Brain Canada award will support Alzheimer’s study

November 8, 2018

Mari DeMarco, St. Paul’s Hospital/University of British Columbia (BC)
Amount: $684,000
Title: Translating research into practice: Investigating the impact of Alzheimer’s disease diagnostics in Canada

Alzheimer’s disease causes progressive neurological decline and substantially decreases the quality of life of the individuals with the disease and their caregivers. Today, there are over half a million Canadians living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia, directly costing Canada $10.4 billion a year. With a rapidly aging population, both the number of Canadians with dementia and the associated costs are projected to double by 2031, representing an urgent and rapidly growing healthcare issue.

Early and accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is critical because timely access to healthcare and community services has the potential to slow disease progression and improve quality of life. Current approaches for diagnosis rely on traditional imaging tests and observation of the signs and symptoms of the disease. Adding the measure of proteins found in cerebrospinal fluid (biomarkers) has been shown to help correctly identify the disease and predict those with mild symptoms that are likely to progress to dementia.

For this project, the team will develop a comprehensive understanding of how biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease impact clinical decision making and healthcare costs. The group will develop an Alzheimer’s disease diagnostic tool and, with input from patients, their families, their doctors and other relevant stakeholders, address barriers to uptake and use in the Canadian healthcare system.