The only center for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease in Canada

The largest group of expertise in Canada

By tackling Alzheimer’s disease 5 or 10 years before its arrival, we would eliminate more than 50% of cases across the world in a generation.  […] It’s a disease of aging and people will just die from other things.

Dr. Judes Poirier

At the Douglas, AD is high on our list of priorities. At our Centre for Studies on Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease, known as the StoP-AD Centre, researchers work on developing and refining techniques for measuring the brain changes that may exist up to a decade before symptoms become evident. Using new technologies, our researchers work on identifying which individuals might develop Alzheimer’s dementia and how they can stop the disease before it is too late. There are reasons to be hopeful. If the onset of AD could be delayed by just 5 years, the number of new cases would decline by 50%. If we delay onset by 10 years, the number of cases would drop by more than 75%!

The Douglas at the forefront worldwide

The Douglas has been at the forefront of Alzheimer’s research for more than two decades. In 1993, Dr. Judes Poirier and his team identified the first and most important risk factor for the common form of the disease. Two years later, they discovered that this same factor (an anomalous variant of the ApoE4 gene) greatly affects how a person responds to treatment. Those with the variant respond poorly or not at all. And, since then, they have continued to make great progress!

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Early detection and promising discoveries to delay the disease

By the time it is diagnosed – usually because a person visits their physician complaining of memory loss – it is too late to reverse the damage it has caused.
To counter this, the Douglas rely on early detection. A dozen of the most talented minds in the field are working tirelessly to detect high-risk individuals sooner. This will allow preventing, or least delaying, the disease before parts of the brain begin to degenerate.

Currently, Dr. John Breitner is undertaking the largest clinical study the largest in North America in common Alzheimer’s prevention. He will be testing five seemingly banal but promising prevention strategies: anti-inflammatory drugs; inhaled insulin; physical exercise; cognitive training activities, and certain heart medications.

My team discovered that a variant of a gene that regulates cholesterol can also interfere with and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. It provides us for the first time in nearly 15 years with a clear biological target that we plan to use to develop new therapeutic approaches for the common form of the disease.

To continue this work and change millions of lives, we need an essential element: your support. Please make a donation now.

A few numbers

  • It is estimated that 1 in 5 baby boomers will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease
  • Today 36 million people in the world live with this disease.
  • In Quebec, more than 100,000 people are living with the disease
  • Currently 25,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in Quebec, and this figure is expected to double in 2050
  • In 2000, the elated costs were $ 5.5 billion

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