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




Marking Stroke Month at The Neuro
Innovation and Rapid Treatment - a Model Program

A Canadian suffers a stroke every ten minutes and every year, approximately 14,000 Canadians die of stroke, making stroke the third-leading cause of death in Canada. The Neuro is marking Stroke Month in June to increase public awareness about the dangers of this serious condition, and the importance of early intervention.

Read more and watch a video about innovative stroke care and treatment at The Neuro that is becoming a model for other programs across the country.

All are welcome to activities for Stroke Awareness Month taking place in the 6th-floor lobby of the Montreal General Hospital from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, June 16, 2017.  Watch a video, browse documentation, participate in quizzes, enjoy complimentary coffee, and more!

June is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Month at The Neuro

The Neuro continues to intensify its research into ALS – a disease that takes away a patient’s motor functions one at a time. Important ALS research is underway at The Neuro, and several national and international partnerships are helping to advance the progress of this research.

Read more about ALS research projects at The Neuro, and in a Forbes article, learn what The Neuro’s Dr. Angela Genge thinks about a new ALS drug.

A Focus on Brain Injury Month

There is still much work to be done to improve diagnosis and treatment of brain injuries. Concussions can have serious consequences, even in cases where the victim shows few symptoms immediately. Victims often shrug off a mild blow to the head, unaware that brain damage has occurred.

Learn more about The Neuro’s current work and pending projects in brain injury.

Jump-starting Neuroscience at The Neuro

Transforming the MNI into the first Open Science Institute in the world has been, so far, an incredibly stimulating journey, marked by different important steps over the last three years.  On May 26, the Tanenbaum Open Science Institute (TOSI) Leaders Council held its inaugural meeting.  The full-day meeting, chaired by Dr. Rouleau, included a tour of The Neuro and TOSI Open Platforms, presentations from each of the Platform Leaders and from the Chair of the Evaluation Committee, and strategic discussions about future developments.  This group of high-level volunteers have committed to broker, foster, and nurture relationships to guide the MNI’s transformative journey to become the first open science institute in the world and to promote, support and propel, the principles of open science to accelerate discovery of leading edge therapeutics to treat patients suffering from neurological diseases.  Learn more.

Leaders Council (from left to right): Jeff Mallet, Frank Litvack, Heather Munroe-Blum, Aled Edwards, Robert Mark Krembil, Lisa McKerracher, Rubin Gruber, Larry Tanenbaum, Guy Rouleau.
Missing from photo: Naomi Azrieli and Jacques Bougie.

Leading-edge Neuroscience Network Renews Agreement

The renewal of the tripartite partnership agreement between the Brain@McGill, the University of Oxford, and the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich (ZNZ) took place on May 29, amidst much excitement for what has been to date a fruitful and ambitious venture. First signed in 2013, the three-way agreement has since supported over 60 collaborations.  The Neuro’s Dr. Denise Klein spoke about her work on bilingualism at the lunchtime tribute to Arnold Steinberg, former McGill Chancellor and Neuro Advisory Board member. Dr. Guy Rouleau, Dr. Lesley Fellows, and Dr. Alan Evans presented in the afternoon’s scientific sessions.

Learn more.

À la découverte de la matière grise!
The Public Gets an Inside Look at the Inner Workings of The Neuro

In May, McGill was the proud host of the 85th annual congress of the Association francophone pour le savoir (Acfas). The Neuro participated in the congress by offering interactive tours to the general public that were led by Neuro experts. Visitors enjoyed the rare opportunity to get a first-hand glimpse into The Neuro’s current research initiatives.

Critical Aspect of Alzheimer’s Research Can Now be Produced Artificially

The quest for better understanding of Alzheimer’s disease has a powerful new tool at its disposal — the ability to artificially generate brain cells that have been shown to play an important role in disease function. Using human skin cells, an international team including researchers from The Neuro has created a method to generate microglia, a type of brain cell involved in preserving the function of neural networks and responding to injury and disease. Read the Press Release.

A Drug and its Champion for Acute Spinal Cord Injury

Persistence has paid off for Lisa McKerracher, a neuroscience researcher and former student of Dr. Albert Aguayo. A compound that she discovered 20 years ago, Cethrin, is now entering a Phase II/III clinical trial for acute spinal cord injury. It could be a game-changing drug, based on early trial results. Dr. McKerracher is a member of The Neuro’s Tanenbaum Open Science Leaders Council.  Read more.

The Health Benefits of Silence

Being around excessive noise has been found to affect our health quite seriously. Epidemiologists have found correlations between chronic noise sources, such as highways and airports, and high blood pressure, something that in turn can lead to other health risks, including damage to our brains and kidneys. Other studies have found links between noise and sleep loss, heart disease, and tinnitus. Dr. Robert Zatorre and others share their findings here.

Sync Project Announces New Investors and Accelerates Development of Personalized Music Health Platform

Sync Project, a Boston-based company developing music as a personalized treatment across a range of conditions, is accelerating development of its physiologically-responsive music health platform. Sync Project’s advisors and Board comprise a distinguished and diverse team, including Robert Zatorre. The team of experts are committed to uncovering the untapped potential of music’s ability to improve health. Read more.

Recreational Cocaine Use and the Road to Addiction

Even among non-dependent cocaine users, cues associated with consumption of the drug lead to dopamine release in an area of the brain thought to promote compulsive use, according to researchers at McGill University. “This switch from voluntary to habitual behaviour is thought to play an important role in the development of uncontrollable and compulsive drug use and the progression to addiction,” adds Sylvia Cox, a postdoctoral researcher at the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre and the paper’s first author.  The published findings suggest that people who consider themselves recreational users could be further along the road to addiction than they might have realized.

Learn more.

Community Connections

A Special Birthday for Spiro

Spiro Fotis Andrianakos asked for donations to support Dr. Petrecca's brain cancer research instead of presents for his 11th birthday this year. Family and friends raised almost $900, and Spiro's parents matched that with a generous gift of $1,000 for a grand total of $1,890!

A big thank you to Spiro for his selfless and generous gesture, and to his friends and family for supporting him.

Save the Date - A Brilliant Night 2017!

A Brilliant Night is a Gala Fundraiser to support life-changing brain tumour cancer research at The Neuro. This year’s event will be taking place on Wednesday, October 18.  

You can play a critical role in A Brilliant Night’s success by sponsoring this major event.  

For more information, please visit our website.

Cook for a Cure Raises $20,000 for Alzheimer’s Research at The Neuro

Three (3) English Montreal School Board schools (Nesbitt Elementary, Gerald McShane 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 researched their family’s history. A family recipe will also be shared and featured in the Happiness is Homemade cookbook.

On Tuesday May 9, at the Cook for a Cure Gala, select students were asked to recreate their signature dish for a formal tasting and judging by celebrity chefs at Plaza Antique.

Over the past two years, the Cook for a Cure Gala has raised $26,700 for Alzheimer’s research. If you did not have a chance to attend the event, please consider a donation to Alzheimer’s research.

Last Chance to Buy Brain Matters Raffle Ticket!
Raffle Closes on June 16, 2017

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 ($3000 value)
3rd Prize - MacBook and Accessories ($2000 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!

In Focus

Focus on the Iconic Brenda Milner

Brenda Milner was recently awarded the McGill Medal for Exceptional Academic Achievement in Honour of Ground-breaking Career, was featured in the New York Times, and was also honoured at the Annual BMO Celebrating Women program, in the Community and Charitable Giving category.

  • Read more about Dr. Milner’s McGill Medal for Exceptional Academic Achievement.
  • Enjoy the New York Times article featuring Dr. Milner.
  • Learn about Dr. Milner’s award at the Annual BMO Celebrating Women program.

May was Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Month

A Look at the Latest MS News and Information from The Neuro

The Neuro is home to Canada’s first multiple sclerosis (MS) clinic, and MS research and treatment has been a major focus at The Neuro for several years. It is a clinic where innovation and progress are paramount.

Read about MS multidisciplinary care and development research at The Neuro.

Personal Philanthropic Efforts Support MS Research at The Neuro!

  • Focus on David Torrey – Private philanthropy helps make MS research possible
  • Focus on Aliza Sovani – Fundraising for The Neuro with the Scotiabank Charity Run 

Read more about Aliza and David’s quests to help fund MS research!

National Nursing Week took place from May 8-14

Congratulations to the recipients of the Nursing Awards of Excellence 2017!

  • Stephan Johnson: Peggy Sangster Award for Excellence In Preceptorship
  • Jessica Dumoulin: Lorine Besel Award for Leadership in Nursing
  • Zinquon Ngan: Anne-Marie Lejeune Award for Those Who Support and Collaborate with Nurses To Give Quality Care
  • Marie Courchesne: Anne-Marie Lejeune Award for Those Who Support and Collaborate With Nurses To Give Quality Care
  • Chun Ip Koo: Evelyn Malowany Award for Clinical Practice

Congratulations to...

Adrian Duszkiewicz, postdoctoral researcher in the Peyrache Lab, who was awarded a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship for his project, "Functional dissection of the head-direction system". The aim of the project is to uncover the functional connectivity of the head-direction system, the brain's 'compass'.

Ms. Eileen “Beany” Peterson, recipient of the 2017 Anne Galler Award for Outstanding Library Service. This award recognizes an individual who has enriched librarianship in Quebec and has made a lasting contribution to the profession. Beany is the Head Librarian at The Neuro’s Patient Resource Centre, where she has positively contributed to the field of consumer health librarianship.

Fast Facts


Did you know...

The Neuro’s C-BIG Repository is an open science collection of biological samples, clinical information, imaging, and genetic data from patients with neurological disease as well as from healthy control subjects? Check out the video!
We offer tours of The Neuro? Tours are a great way to see the inner workings of The Neuro. Submit a tour request.
The 1st International Training Course on Neuroimaging of Epilepsy took place at The Neuro? It was a highly successful four-day training, featuring participants from all over the world. The goal of the training was to provide clinicians and scientists with an understanding of fundamentals and practical skills related to state-of-the-art MR imaging in epilepsy. Next year’s course will take place from May 17-20, 2018.
A Symposium on Hyperacute Stroke: Diagnosis and Management, took place at The Neuro May 12-13, 2017, which featured a series of lectures and case-based discussions to review the bases of clinical and imaging diagnosis of hyper acute stroke, including CT, CTA and CTP interpretations. Topics included various techniques of Thrombectomy, as well as ongoing and upcoming clinical trials for acute stroke treatment.


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

The Neuroscience of Trust

Experiments around the world have shown that humans are naturally inclined to trust others—but don’t always. Is there a neurologic signal that indicates when we should trust someone? Read more.

Link between Alzheimer’s and Normal Brain Aging

Ground-breaking study opens up new area of preventative research for diseases like Alzheimer’s: Targeting age-dependent protein aggregates as possible therapeutic targets. Read more.

No Two Neurons are Genetically Alike

Scientists were surprised to find that the genetic makeup of any given brain cell differs from all others. That realization may provide clues to a range of psychiatric diseases. Read more.

Exercise Can Protect the Brain from Alzheimer’s

Another new study finds those who exercise have a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers also confirmed that regular physical activity may improve the performance of daily activities for people afflicted with Alzheimer’s. Read 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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