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Largest Canadian study on dementia hopes to develop new treatments and interventions

Karen Seidman, Montreal Gazette

The largest Canadian study ever on dementia launches Wednesday with a goal of developing new interventions to slow or halt diseases that affect more than half a million Canadians.The clinical study on neurodegenerative diseases is being conducted by the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging. It will be administered by the consortium’s scientific director Dr. Howard Chertkow, a neurologist at the Jewish General Hospital. A network of 350 researchers across the country is mobilizing in an attempt to untangle some of the mysteries of age-related brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.The goal is to enrol 1,600 participants at 30 sites in Canada to study dementia in all its forms, in the hope of creating strategies for early detection and intervention and improving the lives of those living with dementia.
An estimated 564,000 Canadians live with dementia, but the number is expected to soar to 937,000 by 2031. Left unchecked, one in five people in the country risk developing Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Worldwide, the cost of treating dementia is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2018. “We really have to mobilize and fight this disease, which is such a tragedy and a burden,” Chertkow said in an interview. “This represents the Canadian government realizing it’s time to step up to the plate and create a national dementia strategy.”
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