Neurodegenerative Disorders

Why study neurodegenerative disorders?

An estimated 285,000 individuals in Ontario currently live with some form of neurodegenerative disorder such as, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, and vascular cognitive impairment.

The symptoms of these disorders vary, but they share a common and gradual decline in a person’s cognitive abilities and memory resulting from a progressive loss of brain cells or brain cell function. This affects an individual’s ability to work and socialize, and the loss of independence places a huge burden on family and caregivers. As our population ages, the number of people affected and the cost of treatment is expected to rise dramatically.

Why study different neurodegenerative disorders together?

Dementia is the progressive decline in thinking ability and memory that significantly impairs the daily function of an individual. Neurodegeneration, the progressive death of brain cells, is the root cause of dementia. Several neurodegenerative diseases cause dementia, with the most common being Alzheimer`s disease (AD) followed by Parkinson’s-Lewy body disease (PD-LBD). Importantly, neurodegenerative brain changes are also frequently associated with vascular disease of the brain (vascular cognitive impairment [VCI]), making mixed disease common in the aging population. There is an urgent need to understand markers that will predict decline and to identify targets for therapy that might improve longer-term function and outcomes. Yet there are very few longitudinal studies comparing detailed clinical, physiological and brain imaging features across diseases to look for similarities, differences and targets for intervention.

ONDRI: Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative

  • The overall mission of the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative (ONDRI) is to catalyze advances in neurodegenerative disease research that improve diagnosis, prognosis, care and outcomes for Ontarians with neurodegenerative diseases and those that support them.

    Over the long-term, this program aims to lay a foundation for innovative interventions aimed at identifying people at risk for disease or decline faster, and more effectively and to promote the best care for people living with neurodegeneration and their families.

    ONDRI has set out to examine both differences and similarities between neurodegenerative diseases such as: Alzheimer’s disease (AD), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Parkinson’s disease (PD), vascular cognitive impairment (VCI), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ONDRI is one of the first studies of its kind, aimed at breaking down traditional clinical diagnostic silos.

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  • ONDRI: The Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative

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