13 research teams receive $8.7M from the Government of Canada and partners to study age-related cognitive impairment
Research investment successfully delivers on several key milestones of the National Dementia Strategy
January 29, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Close to half a million people in Canada aged 65 and older live with dementia. As our population ages, that number is expected to increase. Researching brain health and age-related cognitive impairment will help us develop strategies to prevent dementia, discover new treatments, improve patient outcomes, and raise the quality of life for people affected by dementia, including caregivers.
Today, during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Seniors, announced a new research investment of $8.7 million through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), in partnership with the Azrieli Foundation and its Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence, to support 13 research teams who are studying ways to reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia in aging.
Through this investment, seven teams are researching risk reduction and care for people with dementia; four teams are studying the short- and long-term health risks for caregivers of people with age-related dementia; one team is investigating the impact of infection and inflammation on brain health; and one team is focusing on Indigenous health research and how to provide culturally appropriate care for those impacted by dementia. These grants will also allow for the training and mentorship of the next generation of dementia researchers in Canada.
The Government of Canada and its partners will continue to invest in research to better understand the causes of dementia, how to prevent it, and how to treat the disease.
“The Government of Canada is committed to promoting the physical and mental health of older persons to enable them to live longer at home. Dementia is a major reason that older adults move out of their homes into long-term care. The initiatives undertaken by CIHR and its partners will help us better understand the causes of dementia, how to prevent it and how to treat it, thereby allowing greater numbers of older adults to age in place.”
The Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health
“We need to understand how to better prevent and treat dementia, so more people will age on their own terms, safely and comfortably. Because it’s not just about years, it’s about quality of life.”
The Honourable Seamus O’Regan
Minister of Seniors
“CIHR’s Institute of Aging is proud to support research in the field of aging and to provide a solid foundation for the future of the field by training and mentoring the next generation of dementia researchers in Canada.”
Dr. Jane Rylett
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Aging
“As the number of Canadians impacted by dementia grows, it is important to learn more about how it affects people with pre-existing brain-based disabilities and their caregivers and care providers who have been underrepresented in health research. We are pleased to partner with CIHR to fund critical research that will give us all greater insight into the short- and long-term health consequences for people with age-related dementia and those who care for them.”
Chair and CEO, Azrieli Foundation
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a set of symptoms affecting brain function. It is characterized by a decline in cognitive abilities, including memory; awareness of person, place, and time; language; basic math skills; judgement; and planning. Dementia can also affect mood and behaviour.
According to the latest national data, almost 477,000 people aged 65 and older have been diagnosed with dementia in Canada. Of those living with the condition, nearly two-thirds are women.
In the last two decades, the number of Canadians living with dementia more than doubled, and as our population ages, this number is expected to continue to increase.
In 2023, CIHR’s Institute of Aging launched the Brain Health and Cognitive Impairment in Aging Research Initiative (BHCIA) to support the study of brain health during aging, and the complex care needs of people impacted by dementia, including the wellbeing of their caregivers.
A key component of this initiative is the Dementia Research and Innovation Funders Alliance, which brings together brain health and dementia funding partners in Canada, to identify and act upon common interests in brain health and dementia research, highlight research gaps and needs, and circulate the knowledge gained through dementia research.
To date, the BHCIA, in collaboration with its partners, has funded 29 projects for a total investment of more than $10 million.
Canada’s national dementia strategy, launched in 2019, A Dementia Strategy for Canada: Together We Aspire, sets out a vision for the future and identifies common principles and national objectives to help guide actions by all levels of government, non-government organizations, communities, families and individuals. Research and innovation is one of five pillars underlying the strategy.
Office of the Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.
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