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St. Michael’s joins Toronto Dementia Research Alliance

Toronto, October 24, 2012

Dr. Corinne Fischer
Dr. Corinne Fischer

St. Michael’s may be better known for our expertise in the areas of inner city health or trauma, but with several key factors in neurosciences converging – like our recent official membership in the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance – we are starting to establish ourselves as a major player in dementia research.

Dr. Corinne Fischer, the director of the St. Michael’s Memory Disorders Clinic, says we see about 200 new cases of dementia and related cognitive disorders a year, which is roughly on par with the other leading brain centres, and we have an extremely heterogeneous group of patients, something that is unique to St. Michael’s. “Our patients are from high and low socioeconomic status groups. This makes St. Michael’s ideally suited to study lifestyle-associated factors on brain cognitive reserve.”

The alliance is comprised of the city’s leading memory clinics and is a collaborative centre for research on cognitive disorders. It brings together everyone in Toronto who cares for patients with dementia and is attempting to standardize dementia care across the spectrum as well as develop a systematic way to evaluate and test our approaches.

“Many factors are coming together that is making this an exciting time for us. We’ve got our new Neurosciences Research Program led by Dr. Tom Schweizer, which promises to create new research collaborations, the Elder Care Task Force, new technology and our involvement with the TDRA,” said Dr. Fischer.

As a member, St. Michael’s has greater access to clinical drug trials and resources like instruments; and potentially to grant funding – because we’re part of a larger pool, the odds of being successful are higher. Our involvement will help further neurosciences research and ultimately, benefit patients with cognitive disorders.