New Dementia Study at McGill University-Montreal, Canada

by Victoria Brewster, MSW

The benefit to living in a city that has good universities is the research they conduct. Here in Montreal we have McGill, Concordia, University de Montreal and a few others, but McGill is the one that many know.

A university researcher, Jens Pruessner is focusing on Dementia. He believes Dementia is not a given and has come up with an interesting way to prove it.  He launched the Prevention of Neurological Diseases in Everyone at Risk (PONDER) project. This project offers free cognitive training to the general public at the same time creating an extensive database of longitudinal cognitive assessments.

It is not about boosting your brain power and the online training is fun games and puzzles. He hopes the public will return to the website regularly.

The newest research is stating that Dementia appears long before symptoms appear and are recognizable. Pruessner is hoping to have participants participate in a study over time and see if cognitive reserves can be built up. There are approximately 500 participants now and 1000 are wanted. The age range is 40 plus!

Pruessner understands the importance of exercise in preventing Dementia, but believes there could be an importance in building up a cognitive reserve in relation to cognitive capacity. The currents stats show that 1 in 13 Canadians will be affected by Dementia between the ages of 65-74. The numbers go higher as one is 85 plus. Remember, Dementia is an umbrella term and there are many different types one could develop with Alzheimer’s being the one most known and feared. Vascular, Lewy Body, Mixed, Parkinson’s, Frontotemporal and Creutzfeldt-Jakob are examples of others. Dementia is highly feared by many seniors/older adults with Alzheimer’s being the most feared.

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