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Bruce Pike: New Campus Alberta Innovation Program Chair in Healthy Brain Aging

Submitted by kristy.cross on Mon, 02/10/2014 - 10:36.

Bruce Pike: New Campus Alberta Innovation Program Chair in Healthy Brain Aging

When he started his electrical engineering undergraduate degree over three decades ago, Bruce Pike, PhD, had no idea that he would one day become one of the world’s leading experts on brain imaging.



“At the time,” explains Pike, “there was no such thing as biomedical engineering.” It was through a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) award that he received to work in a myocardial biology lab that his interest was sparked. “I had the opportunity to work with a researcher who was experimenting with a new technology – a CT scanner – and from then on I knew I wanted to study medical imaging.”

New brain imaging technique allows for a closer look at MS

Submitted by kristy.cross on Fri, 02/07/2014 - 10:20.

New brain imaging technique allows for a closer look at MS

More detailed scans could lead to better diagnosis and treatments

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable and debilitating neurodegenerative disease that affects an estimated 100,000 Canadians. Typically, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is used to confirm diagnosis, but current techniques are limited in their ability to detect subtle differences in tissue damage.

Recent research out of the University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) aims to enhance the diagnostic and therapeutic power of MRI with a new technique that is sensitive to very small changes in patterns within the MRI images of MS patients.

Boosting the immune system to treat brain cancer

Submitted by kristy.cross on Thu, 12/05/2013 - 16:25.

Boosting the immune system to treat brain cancer

Researchers at the University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) have made a discovery that could lead to better treatment for patients suffering from brain cancer.

Despite current treatment strategies, the median survival for patients with the most aggressive brain cancer – called glioblastoma, is 15 months. Less than five per cent of patients survive beyond five years.

HBI member V. Wee Yong, PhD and research associate Susobhan Sarkar, PhD, and their team including researchers from the Department of Clinical Neurosciences and the university’s Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute, looked at human brain tumour samples and discovered that specialized immune cells in brain tumour patients are compromised.

Researchers assess aerobic exercise for taming migraines

Submitted by kristy.cross on Thu, 12/05/2013 - 11:13.

Researchers assess aerobic exercise for taming migraines

Study investigates if exercise can reduce frequency, duration or intensity of migraines

A new University of Calgary research study based at Calgary’s South Health Campus – and conducted in partnership with the YMCA there – is the first large controlled trial anywhere to measure the potential benefits of aerobic exercise in patients suffering from migraines.

People who live with recurring migraine headaches have a limited number of tools to alleviate the often-debilitating symptoms. Aside from the pain, which can be severe and sometimes last for days, sufferers can also experience nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light or sound, and other neurological symptoms.

Using MRI to visualize brain damage due to concussion

Submitted by kristy.cross on Tue, 11/19/2013 - 14:30.

Using MRI to visualize brain damage due to concussion

Researchers at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute are looking at concussion in a new way, thanks in part to a CIHR catalyst grant announced earlier this month by Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose.

“Right now when someone suffers a concussion, we can’t actually observe brain damage in an image of their brain,” says the project leader Dr. Garnette Sutherland, a member of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences in the Faculty of Medicine. “In the case of repetitive mild head injury, patients are experiencing symptoms such as memory loss, headaches and numbness, and yet when we look at a scan of their brains, everything looks normal.”

Concussion research dream team works to make hockey safer for youth

Submitted by kristy.cross on Thu, 11/07/2013 - 11:47.

Concussion research dream team works to make hockey safer for youth

Researchers discovering how to better identify, prevent and treat concussions in sport


In Canada, as many as 50,000 young hockey players suffer a concussion on the ice every year.



"We don't know the longer-term effects of concussion or the best way to treat it, especially for kids," says Carolyn Emery, PhD, a kinesiology researcher who is a member of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, an Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation Professor in Paediatric Rehabilitation, and Co-Chair of the Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre (SIPRC). "That's a frightening thought for parents and players, and makes prevention a key focus."

Study shows survival rates have improved for brain-injury patients

Submitted by kristy.cross on Thu, 10/31/2013 - 15:12.

Study shows survival rates have improved for brain-injury patients

Better health care means more brain injury patients return to everyday life at home



Patients hospitalized for brain injuries are more likely to survive than they were a decade ago, and are more likely to return home without requiring any long-term medical support, according to a new research study co-authored by the HBI's Dr. Andreas Kramer.

The study, which tracked nearly 4,100 southern Albertans with severe brain injuries in Calgary’s adult intensive care units (ICUs), shows survival rates for these patients have increased by 10 per cent since the study began 12 years ago. Roughly seven of every 10 patients with critical brain injuries now survive.

HBI in the News: The Role of Art and Science in Parkinson's Disease

Submitted by kristy.cross on Wed, 10/02/2013 - 12:26.

HBI in the News: The Role of Art and Science in Parkinson's Disease

This week in Montreal, the third World Parkinson Congress will take place - an international forum for the latest scientific discoveries, medical practices and caregiver initiatives related to Parkinson's Disease. This Congress is like no other - it's the only place where cross-pollination of the entire spectrum of Parkinson’s disease – researchers, clinicians, people with Parkinson’s, allied health professionals and care partners -- come together.

This time, the arts and sciences will bring the Parkinson's communities together. Alongside performance arts and documentary films, you will also find researchers such as the HBI's Dr. Bin Hu, who will deliver a lecture detailing his work on treating Parkinson's patients with music.

The Nature of Stress

Submitted by kristy.cross on Wed, 08/21/2013 - 16:07.

The Nature of Stress

In today's world of constant stress, understanding the mechanisms of the body's stress response and ways to mitigate the effects of chronic stress is becoming more and more important. A recent Think About It CBC Radio One episode investigated these mechanisms and how exposure to nature - from the foods we eat, to the pets we keep and the places we go to relax - can benefit the brain.

In order to understand the power of nature however, it is important to take a closer look at the nature of stress.

Study advances consistent terminology for vascular dementia research

Submitted by kristy.cross on Wed, 07/31/2013 - 10:19.

Study advances consistent terminology for vascular dementia research

Vascular dementia is the second most prevalent dementia after Alzheimer’s disease, accounting for approximately 20 per cent of all dementia cases. The identification of the disease, which is often caused by stroke, is dependent on reliable neuroimaging such as MRI. To date, inconsistencies in terminology and definitions of lesions on the brain have hindered progress in the field of vascular dementia research, but a new multi-national study involving researchers from the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine hopes to change that by introducing a new set of standards. The study was published online in the journal Lancet Neurology in July.