Ontario Brain Institute Blog
Understanding who you are, deciding how you behave, experiencing love and laughter — the brain is key to these behaviours. Perhaps the most important brain region underlying these functions is the frontal lobes, the area of the brain most closely tied to these highest functions.
A large part of what OBI does involves story-telling, making research accessible, and creating a strong sense of community across the neuroscience landscape. OBI is focused on making Ontario a world leader in brain research, commercialization, and care. And since Ontario was already home to top-notch neuroscience researchers and facilities long before OBI was founded, its mission has been to get diverse groups working together in new ways that were never before possible.
As a research institute dedicated to maximize Ontario’s neuroscience excellence, OBI has reached out across Ontario to connect scientists, clinicians, industry representatives and patient advocacy groups, who are focused on similar challenges. To better achieve their shared goals, five Integrated Discovery programs were established for cerebral palsy, depression, epilepsy, neurodegenerative disorders, and neurodevelopmental disorders.
One of OBI’s major goals is to facilitate collaboration between patients and their advocates, researchers, clinicians, and industry to improve outcomes for those affected by neurodevelopmental disorders. One of the best ways to do this is simply to bring people together which is one of the reasons why OBI’s Integrated Discovery program, the Province of Ontario Neurodevelopmental Disorders (POND) Network, held a parent information day on May 3, 2014 to engage in dialogue with the parents and family members of children participating in POND.“I now know many of the researchers involved in POND very well.
We live in a world of big data which can serve as a particularly useful tool for health systems to gain a better understanding of patients and their needs across large populations. With appropriate use, big data has the potential to advance health research and help healthcare providers personalize care; however, this has been largely unrealized because of the challenges associated with connecting, processing, and analyzing large data sets to produce meaningful conclusions.
Three years ago the Ontario Brain Institute and the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) partnered to accelerate the development of a neurotechnology cluster in Ontario. Since then, the program, named NeuroTech Ontario, has fostered the development of game-changing technologies including devices, diagnostics, and health applications to improve the lives of people living with brain disorders.
When a child becomes seriously ill, there are many concerns, thoughts, and fears that arise in both the child and their family upon their first hospital visit. Will my child respond to treatment? Will they get the best care possible? What many people do not realize is that a child’s care goes beyond medications and procedures to encompass the child’s mental well-being. And often times, this is overlooked as part of their care. To address these concerns, the Hospital for Sick Children – one of the largest centres dedicated to improving children’s healthcare in North America – is doing something innovative.
On March 24, I had the pleasure of attending the Childhood Cerebral Palsy Integrated Neuroscience Discovery Network( CP-NET), investigator workshop. The workshop was held at the Ontario Investment and Trade Center which had a spectacular view and even more impressive innovations. Attendees of the workshop were world-class researchers, clinicians, and entrepreneurs all passionate about improving our understanding and care for those living with cerebral palsy.
1 in 10 Canadians will be affected by depression at some point in their lives. The remaining 9 will know someone who is affected. Depression is a mood disorder which can become isolating and debilitating, and in some cases, even life-threatening. However, innovative research within this field is bringing about major improvements in how we treat depression. Recently, I had the chance to attend an event that presented some very new ideas and approaches to conquering the burden that depression has on individuals and our society.