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



The Neuro to Create World’s First ALS Phase 1 Clinical Trial Unit

A generous donation by The Tenaquip Foundation will improve the quality of care available to ALS patients at The Neuro, and will also increase the rate at which researchers can evaluate new ALS drugs. The Foundation’s $1.5 million donation will help develop drugs for all forms of ALS, a devastating disease that currently affects approximately 3,000 Canadians.

Learn more.

Researchers Invent an Intraoperative Probe that Reliably Detects Multiple Types of Tumour Cells

Researchers have perfected the invention and designed a new device with improved accuracy, sensitivity and specificity, capable of detecting not only brain cancer cells but colon, lung and skin cancer cells as well. In intraoperative testing, the multimodal optical spectroscopy probe detected cancer cells infallibly, with nearly 100 per cent sensitivity — in other words, when pointed at a cancerous region, the probe is never wrong.

Read more about this exciting breakthrough!


Erasure of Negative Memories One Step Closer to Reality

A collaborative study by research groups from Columbia University Medical Center and The  Neuro has improved our understanding of memory retention. Their findings could one day lead to therapies that alleviate anxiety disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by selectively erasing pathological memories.

Learn more.

Why Sad Songs Say so Much

Music is an essential part of the human experience. War ballads, breakup songs and other lamenting lyrics have defined world cultures for hundreds — if not thousands — of years. But most academics still don’t understand why we find solace in listening to sad songs. Now, a recent study tries to answer that question.

Read what Dr. Robert Zatorre has to say about the topic in the Boston Globe.

Multitasking and the Human Brain

Scientists including Dr. Sylvain Baillet comment on the human brain’s ability to multitask, in Agence. Science. Presse., based on a study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Community Connections

Save the Date - A Brilliant Night 2017!

Be brilliant! Join us on Wednesday, October 18 at Le Salon Richmond for A Brilliant Night — a Gala Fundraiser to support life-changing brain cancer research at The Neuro.

Consider becoming a sponsor and leave your brilliant mark on this special event!    

For the latest information, follow us on Facebook or visit our website.

University of Saskatchewan Announces New Dr. Donald Baxter Scholarships

The University of Saskatchewan recently announced Dr. Patrick Man Pan Yuen’s gift of $1-million to establish a scholarship fund in the name of Dr. Donald Baxter, to help graduate students from mainland China and Hong Kong study at the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS). Yuen named the scholarship fund in memory of his mentor Dr. Baxter, who went on to become director of The Neuro.

Learn more.

Winning Big to Fight Brain Cancer

Congratulations to winners of the 2017 Brain Matters Raffle: Jean-Pierre Mercille, Salvatore Iannattone and Salvatore Losciuto!  The big winner is research at The Neuro, as the raffle raised $188,001, thanks to tireless fundraiser Josie Arcobelli, who has been raising funds for brain cancer since 2013! 

Learn More.

It's My Wedding and I'll Give if I Want to!

Instead of giving party favours to their wedding guests, Francine Carnevale and Jamie Morabito made a generous gift to support Dr. Kevin Petrecca's brain tumour research fund. Both of their families have been loyal supporters of Dr. Petrecca's work ever since Frank Morabito, family patriarch, passed away from a brain tumour in 2015.


Dr. Emily Beatrice Jane Coffey, Department of Integrated Program in Neuroscience, winner of the 2017 Prix d'excellence de l'Association des doyens des études supérieures au Québec (ADESAQ), for her outstanding doctoral dissertation entitled: Periodic sound encoding in the human auditory system: variability and plasticity.

In Memoriam

Shih Chun-jen, 1923-2017

Dr. Shih Chun-jen, a mentor of a generation for Taiwan's neurosurgeons, and former head of the National Health Administration (NHA), died at Taipei Veterans General Hospital on June 18.

Shih, a native of Taichung, received his early education during the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945), and graduated from National Taiwan University in 1947, majoring in medicine. He then joined the National Defense Medical Center, where he worked for 38 years.
Shih completed a two-year residency at the Montreal Neurological Institute from 1956-1958, and helped develop the field of neurosurgery in Taiwan after returning in 1958. He co-founded the Taiwan Neurological Society in 1977.

We extend our sincere sympathies to Shih’s family and friends.

Brain Facts

Patient Voices: A.L.S.

Five men and women speak about how their lives have changed as a result of this devastating illness in The New York Times.

Read or listen to their stories here.

Autoimmunity Plays a Role in Parkinson’s Disease

For the first time in nearly a century of research on the topic, scientists found direct evidence that autoimmunity plays a role in Parkinson’s Disease. Blood analysis of patients showed that immune system T-cells attacks the brain cells with a high level of the alpha-synuclein protein, characteristic of the disease.

Read more.

A New Recipe to Prevent Alzheimer’s

New research suggests that extra-virgin olive oil — a key component of the Mediterranean diet — may protect the brain from Alzheimer's disease symptoms.

Read more.

Treating Multiple Sclerosis with an Acne pill

Researchers find that Minocycline, a well-established and widespread treatment for acne, could help control Multiple Sclerosis (MS). With the highest rate of MS in the world, Canada could remarkably benefit from this safe, inexpensive, and easily administrable pill.

Learn more.


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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