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




Join us for a Unique Tour of The Neuro as Part of the ACFAS Congress

As part of the 85th ACFAS (L’Association francophone pour le savoir) Congress, which will be held at McGill University, The Neuro is hosting, À la découverte de la matière grise, on Thursday, May 11, 2017. Join us for this unique FREE public tour of The Neuro (unilingual French)!

À la découverte de la matière grise
Une activité Science-moi! Plongez dans l'univers des chercheurs naviguant à travers les mystères du cerveau humain en participant à des visites interactives et ludiques.

Jeudi 11 mai 2017 / De 17 h à 19 h / Institut et hôpital neurologiques de Montréal (3801, rue University)

Learn more.  Visit the event Facebook page. Register!

Open Science in the News

The concept behind open science is making more headlines as it becomes an increasingly cited solution to complexities in healthcare. This interview (French audio) provides some insight into this culture change. You can also read more about Open Science at The Neuro in this University Affairs article and in The Guardian.

Dr. Richard Stallman to Speak at McGill

On May 12, 2017, president and founder of the Free Software Foundation, Dr. Richard Stallman, will speak at McGill! To attend this FREE event entitled Freeing Science - From Software to Medicine, which will also feature talks by Dr. Aled Edwards, Director and CEO, Structural Genomics Consortium, and Dr. Guy Rouleau, Director of the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, register here.


Deep Learning Transforming Neuroscience Research

As detailed in an article published in Nature, researchers, including principal investigators from the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre (BIC), used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to predict the development of autism in babies. This was an application of “deep learning”, a form of artificial intelligence that will increasingly put computers in the driver’s seat of medical diagnosis and neuroscience research. Learn more.

Improving Memory with Magnets: Discovery Expands our Understanding of how we Remember Sound

As described here, the ability to remember sounds, and manipulate them in our minds, is incredibly important to our daily lives — without it, we would not be able to understand a sentence, or do simple arithmetic. New research is shedding light on how sound memory works in the brain, and is even demonstrating a means to improve it. Results of the study were published in Neuron. Watch a video about the study.

Seven Wonders of Science

Excerpt from the Globe and Mail on March 28, entitled, Seven wonders of science:

Dr. Antoine Hakim has been awarded the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for his lifelong work dedicated to showing that the stroke is treatable, preventable, and repairable. He found that, if an individual suffers an ischemic stroke, that part of the brain could resume function if the blood flow is restored.  “It’s as if the region of the brain doesn’t die; it just holds its breath waiting for help,” he says. Hakim did his residency at the Montreal Neurological Institute and it was there that he narrowed his research to strokes.

Community Connections

The Neuro's Faculty and Staff Show their Pride During McGill24

The Neuro’s Faculty and Staff not only give their time, patience, and expertise for the community's benefit each and every day, together, they have also raised more than $1M for The Neuro's essential programs and services since the Putting Our Heads Together staff campaign began in 2006! This proud tradition continued this year in partnership with McGill24 - a one-day digital fundraising effort held on March 15, 2017. Not even the worst snowstorm of the year could keep Neuro staff from raising $7,500!

Learn more here!

#McGill24 #NeuroProud #PuttingOurHeadsTogether

The Neuro Raises More than $30,000 at the Scotia Bank Charity Challenge

Congratulations to all participants of the annual Scotia Bank Charity Challenge! A heartfelt thank you to supporters of The Neuro, who raised more than $30,000 at the event on the weekend of April 22-23, 2017.

Even though the race is over, it’s not too late to support The Neuro in the challenge. Make a donation by visiting our fundraising page!

Students from Lower Canada College Raise $425 for The Neuro

Thank you to grade 11 students from Lower Canada College who raised $425 for The Neuro through their performance of the play, the Audition.

Cook for a Cure Raises Funds for Alzheimer's Research

Three (3) EMSB schools (Nesbitt Elementary, Gerald Elementary, and Rosemount High School) created an intergenerational recipe book that was launched at the COOK FOR A CURE evening in support of Alzheimer’s research at The Neuro. This project was designed to engage students in writing, photography, and other activities as they research their family’s history. A family recipe will also be shared and featured in the Happiness is Homemade cookbook. 

The official book launch took place at the Cook. Share. Become Aware. evening on Tuesday, April 25 at the Leonardo Da Vinci Centre. Attendees were treated to a performance by comedian Joe Cacchione, and to wonderful stories of inspiration by students.

The Gala

On Tuesday May 9, at the Cook for a Cure Gala, select students will be asked to recreate their signature dish for a formal tasting and judging by celebrity chefs at Plaza Antique (6086 Rue Sherbrooke Est, Montréal, H1N 1C1) at 6 p.m. Tickets are $30. Click here for additional event information.

Over the past two years, the Cook for a Cure Gala has raised $26,700 for Alzheimer’s research. Please support this inspiring event to raise much needed funds for this important cause. If you cannot attend the event, please consider a donation to Alzheimer’s research.

Have You Purchased Your Brain Matters Raffle Ticket Yet?

Support brain cancer research with the purchase of a Brain Matters raffle ticket! You could win one of these fantastic prizes:

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

Tickets: $30, available through Josie at 514-926-1282

Raffle draw: June 19, 2017

Thanks to Josie Arcobelli and her family for this initiative!

Good luck!


In Focus

A Retrospective Featuring The Neuro’s Cutting-Edge Contributions to Neuroscience

Some of the several cutting-edge contributions to neuroscience during The Neuro’s illustrious history are detailed in a fascinating article in Le Devoir.

April was Parkinson’s Awareness Month – A Look at the Latest Parkinson’s News and Information from The Neuro

  • Watch: Parkinson’s Care and research at The Neuro
  • Read: Multidisciplinary Care and Cutting-edge Research Share Space at The Neuro
  • Learn: An Introductory Guide to Parkinson’s Disease, which includes helpful information for patients and their friends/families.

And more…

Getting Parkin Going Again - A Q&A with Matthew Tang

In a paper published in Nature Communications, researchers Matthew Y. Tang, Marta Vranas, Andrea I. Krahn, Shayal Pundlik, Jean-François Trempe and Edward A. Fon, uncover more about the function of Parkin, a protein that, when dysfunctional, contributes to the development of Parkinson’s Disease.

Tang spoke about what this discovery means for future research into Parkinson's disease. Read all about it!

A Benefit Concert for Parkinson Quebec

On April 1, 2017, I Medici di McGill Orchestra performed a concert at St-Andrew and St-Paul Church to raise funds for Parkinson Quebec and raise awareness for Parkinson’s Disease.

Patient Story

In Her Own Words…

Andrea Lavoie

“I was athletic and living in perfect health, when the sudden onslaught of extreme back pain forced me off work. Investigative tests revealed a tumor in my spinal column and breast cancer. It was the most frightening time of my life.”

Read Andrea’s story. Do you have patient story to share? Please submit it to us.

Congratulations to...

Our dedicated volunteers! Learn more about them.


Pam and Dr. Rolando Del Maestro, for their recognition at the 2017 Ontario Volunteer Service Awards in honour of being two of the three founders of the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and for helping the Foundation reach its goals for over 35 years.


All of the 2017 Fellowship and Travel Awardees!


Everyone involved with The Neuro’s Be Line Wise program! The program continues to thrive, while the Neuro ICU celebrates three years without central a venous line infection! Read more about it!


Barbara E. Jones, recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Scientist Award from the Canadian Sleep Society. This award is in recognition of a scientist who has made significant contributions to the field of sleep research in Canada. Professor Jones received her award at the 8th Conference of the Canadian Sleep Society on April 29, 2017, where she presented, “Neural and Chemical Systems Mediating Sleep-wake States and their Homeostatic Regulation”.

Dr. Jones seeks to understand how the brain generates states of waking and sleep. She focuses on the neuroanatomical organization, chemical neurotransmitters and physiology of the specific neural circuits in the brainstem, hypothalamus and basal forebrain, which stimulate and maintain a waking state, as well as those which reciprocally arrest waking and promote sleep. To study these neural systems, her laboratory employs in vivo neurophysiological recording in naturally waking/sleeping rodents, combined with neuroanatomical and histochemical techniques. One major facet of her research program has been investigating the way in which cholinergic neurons in the brainstem and basal forebrain stimulate cortical activation with theta and gamma EEG activity during waking and paradoxical sleep. Her group has studied cholinergic along with other neuromodulatory systems, including noradrenergic, orexinergic and MCH neurons, and how they can modulate the functionally diverse glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons, which work in balance as the effector neurons for cortical activity and behavioral states. Most recently, her group has examined how these systems are regulated in a homeostatic manner to similarly regulate sleep and waking.

Fast Facts


It's all on our Facebook Page

Check out our Facebook page for these upcoming posts, and much more!

Always stay up-to-date thanks to our Facebook page.

You Can Acknowledge a Deserving Member of The Neuro Community

Do you want to publicly recognize a deserving doctor, clinician, researcher, staff member, or student through #NeuroProfiles on Facebook?  Send us an Email!

Brain Facts

Brain Bio-markers Help Detect Signs of Autism in Infancy

By using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the brains of infants who have older siblings with autism, scientists were able to correctly identify 80 percent of the babies who would be subsequently diagnosed with autism at two years of age. Learn more.

More Multiple Sclerosis Causing Mutations Found in Canadian Families

A new study strengthens the argument that some forms of multiple sclerosis are genetic.

Read more in Neuroscience News.

Diagram shows incidence of a double-gene MS-causing mutation in a Canadian family. “M” = individuals with the mutation. Black circles and squares = individuals with MS. (No DNA was available for #8.) NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Carles Vilarino-Guell/University of British Columbia.

Our Brains are More Active than we Thought

The brain is 10 times more active than previously believed, information discovered thanks to a new look at an ignored structure that scientists thought was just a messenger.

Read more in the New York Post.

Scientists Identify Brain Circuit that Drives Pleasure-inducing Behavior

Scientists have long believed that the central amygdala, a structure located deep within the brain, is linked with fear and responses to unpleasant events. However, a team of MIT neuroscientists has now discovered a circuit in this structure that responds to rewarding events.

Read more in MIT News.


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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