Dr Alois Alzheimer: Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, is named after the German physician, Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who first described it in 1906.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 35.6 million people around the globe are currently living with dementia. This number is expected to double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050.
In 2011, 747,000 Canadians were living with Alzheimer’s or related dementias. In 2031, 1.4 million Canadians are expected to have the disease.
Gender Gap: 72% of Alzheimer’s sufferers are women. 62% of dementia cases are women.
Age is a risk factor: Alzheimer’s disease affects: 5% Canadians age 65+ and 25% of Canadians age 85+.
Economic cost of dementia: In 2011, $33 billion. In 2040, $293 billion.
Source: Canadian Institutes of Health Research
From 1956, Drs. Patrick and Edith McGeer provided early leadership in Alzheimer’s research and received international recognition, attracting other high-calibre researchers to UBC over the following decades.
Howard Feldman launched one of Canada’s most important clinical dementia research programs at UBC.
Brain Research Centre established with Cynader as head.
Two federal programs – the Canada Research Chairs program and the Canada Foundation for Innovation – allowed UBC to recruit more top brain researchers and develop world class research facilities. UBC becomes an important global hub for brain research in three key areas: neurodegenerative disorders, stroke and mental health and development.
Dr. Weihong Song is an Alzheimer’s researcher who has identified important molecular targets for drug development. In 2005, he
fostered the development of a $15M Canada-China research collaboration between the Natural Science Foundation of China and
the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Feldman and Ian MacKenzie discover the gene responsible for a common form of early-onset dementia. In 2011 MacKenzie discovers the same gene causes ALS, which causes the body’s muscles to rapidly weaken.
Dr. Neil Cashman discovered a deformed protein that may lead to an eective therapy for ALS. A leading expert in protein-folding
diseases, Cashman has also developed a diagnostic test for early stage Alzheimer’s that is being evaluated by several pharmaceutical companies.
The Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health opens.