Participants wanted for research study

The elderly in our society are the fastest growing segment of the Canadian population. And, as the population ages, the number of cases of Alzheimer’s Dementia will rise accordingly. This is why the urgency to invest in answers and interventions could not be greater.

But, did you know that by the time a patient comes to a doctor’s office complaining about memory loss, 60 or 70% of the brain cells directly involved in Alzheimer’s are already dead? It’s too late to reverse the memory loss.

That’s why Natasha Rajah, PhD, and her research team (who are part of the Douglas’ Centre for Studies on Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease) are focusing on ways to prevent the illness before it causes irreparable damage to the brain.

In one study, Dr. Rajah and colleagues are conducting brain scans on people of various ages without a family history of Alzheimer’s to uncover what normal changes affecting memory and cognition occur in the brain as a result of the aging process and at what ages these changes begin.

They are also performing the same scans on people of various ages with a family history of Alzheimer’s (a known risk factor for developing the disease). They hope to uncover the specific ways in which having a risk factor for the illness could alter the time at which brain changes affecting memory and cognition start to occur or the type of brain changes that occur.

If they can uncover how and when the brain starts to change in an abnormal way in those at-risk for Alzheimer’s who go one to develop the disease, they can pave the way for future research into possible biomarkers for the illness, making early intervention and prevention more feasible.

To perform this research, Dr. Rajah’s team are recruiting adult subjects in a variety of age groups (with and without a family history of Alzheimer’s Disease) to undergo memory testing while in a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine at the Douglas’ new state-of-the art Brain Imaging Centre (the only imaging centre dedicated entirely to mental health in Québec).

Participation in the study involves 2 sessions (one of 1.5 hours the other of 2.5 hours) at the Douglas. Financial compensation will be offered for both time and travel expenses.

The inclusion criteria for participation in the study are listed below:
  • Age groups eligible:
    • Young adults (18 – 35 years old)
    • Middle-aged adults (40 – 58 years old)
    • Older adults (60 – 80 years old)• Education: Completed high school
  • Right-handed
  • Fully bilingual (one of the languages spoken should be English)
  • No history of mental illness
  • No history of stroke
  • No history of diabetes
  • No metals in the body
If you are interested in participating, please contact Dr. Rajah’s research assistant, Maria Fajardo, by phone at (514)761-6131, extension 2877 or by e-mail at: rajahmemorystudy_At_gmail_dot_com.

Dr. Natasha Rajah is the Molson Fellow in Healthy Aging.