St. Joseph's partners on province-wide neurodegenerative disease study - ONDRI

Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative (ONDRI)

ONDRI group from St. Joseph's

Doctors and research coordinators from St. Joseph's involved in the project, from left, Patricia Sargeant, Dr. Michael Borrie, Natalie Gerstmar, Karen Gopaul, Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso, Donna McBain, Lindsey McLeish, and Kristy Coleman.  Missing from photo: Sarah Best, Dr. Elizabeth Finger, Natalie Gerstmar, Sarah Jesso, Christopher Lincoln, JB Orange, Leslie Pal, Dr. Stephen Pasternak, Marilyn Strauss and Julie Truemner.

18 physicians and researchers from St. Joseph’s and Lawson Health Research Institute are involved in studies geared to understanding the similarities and unique characteristics of five neurodegenerative disorders: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal lobar dementia, and vascular cognitive impairment.

These studies are for the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative (ONDRI) Integrated Discovery Program led by neuroscientist Dr. Michael J. Strong, Dean, Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

ONDRI is the first study of its kind in the world to collect large amounts of data on a spectrum of neurodegenerative disorders. It brings together more than 50 investigators (including physicians and researchers from Lawson and St. Joseph’s Centre for Cognitive Vitality and Brain Health and Ivey Eye Institute) from over 12 participating clinical, academic and research centres across the province, four patient advocacy groups, and the industrial sector.

Watch the ONDRI video produced by the Ontario Brain Institute.

In 2015 ONDRI is enrolling 600 participants from across the province to participate in an array of assessments including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) brain scans, eye-tracking, blood and gait analysis, and cognitive testing. All of the collected data is entered into a central database which is expected to answer a variety of different research questions related to diagnosis and treatment of these disorders.

The Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) will invest $19 million in new funds during the next five years to ONDRI. Partner institutions and donations will contribute another $9.5 million to the program, bringing the total investment to $28.5 million.

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