February 2017
The Neuro News is a monthly newsletter highlighting activities at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital.



Let’s Talk – Thanks to Bell

In January 2017, Bell Let’s Talk announced a donation of $250,000 to The Neuro to fund the development of online mental health resources focused on the needs of multicultural communities.

When it comes to mental health, many in Canada don’t receive proper treatment due to language barriers and/or cultural differences. McGill University and The Neuro extend their heartfelt thanks to Bell Let’s Talk for their investment, which will better educate health professionals and communities on the cultural aspects of mental illness and will also expand the multilingual dimension of our online mental health information platforms.

Read more about this exciting initiative or watch a video.

Learn more about the Bell Let’s Talk campaign.




The Neuro’s Dr. Edward Fon Receives a $1.5 Million Grant for Parkinson's/ALS Research

CQDM and Brain Canada announced the funding of two new multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research projects under the second edition of their Focus on Brain strategic initiative. The partners will award a total of $3 million to two research teams, including one led by The Neuro’s Dr. Edward Fon, to develop cutting-edge tools, technologies and platforms designed to accelerate the discovery of new drugs for brain and nervous system disorders.

Read more!




Dr. Heidi McBride Responds to Questions About an Important Discovery

Read a Q&A with Dr. Heidi McBride, senior author of a paper published in Nature on February 1, 2017.

In their study, a team of researchers from The Neuro, including Dr. McBride (Ayumu Sugiura, Sevan Mattie, Julien Prudent), examined the origins of organelles called peroxisomes. They found that this very important organelle has two origins, which is unique in the field of cellular biology.



HEADS UP Event Generates Public Awareness about Concussions

The HEADS UP on the Concussion event was a great success, thanks to participating athletes, speakers, volunteers, and members of the community who attended. The unique format allowed sports fans to connect with beloved athletes, and provided an excellent opportunity to learn the latest information about concussions. Extensive media coverage helped to generate public awareness about concussions, and the importance of continued research.

To date, the HEADS UP fundraising event raised more $10 thousand. You can still donate to this worthy cause (specify HEADS UP).

Learn more about concussions, watch the lecture in its entirety, watch (Breakfast television) or listen to (CJAD) interviews featuring Dr. Alain Ptito from The Neuro, and Nicolas Boulay, from the Montreal Alouettes. 

Enjoy some of the post-event coverage at RDS, Anthony Calvillo encaisse encore le choc, or in the Montreal Gazette: Heads Up conference at McGill shines a light on sports concussions, Players have to be honest with doctors when it comes to concussions, and Ken Dryden says NHL needs to do more to protect goalies.

Community Connections

Join us for the 2017 Scotiabank Charity Challenge

Help us make a real difference in the lives of people living with devastating neurological diseases and disorders.

Register (step-by-step registration guide) for the 2017 Scotiabank Charity Challenge, which will take place on April 22-23, 2017, at Parc Jean-Drapeau.

Complete a 5K, 10K, or 21K walk/run! Children can participate in the 500 metre dash!

All funds raised will help advance The Neuro’s cutting-edge research programs and life-saving patient care.

We hope to see you at the starting line!

Your Chance to Win a Rolex… and More!

Buy your tickets for the Brain Matters raffle! You will be supporting brain cancer research and treatment, and you could win one of these fantastic prizes:

1st Prize - Rolex Watch ($10 000 value)
2nd Prize - Flight Credit ($3000 value)
3rd Prize - MacBook and Accessories ($2000 value)

Tickets: $30, available by calling Josie* at 514-926-1282

Raffle draw: June 19, 2017

Thank you to you Josie Arcobelli and her family for their commitment to making a difference!

A Benefit Concert for Parkinson Quebec

Join the I Medici di McGill Orchestra for a concert on April 1, 2017, to benefit Parkinson Quebec. The event will launch Parkinson's Awareness Month, and will feature an afternoon of French music by Gabriel Fauré, Georges Bizet, and Ernest Chausson, with violinist Joshua Peters. The concert will be under the direction of Maestro Gilles Auger.

Event Information and Tickets

Saturday, April 1 at 4 p.m.
St-Andrew and St-Paul Church, 3415 Redpath, (Sherbrooke @ Redpath),  Map

Tickets available online, and at the entrance.
Students: $20 / Regular: $60 (tax receipt $30) / VIP: $150 (tax receipt $110)

In Focus

The Arthur and Graida Victor Movement Disorder Endowment Fund

Created in 2002, in memory of Mr. Victor, this fund now commemorates the lives of both Arthur and Graida. The philanthropy of the Victors, their family and friends, and the community, has so far made it possible for 19 exceptional graduate students working in Parkinson’s disease to travel to conferences all over the world in order to share their work and advance our understanding of this debilitating illness. On behalf of everyone who will benefit from the generous support of this Fund - thank you!

For information about making a memorial gift, please contact Giovanna Caraffa at giovanna.caraffa@mcgill.ca, or at 514-398-1958.

For information about including The Neuro in your will, please contact Amanda Fritz at amanda.fritz@mcgill.ca, or at 514-398-2274.

Montreal Cited as the City of Neuroscience

Montreal was cited as the City of Neuroscience in a comprehensive article about Neuroscience in Montreal in Tourisme Montréal’s What’s New in Montreal publication. The Neuro features prominently in this interesting read.

In Memoriam

David Culver, 1924-2017

David Culver, Montreal business leader credited with spearheading the Maison Alcan project, died at his home in Westmount on Monday, February 6, 2017.

Mr. Culver was a longtime advisor and supporter of The Neuro. He served on an Honorary Committee in 2002, which oversaw the Grand Opening of the Brain Tumour Research Centre in the presence of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Québec Vice-Premier Pauline Marois.  He accepted Dr. Colman’s invitation to become a member of the Neuro Advisory Board in 2007, and continued to serve at the invitation of Dr. Rouleau as a member of the Honorary Board. In January 2008, Mr. Culver was pleased to be part of the celebration at Maison Alcan of a $1 million gift from RioTinto Alcan to the Thinking Ahead Campaign in support of our NeuroEngineering Program.

Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences go to out to Mr. Culver’s family, friends, and colleagues.

Read David Culver’s obituary.

Patient Story

In his own words…

Robert D'Intino, former brain aneurysm patient

I was in Florida on vacation on August 6, 2001 when all of a sudden, while driving a car with a friend, I dropped a water bottle out of my left hand.

I stopped the car and pulled over, looked in the rearview mirror and the left side of my face was drooping. Not knowing what was going on, I attempted to get out of the car and I couldn't open the door with my left arm, so I used my right arm and hand to open the car door. I used my right leg to help me out of the car then as I attempted to stand up, I immediately dropped to the ground.

My friend who was in the car with me helped me get into the passenger side. He drove me home, and again, as I tried to get up to go inside I fell to the ground. Laying flat on the ground, he and another friend who was at our place, helped me into the house.

Upon arrival, they called an ambulance and they immediately diagnosed the issue as a "brain aneurysm". I had brain surgery in Florida to remove the blood, but the brain aneurysm was too deep and complex. Luckily, I had the travel insurance, which covered everything. Best $80 I ever spent! They sent a nurse from Montreal to accompany me back home.

The doctors concluded that I needed radiation therapy to shrink or seal the arteriovenous malformation (AVM). They gave me radiation treatment in April 2002.

On June 22, 2002, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, I was at a coffee shop in St. Leonard when all of a sudden I had the WORST headache imaginable, and the slightest sound was causing detrimental pain, and it was unbearable. My parents called the ambulance and they immediately drove me to the Royal Victoria Hospital. They put me on oxygen, performed a scan, and called in Dr. Rolando Del Maestro, at approximately 11 a.m. to operate. They finished operating at about 4 a.m. the next day.

Dr. Del Maestro was an amazing surgeon. He ignited hope. The entire staff was awesome and amazing. Each person I encountered there served a purpose, including Dr. Del Maestro who told me "all would be well in time". Love the man. He is an awesome human being and a FANTASTIC doctor.

Back Track

Dr. Jean Gotman Delivered keynote Address at 70th Annual Meeting of the American Epilepsy Society

In early December 2016, Dr. Jean Gotman delivered the keynote address at the Lennox-Lombroso Lecture, entitled, “EEG, the New Frontier” at the 70th annual meeting of the AES in Houston, Texas. Dr. Gotman is world-renowned for his work designing computer methods for use in the study of epilepsy, and also for pioneering the computer-based long-term EEG and video monitoring of epileptic patients.

The AES Annual Meeting is the largest meeting and exhibition in the world for those who share the common scientific and clinical interests of epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology. The meeting attracts nearly 5,000 attendees dedicated to improving the quality of life for those dealing with epilepsy!

Students and Researchers Learn the Basics of Deep Learning

The McConnell Brain Imaging Center (BIC) hosted a series of Deep Learning workshops organized by Santiago Paiva and Dr. Robert Brown. The first session took place on January 19 and the second session on January 26.  

 Sessions were divided into two halves; theory and practice. Participants were introduced to the basics of Deep Learning during the first theoretical half, and they continued with a hands-on workshop using Google’s TensorFlow.

“Montreal is becoming a major hub for machine learning. We saw an opportunity to share knowledge with other researchers and to start building a community with a passion for deep learning” affirmed research associate, Dr. Robert Brown, who led both sessions.

More than 85 participants - from undergraduate students to principal investigators - including some from The Neuro, participated in the workshops.

Faces of The Neuro


Have you seen the latest #NeuroProfiles on The Neuro’s Facebook page? Learn about the people who make The Neuro a special place, including:


  • Alex DeGuise, Project Administrator, Integrated Program in Neuroscience


Do you want to acknowledge a deserving doctor, clinician, researcher, staff member or student through #NeuroProfiles?  Send us an email!



Fast Facts


Learn More About Open Science at The Neuro

Check out the latest interviews and articles!

Read more!

Focusing in on Vision

February 5 through February 11 was White Cane Week, an important time to raise public awareness of the challenges facing Canadians living with vision loss.

The lab of Chris Pack at The Neuro looks at how the brain processes visual information, and how neurons communicate with each other about the visual world. Their work provides the fundamental understanding of human vision that can lead to future treatments for impaired visual ability.

Learn more!

ALS Clinical trial @ The Neuro is Currently Recruiting Patients

The ALS Clinic at The Neuro is currently recruiting patients for a new ALS clinical trial. For more information, please call Kristiana Salmon at 514 398-1779, or email kristiana.salmon@mcgill.ca.

February is Psychology Month

Psychology Month is celebrated every February to highlight the contributions of Canadian psychology and to teach Canadians how psychology works to help them live healthy and happy lives, help their communities flourish, help their employers create effective workplaces, and help their governments develop good policies. Learn more!

Here’s Something to Like

The Neuro website has more than 6000 “likes”! Like us and stay up-to-date with the latest news from The Neuro!

Brain Facts

This is Your Brain... In Love

With Valentine’s Day still on the mind, read about what love does to your brain!


Stem-cell Therapy May Restore Motor Function after a Stroke or Spinal-cord Injury

Stem-cell therapies have shown great promise in the repair of brain and spinal injuries in animals. But animal models often behave differently from humans and clinical trial results have been mixed. Learn about the latest in this emerging field!

Credit: Greg Iger/Keck Medicine of USC
Kristopher Boesen, who broke his neck in a car accident, regained the ability to
move his arms and hands after his spinal cord was injected with stem cells.


Data Sharing and Mapping the Human Brain

Mapping the human brain down to the micron requires an enormous amount of data. As data sharing becomes increasingly important, learn about the opportunities and challenges ahead in Scientific American.


Credit: Thomas Schulz Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)



Donate NowThe Neuro relies on our loyal community of donors in order to unlock the mysteries behind some of the most devastating neurological diseases and disorders of our time, and to help the patients and families affected by them. Your donation can make all the difference to the future of neurological care. Please give generously!


The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital — The Neuro, is a unique academic medical centre dedicated to neuroscience. Founded in 1934, The Neuro is recognized internationally for integrating research, compassionate patient care and advanced training, all key to advances in science and medicine. The Neuro is a research and teaching institute of McGill University and forms the basis for the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre.  For more information, visit theneuro.ca.


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