 
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2017

Assessment of melanotransferrin as an Alzheimer's disease biomarker

Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research/The Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award

Primary Investigator: 
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2015

Ion channels: Molecular determinants of health and disease in the head and heart

Though vastly different, both the brain and the heart rely on large complicated proteins called ion channels in order to function properly. These proteins facilitate the controlled flow of ions in and out of cells by forming pores that stud cellular membranes. Specialized brain cells called neurons utilize ion channels and the electrical signals they generate to communicate with one another. A repertoire of different ion channels also shapes the birth, growth and development of neurons. During brain injury, ion channel activity can render populations of neurons vulnerable to damage.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2014

Unique contributors to caregiver well-being across neurodegenerative diseases that present with dementia

Five million new cases of dementia are diagnosed every year worldwide. These diagnoses disrupt home environment patterns and relationships and cause  repercussions on families. Accordingly, dementia caregivers experience higher stress than other groups and face diverse care demands. Existing literature suggests dementia presentation may impart different caregiver challenges: cognition in Alzheimer’s disease (AD); delusions in Dementia with Lewy Body (DLB); and neuropsychiatry in Parkinson’s disease associated dementia (PDD).

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2013

Structural and functional correlates of neuroplastic change associated with stroke

In Canada, stroke is the third leading cause of neurological disease and death. Although improved acute care has resulted in greater survival rates, an increased number of Canadians suffer long-term neurological disability and a decreased quality of life following a stroke. With an aging Canadian population, the need for efficient and effective diagnostic tools and rehabilitation strategies are critical so that stroke survivors can maintain independence and a high quality of life.

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Year: 
2013

New indications for old drugs: Do statins, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or proton pump inhibitors impact long-term disease progression in multiple sclerosis?

The most widely prescribed drugs for multiple sclerosis (beta interferons) have been shown to be only partially effective while carrying high costs and adverse side-effects. However, statins, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which are effective against lipids, blood pressure, and acid, respectively, are safe, relatively inexpensive, and also have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating properties that may be beneficial in the treatment of MS.

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2013
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New chemical tools to diagnose and treat disease

Medical advances have played a fundamental role in dramatically increasing life expectancy in Canada and around the world. This has created challenges for the health-care system as a number of diseases exhibit increased incidence with age. Two examples include Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and cancer; cancer is now the leading cause of death in Canada. Continued research into the causes and progression of the disease is sure to provide advances in our ability to treat and eventually prevent the disease, with great benefit to our society and economy. The overall goal of Dr.

Primary Investigator: 
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Year: 
2012

Survival and Cause of Death in the British Columbian Multiple Sclerosis Population

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a relatively common neurological disease. Because of its chronic nature and because it typically first appears in people in their mid 20s to 30s, people with MS are usually expected to live for many years following disease onset. Little is known about survival expectations, predictors of long-term survival, how survival is influenced by MS drug therapies, and causes of death in this population. Ever since immunomodulatory therapies first became available to Canadian MS patients in the mid 1990s, there has been a rapid uptake of these drugs.

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Year: 
2011

Investigating the structure and function of the PIKK family of protein kinase

Many major chronic diseases, including cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders, are caused by perturbations in the internal communication network of the cells within the body. Signaling molecules, which are an important part of the intracellular communication network, coordinate different processes by relaying signals to switch on or off the proper sets of cellular machineries at the appropriate time. By understanding how these signaling molecules work, scientists hope to understand the molecular basis of different diseases and how to treat and prevent these diseases.

Primary Investigator: 
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Year: 
2011

Mitigation of hippocampal dysfunction and cognitive deficits in early-symptomatic YAC128 transgenic mice for Huntington's disease

Huntington's disease is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder affecting between three and 10 individuals per 100,000 in the Western world. It is caused by a mutation in the huntingtin gene, which results in the accumulation of mutated huntingtin protein in the brain and the eventual degeneration of certain types of brain cells. The disease is primarily characterized by the onset of motor deficits; this develops when the striatum region deep within the brain begins to degenerate.

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Year: 
2011
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