Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging


The Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) is a national hub for collaboration research on dementia. Established in 2014, CCNA is the main initiative under the Canadian component of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)’s Dementia Research Strategy. 

CCNA brings together more than 300 researchers from 39 universities in eight provinces across Canada. To accelerate and synergize research nationwide, CCNA researchers have been assembled into 19 teams under three research themes: prevention, treatment, and quality of life. The researchers benefit from cross-cutting programs that allow them to engage people living with dementia in research, explore Indigenous specific issues, and conduct research related to women, gender, sex, and dementia.

CCNA has implemented a unique observational cohort study. The Comprehensive Assessment of Neurodegeneration and Dementia (COMPASS-ND) is the only cohort study in the world that is collecting a wealth of data on seniors with different types and severities of dementia. To date, 800 Canadians between age of 50 and 90, who are living with or at risk of developing dementia.

In June 2019, CIHR and its partners announced funding of $46 million over five years to support Phase II of CCNA.

CCNA partners include:

  • Alberta Innovates
  • Alzheimer Society of Canada
  • Brain Canada
  • Canadian Association of Retired Persons
  • Canadian Nurses Foundation
  • Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation
  • Fond de recherche du Québec – Santé
  • Hypertension Canada
  • New Brunswick Health Research Foundation
  • Ontario Brain Institute
  • Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation

In Phase II, CCNA will implement findings from the first phase while also putting greater emphasis on strategies for dementia risk reduction.

The CCNA team will create a new platform: the Canadian Aging and Neurodegeneration Prevention Therapy Study Using Multidimensional Interventions for Brain Support - Unified Platform, or CAN-THUMBS UP.

This large-scale study will enable researchers to evaluate the effectiveness of combination therapies for dementia prevention in alignment with other international dementia prevention initiatives. The long-term goal is to establish effective prevention strategies that will result in a measurable decrease in the occurrence of dementia.

During its first five years, CCNA was based at the Lady Davis Institute of McGill’s Jewish General Hospital in Montreal and received strong support from the institution. In its second phase, the scientific headquarters of CCNA will be based at Baycrest in Toronto, a global leader in geriatric residential living, healthcare, research, innovation and education, with a special focus on brain health and aging and a University of Toronto teaching hospital. The administrative centre will remain at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal.

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