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JUNE / JULY 2018

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Neuro Spotlight



$1M Donation to Support Autism Research Powered by Open Science


A generous donation from the Djavad Mowafaghian Foundation will create a new partnership between researchers at The Neuro and the University of British Columbia (UBC), who will collaborate to advance drug discovery for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in an open science framework. The aim of the donation is to help scientists generate ASD research data that will be shared globally to accelerate findings.


Learn more.




The Neuro Celebrates Philanthropists and Unveils Donor Wall


On May 23, 2018, The Neuro gratefully acknowledged significant government funders and philanthropists at an event to unveil the Thinking Ahead Campaign (2007-2013) donor wall. The donor wall serves as a tribute and thank-you to the many people who helped transform The Neuro’s ability to deliver cutting-edge research and clinical care.


Learn more.



Neuro News



June is Stroke Awareness Month


June is Stroke Awareness Month, a time to spread awareness of the causes and effects of stroke and its treatment.


In the three years since The Neuro was designated a tertiary stroke centre, the staff has provided rapid treatment for hundreds of patients. The Neuro’s stellar performance in treating stroke was recently recognized by the Quebec medical group, Profession Santé, which awarded its 2017 Interprofessional Team Prize to The Neuro’s neurovascular unit.


Learn more.




June is Brain Injury Awareness Month


On any given day, an average of 400 Canadians will suffer a concussion or some other brain injury. As June is Brain Injury Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time to focus on brain injury patient care and research at The Neuro.


Dr. Alain Ptito is working to ensure that following a brain injury people receive both a diagnosis and, if necessary, proper treatment. He is investigating potential diagnostic tools that could provide objective data for evaluating the seriousness of a brain injury.


Learn more.




June is ALS Month  


In June, the spotlight is on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) - a devastating disease with no known cure. Dr. Guy Rouleau was part of the team that identified the first ALS gene in the 1990s. His team is one of the laboratories at The Neuro whose studies are beginning to reveal the secrets of ALS.


Several hundred Canadians will be diagnosed with ALS this year and will have to deal with the difficult challenges posed by a disease that progressively causes patients to lose control of their muscles. The Neuro looks to inform the public during ALS Month and appeal for support for ALS research.     


Learn more.



Doctors Must be Better about Early Detection of ALS


Dr. Angela Genge, director of The Neuro’s amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) Clinical Research Program, says there’s a desperate need to educate medical professionals about recognizing the signs and symptoms of ALS earlier so patients can get the expert care they need fast.


“When I see these patients, I am heartbroken,” Genge said of patients who have lost a year going from doctor to doctor with vague symptoms until the right diagnosis was made.


Read the full article in The Montreal Gazette.



Tiny Fish Could be Key to ALS Breakthrough


Dr. Gary Armstrong has high praise for zebrafish, a species of fish that he is using to look for new ways to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). “As a genetic model for testing drugs, they’re fantastic. I can make the same genetic mutations in these fish that cause ALS. Moreover, with the new equipment that I have, I can test drugs on hundreds of fish at a time, which creates a wonderful drug-screening platform.”


Learn more.



Global Centre for Excellence in ALS Research and Patient Care


At a cocktail event on June 12, 2018, invitees had a chance to learn about how The Neuro is changing lives with the new Global Centre for Excellence in ALS Research and Patient Care, and how to help make a difference. Guests heard from program director Dr. Genge and enjoyed a special performance by singer Dawn Tyler Watson.



Brain Interrupted - Exploring Multiple Sclerosis in Canada


Canada is the country with the highest rate of MS in the world, Statistics Canada reports – and while there are theories as to why that is, the ultimate cause of MS remains a mystery. Researchers are working on it though.


“If you look at MS before this modern era the average time from first symptom to when a patient was told they have the disease was somewhere in the order of 10 years and now it’s in the order of probably minutes,” said Dr. Jack Antel.


Read the complete article in Global News.


Neuro Noteworthy


Honouring Brenda Milner


We are honouring legendary neuropsychologist Dr. Brenda Milner with #MilnerMondays! Check our Facebook page every Monday for some fascinating tidbits about Dr. Milner’s life and work.  Dr. Milner will celebrate her 100th birthday on July 15, 2018.


Dr. Milner is the recipient of two additional honours:


Medal of Honour at National Assembly


On May 8, 2018 the Speaker of the National Assembly of Quebec, Jacques Chagnon presented Dr. Milner with its Medal of Honour, along with seven other Quebecers. The Medal of Honour is awarded to public figures from all walks of life who, through their career, their work or their social commitment, have earned the recognition of the Members of the National Assembly and the people of Quebec.


Commander of the Order of Montreal


Dr. Milner was honoured with the title of Commander of the Order of Montreal, bestowed to her by Mayor Valérie Plante during a ceremony at City Hall on May 14, 2018. The Order of Montreal was created to recognize women and men who have contributed in a remarkable way to the city’s development and reputation. There are three ranks in the Order, Commander being the highest.




View the Latest #IChooseTheNeuro Videos


Dr. Boris Bernhardt heads the Multimodal Imaging and Connectome Analysis Lab at The Neuro, which develops innovative brain imaging technologies to study large-scale brain organization, neurodevelopment, and cognitive variability in healthy and diseased populations.

Watch Boris' video to learn more!


Dr. Nathan Spreng researches how brain networks support various cognitive processes such as remembering information, and how we use this knowledge to influence our decisions.

Watch Nathan’s video to learn more!


View all of the videos in the #IChooseTheNeuro series!



Decision Neuroscience Catalyst Workshop


The Neuro hosted the Decision Neuroscience Catalyst Workshop May 14 - 15, 2018. Decision Neuroscience is a relatively new field that aims to understand the brain basis of motivated human behaviour: how we learn and assess the value of decision options, how we deliberate, and how we choose.


The workshop brought together neuroscientists (Freie Universität Berlin, McGill, Université de Montréal, Concordia University), with the goal of catalyzing new collaborations and developing a grant proposal to support cross-site, interdisciplinary graduate student training.


Community Minded





Recognizing Danielle Lepage’s Unwavering Commitment


CORRECTION: In our May newsletter, the article regarding volunteer Danielle Lepage should have recognized Danielle for her work to raise awareness and funds for research into Sensory Neuropathy and not ARSACS. We apologize for this error. Through organizing events and mobilizing the members of her community, Danielle has raised over $250,000 for The Neuro’s research into this devastating disease.


Sensory Neuropathy is a genetic disorder that attacks the nerves linking the skin, bones, and muscles to the central nervous system. The disease causes lack of sensation, especially in the legs and hands, and sometimes, intense pain. Serious infections and fractures with devastating consequences, including the loss of fingers or toes, can result. This disease affects adults and children. More than 70% of cases in Québec are found in Joliette, which also has the highest concentration in the world.




Vigilant in the Community


The Vigilant Volunteer Fair took place on May 16, 2018 and included representatives from five different community foundations. Members of The Neuro were on-site at Vigilant's downtown offices to talk to employees about how they can get involved and show their support. Vigilant has been supporting The Neuro through donations and volunteers hours for various events since 2013.





Lesley Fellows Appointed Vice-Dean, Academic Affairs in the Faculty of Medicine


Effective July 1, 2018, Dr. Lesley Fellows will serve as Vice-Dean, Academic Affairs, Faculty of Medicine. For the past two years Dr. Fellows has served as Assistant Dean, Academic Affairs. During this time, she developed a new peer-mentorship program called the Telemachus Scholars Program to support academic career development and build community across the diversity of academic roles and career stages within the Faculty of Medicine.


Dr. Fellows is a Full Professor in the Department of Neurology & Neurosurgery, where she previously served as Interim Chair from 2010 to 2013. She is also a Staff Neurologist at The Neuro and Royal Victoria Hospital, with a subspecialty in Cognitive-Behavioural Neurology. She leads The Neuro’s Cognitive Neuroscience research group, and is an Associate Member of the Psychology Department.


Learn more about Lesley by watching her NeuroXXceptional video.


In Memoriam


Peter Milner, 1919-2018


McGill Professor Emeritus Peter Milner died at the Centre hospitalier de l'université de Montréal on Saturday, June 2, 2018. Peter would have been 99 on June 13, 2018.


Peter was an outstanding neuroscientist who, with the late James Olds, discovered that electrical stimulation in specific parts of the brain (sometimes referred to as 'pleasure centres') acted as a reward for behavioural actions. This demonstration generated enormous interest in the neuroscience community and was the basis of significant research on the neurobiology of learning and memory as well as research leading to better understanding of the neural basis of drug addiction.


Peter became a graduate student under the supervision of Hebb and, in 1956, was appointed as Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at McGill where he stayed for his entire distinguished academic career.


Read Peter’s complete obituary and learn more about him.


Global News

What's Your Guess 




Q: How many honourary degrees does Brenda Milner have?


A: Do you give up? Learn the answer here!



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