Rona Graham, PhD
Laboratoire de vieillissement et pathogenèse des maladies neurodégénératives
Maladie de Huntington, Maladie d’Alzheimer, neurodégénérescence, vieillissement, olfaction, neurogénèse, modèle murin et apoptose
Chaire de recherche du Canada sur les maladies neurodégénératives
The prevalence of age-related neurodegenerative disorders is increasing dramatically as people live longer and now affects millions of people worldwide. At the present time there are no effective therapies for many of these conditions, and there is a lack of affordable, expeditive biomarkers to predict and/or monitor disease progression. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly evident that physicians need practical clinical tools that integrate knowledge across multiple domains of function in order to make evidence-based personal decisions for their patients. Olfactory dysfunction and altered neurogenesis are observed in several neurological disorders including Alzheimer, Parkinson and Huntington disease. These deficits can occur early in the phenotype and correlate with global cognitive performance, depression and degeneration of olfactory regions in the brain. These data suggest that olfactory dysfunction is a potential biomarker of future cognitive impairment and may be useful as an endpoint in clinical or murine neurodegenerative therapeutic trials. The overall goal of our research is to establish if olfactory dysfunction accurately predicts impending cognitive decline in humans and to determine the underlying mechanism(s) responsible in order to define novel therapeutic approaches for neurodegenerative diseases. Importantly, research now shows there are a number of similar mechanisms involved in these disorders at the cellular level, which suggests that common treatments may be of benefit for some neurological diseases. Identification of biomarkers will contribute substantially to our understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease and brain-behaviour relationships, and enable assessment of the efficacy of putative therapies. The end result is to help identify treatments that could delay or prevent brain degeneration.