$1 million anonymous donation supports brain research

News Release Release Date: November 23, 2015 11:29 a.m.

The University of Regina has received a $1 million anonymous donation that will be used to support brain-health related research projects.

“This donation will enhance our researchers’ efforts to understand and treat injuries and conditions that affect the brain such as chronic pain, depression, concussions, strokes, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and Parkinson’s,” says University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Vianne Timmons. “The generous support of this philanthropist, combined with the significant impact these research projects will have in building our knowledge of brain health and improving treatment processes to address debilitating brain injuries and diseases, is far-reaching.”

The research projects and funds designated are:

•    $300,000 for the Exploration of neurogenesis, neuroplasticity and their impact – Holly Bardutz, Dr. Paul Schwann Applied Health and Fitness Centre, Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies. Bardutz is pursuing her doctorate in the area of Human Development with a Concentration in the Area of Aging, Culture and Society. With exercise and mental stimulation the brain can grow new neurons (neurogenesis) and make new connections by changing its structure/function (neuroplasticity). The research will examine the impact of exercise, which is known to stimulate neurogenesis, on brain function and quality of life in older adults.

•    $250,000 for the Unit for Innovation in Dementia Care – Dr. Thomas Hadjistravropoulos, Research Chair in Aging and Health. People with advanced dementia who live in long-term care facilities suffer from persistent pain that remains under treated largely because the disease interferes with ability to report on one’s pain and distress.  The unit, focused on improving quality of life of people with dementia, will be a leader in improved pain management approaches for dementia sufferers by facilitating long-term care staff training in best practice protocols as well as on the implementation of cutting edge pain assessment/management methodologies and protocols.

•    $225,000 for the Study of attention using multiple object tracking – Dr. Kim Dorsch, Sports Psychology Laboratory. Aging, fatigue, injury and diseases can impact the ability of the brain to pay attention and process information. Training the brain using multiple object tracking can improve performance in people with attention deficits due to injury or disease as well as in healthy individuals. The funds will be used to purchase three NeuroTracker Systems (new 3D multiple object tracking computer systems) and fund a Ph.D. student and graduate students and the project will be linked to the new High Performance Training, Applied Learning and Research Centre under development in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies.

•    $225,000 for the Non-invasive stimulation of the brain to treat neurological diseases – Dr. Lei Zhang, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Electronic Systems Engineering. Electronic brain stimulation is used to treat chronic pain, depression and Parkinson’s and the research will explore the brain’s reaction patterns to determine why the treatment works.  Funds will be used to focus on non-invasive brain stimulation monitored by electroencephalograms (EEGs) through the purchase of equipment and support for Ph.D. students.

“We appreciate the donor’s support of these research projects, which are aligned with our Integrated health: equity, disease and prevention research cluster and the University’s strategic plan priority of research impact,” says Dr. David Malloy, Vice-President (Research), University of Regina.

For information on the University of Regina’s commitment to research that has impact visit: http://www.uregina.ca/strategic-plan/index.html.


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