This Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, Dr. Sandra Black, director of the Dr. Sandra Black Centre for Brain Resilience & Recovery at Sunnybrook, joined the airwaves on Global News Radio Toronto, to discuss the latest advances in Alzheimer’s disease research, in addition to ways that people can help protect their brains day-to-day, including getting proper sleep and engaging in physical activity.
Congratulations to Dr. Sandra Black, internationally renowned cognitive and stroke neurologist, and scientific director of the Dr. Sandra Black Centre for Brain Resilience and Recovery at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, who has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology (SBCN). The SBCN is an affiliate society of the American Academy of Neurology. Each year SBCN recognizes outstanding leaders and their contributions to the field of behavioural neurology. “I am quite touched by this honour and grateful to the SBCN for this recognition,” says Dr. Black. “I am also humbled to be included among the SBCN’s esteemed group of Lifetime Achievement Award recipients.” Dr. Black is a cognitive and stroke neurologist at Sunnybrook, senior scientist and research director of the Hurvitz Brain Sciences Program at Sunnybrook Research Institute and professor of medicine (Neurology) at the University of Toronto. She is the inaugural director of the Dr. Sandra Black Centre for Brain Resilience and Recovery, which was recently launched in September 2020. She continues to be a mentor for numerous young faculty and supervisor of 40 graduate students and 48 post-doctoral clinical and research fellows. Over the years, Dr. Black has received several mentorship awards. Dr. Black received the SBCN’s Lifetime Achievement Award at an online ceremony on December 3, 2020.
Dr. Sandra Black gave a talk at INS (Internatinoal Neuropsychological Society) at a Symposium in honour of Don Stuss, on February 7 2020 in Denver, Colorado. The talk was titled “Brain-behavior relationships of White Matter Hyperintensities in aging and dementia: why location matters”.
Dr. Sandra Black gave lecture to MD Students in Graduate Diploma in Health Research Program on the topic entitled “Biomarkers and Biologicals for Dementia: Are we ready and can we afford Precision Medicine”.
In recognition of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) has organized a public event in Toronto on January 23, 2020, from 6-8:30 pm , titled “Supporting Brain Health in Later Life: What the Research Tells Us”. Our Dr. Sandra Black gave a presentation on the topic entitled “The Heart Brain Connection”. For the main event, CCNA researchers will speak on particular aspects of supporting brain health: Dr. Howard Chertkow will start things off by giving an overview of CCNA and the topic of the evening. This will be followed by Dr. Jennifer Campos and Ms. Marilyn Reed presenting on the link between hearing and cognition. Dr. Nicole Anderson will then present on the importance social engagement, and Dr. Sandra Black will present on the heart-brain connection. A discussion period will follow where the attendees will be invited to ask questions about the presentations or what is on their minds about brain health.
Retreat showcases the best in brain sciences at Sunnybrook Research Institute. Dr. Sandra Black, senior scientist and director of the Hurvitz Brain Science Research Program, heralded the research retreat on Jan. 9, 2020 a “fantastic” success. The theme of the day-long event, hosted by the Hurvitz Brain Sciences Research Program, which is directed by senior scientist Dr. Sandra Black, was “Circuits and Circulation Across the Lifespan.” Scientists discussed their findings on fields including neurology, brain imaging, neurobiology, dementia, stroke, psychiatry, and hearing and vision sciences, among others. At 17 talks, the day was overflowing with the sharing of knowledge. During lunch, there was a poster session, where scores of trainees—wall to wall in the adjacent auditorium—presented their research to curious onlookers. High-school students from the Toronto District School Board judged the posters, awarding prizes for the best research.
"Does being on a path to diabetes affect your brain?". Sunnybrook scientists Drs. Bradley MacIntosh and Walter Swardfager led a study showing obesity and high blood sugar, among other traits, are linked to changes in grey matter and poorer memory in adults around 50 years of age.
"Biomarkers and Biologicals for Dementia: Are we ready and can we afford precision medicine?".
"Combination Biomarkers to Guide Combination Therapeutics: can we embrace complexity on the path to precision dementia treatments?".
The Canadian Vascular Network (CVN) Summer School 2019 was hosted in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. This year’s summer school ‘Vascular Health through the Lifespan’ focused on sex differences in heart and brain health. The stimulating program was delivered to trainees with in-depth teaching on: 1) a translational and sex-based approach to vascular diseases, and 2) sex differences in vascular diseases and research. There were opportunities for sharing between trainees and women with lived experience through formal and informal learning sessions. The CVN (CIHR-funded) is a multidisciplinary, pan-Canadian network of researchers committed to improving the health of Canadians through innovative and effective prevention and detection of vascular conditions. More information about the CVN can be found here: https://vascularnetwork.ca/. Leading researcher Dr. Sandra Black was the speaker for the topic "Focus on Sex Differences in Heart and Brain Health".
Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI) is a fully affiliated research and teaching hospital with the University of Toronto. Enabling the next generation to experience and be inspired by science is an important focus of Sunnybrook Research Institute. Dr. Sandra Black gave a special lecture and research presentation for the topic "Precision Medicine in Dementia - Are We Getting There?".
Fondation Leducq (https://www.fondationleducq.org/), promotes international collaborations studying cardiovascular and neurovascular disease. Lead Sunnybrook Leducq coordinator Dr. Sandra Black gave a special lecture and research presentation for the topic "Sunnybrook Research Institute: Group Update" for the Leducq Transatlantic Network Meeting in Paris.
Leading researcher Dr. Sandra Black gave a special lecture and research presentation for the topic "Clinical trials and approaches, the key advances in this field, and what do we see for the future".
The International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS) mission is to encourage, stimulate, and fund ongoing anesthesia-related research projects that will enhance and advance the specialty, and to disseminate current, state-of-the-art, basic and clinical research data in all areas of clinical anesthesia, including perioperative medicine, critical care, and pain management. Leading researcher Dr. Sandra Black was the speaker for the topic "Dementia Update: What’s new in the field".
HSRLCE hosted the ACvSD in May 2019, averaging around 220 delegates. Local, national and international experts share their knowledge with the Centre's trainees, faculty, industry and other healthcare professionals. Leading researcher Dr. Sandra Black was the speaker for the topic "Connecting Heart, Brain, and Mind: The Time is Now!" during Prevention and Health promotion session.
The Neurodegenerative Disease Society of Toronto (NDST), an undergraduate-led organization at the University of Toronto, devotes itself to spreading awareness of neurodegenerative diseases and inspiring the next generation of researchers to ultimately find novel therapies and treatment. NDST hosted its 4th annual research conference on Action Towards Potential. Leading researcher Dr. Sandra Black was the speaker for the topic "Biomarkers for Dementia: are we ready and can we afford precision medicine?".
From Mar 18 - Mar 20, Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences hosted a conference on Aging and Brain Health: Prevention and Early Detection of Dementia. Dr. Sandra Black was the Plenary sessions speaker for "Screening for dementia: Do the eyes have it?"
On Nov. 20 and 21, Sunnybrook and the Canada Gairdner Foundation co-hosted an international symposium on focused ultrasound, a breakthrough technology that could change medicine forever. Dr. Sandra Black was the Chair person for "The future of focused Ultrasound: Perspectives from the clinical coalface" discussion.
From October 14th to 16th, Researchers at Sunnybrook hosted a prestigious meeting for the international partners of the 4th Leducq Transatlantic Network, for a collaboration focussed on “Understanding the role of the perivascular space in cerebral small vessel disease” (https://www.small-vessel-disease.org/). Lead Sunnybrook Leducq coordinator Dr. Sandra Black, along with Drs. Brad MacIntosh, Andrew Lim and Joel Ramirez will welcome attendees from Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Paris, Munich, London, Rochester, New Haven and Los Angeles, for this specialized intense dialogue to elucidate the role of these important spaces surrounding brain blood vessels in clearing toxins and mediating immune cell function in brain health, aging, stroke and Alzheimer’s Disease. The multidisciplinary group is comprised of leading investigators on cognition, imaging, inflammation and cellular function, animal models and metabolomics, whose combined expertise aims to advance the understanding of this important subtype of brain small vessel disease. The contributions of the Sunnybrook team will include many trainees and collaborators of the Sunnybrook scientists hosting the event, covering topics such as the impact of sleep apnea and small vessel disease on the development of Alzheimer’s Disease, and their significant impact on brain health. The project is supported by the Fondation Leducq (https://www.fondationleducq.org/), which promotes international collaborations studying cardiovascular and neurovascular disease. For more information, please contact Melissa Holmes ([email protected]).
Congratulations to Dr. Sandra Black, research program director of the Hurvitz Brain Science Program at Sunnybrook who received an honorary doctor of science from the faculty of applied health sciences at the University of Waterloo, on June 12, 2018. The honorary degree reflects her collaborations over the years with University of Waterloo scientists and recognizes international contributions to stroke and dementia. Learn more about University of Waterloo's Spring 2018 convocation honorary award recipients.
Sunnybrook scientists have made history as they used focused ultrasound to safely and non-invasively breach the blood-brain barrier (BBB) temporarily in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in a clinical trial. “There are many therapeutic drug treatments that do not work or cannot be properly tested in AD (in part) because they can not pass the BBB,” says Dr. Sandra Black, internationally renowned Brill Chair of Neurology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and University of Toronto, and a co-principal investigator of the new trial. “By opening up the BBB using low frequency ultrasound, we’ve taken a small but important step that opens up a whole new vista of possibilities. The hope is there may be a way to eventually open up multiple little windows, in a gentle way, in order to get large molecules like drugs and even stem cells into the brain. But we need to take it one step at a time.”
Dr. Sandra Black, director of the Hurvitz Brain Sciences Research Program at Sunnybrook Research Institute, commented on research linking prolonged use of anticholinergic drugs with physical brain changes and cognitive impairments in older adults. Anticholinergic drugs block the action of a chemical called acetylcholine in the nervous system. They are found in nonprescription allergy and cold medicines such as Benadryl and Dimetapp, as well as drugs to treat urinary incontinence and gastrointestinal symptoms. Researchers studied brain scans and cognitive test results of 451 seniors, including 60 who were taking anticholinergic drugs for at least 30 days. Differences among those taking anticholinergics included reduced brain volume and lower scores on memory tests.
Congratulations to Dr. Sandra Black who has been selected as the 2015 recipient of the Dean’s Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award, University of Toronto, for her internationally recognized accomplishments in stroke and dementia research. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a Faculty of Medicine graduate whose outstanding career achievements have earned them national or international prominence. These contributions can encompass leadership, research, teaching, clinical care, administration or public service. The recipient will have demonstrated the highest level of professionalism and serves as a role model for current and future health care professionals. The award was presented by Dean Trevor Young at the Dean’s Honour Roll Luncheon on November 16, 2015 at the Gairdner Museum. View the Alumni Award video featuring Dr. Black: https://youtu.be/BooFSy3VKiQ
Dr. Black has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada (O.C.), which recognizes national service or achievement. Dr. Sandra Black, Director of the Hurvitz Brain Sciences Research Program at Sunnybrook Research Institute is an internationally renowned cognitive and stroke neurologist. She holds the inaugural Brill Chair in Neurology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto and Sunnybrook, and is the Sunnybrook Site Director of the Heart & Stroke Foundation Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery. As a leading clinical trialist in dementia, she is the current Executive Director of the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance, a multi institutional collaborative network of memory programs at the University of Toronto. In 2011 she was named to the Order of Ontario, “for being an assiduous physician leader and influential architect of the Ontario Stroke System, a specialized continuum from prevention to reintegration.” She has authored/ co-authored over 430 papers in a 25-year research career that has bridged dementia and stroke using neuroimaging to study brain behavior relationships, with a recent focus on interactions of Small Vessel Disease and Alzheimer’s disease. She has earned numerous mentorship and research awards, including election to the Royal Society of Canada in 2012, one of the highest honours accorded to Canadian scholars, cited for “combining enormous dedication to patients with cutting-edge science”.
BrainLab's most recent publication in the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE):
Ramirez, J., Scott, C. J. M., McNeely, A. A., Berezuk, C., Gao, F., Szilagyi, G. M., et al. Lesion Explorer: A Video-guided, Standardized Protocol for Accurate and Reliable MRI-derived Volumetrics in Alzheimer's Disease and Normal Elderly. J. Vis. Exp. (86) (2014).
"Lesion Explorer (LE) is a semi-automatic, image-processing pipeline developed to obtain regional brain tissue and subcortical hyperintensity lesion volumetrics from structural MRI of Alzheimer's disease and normal elderly. To ensure a high level of accuracy and reliability, the following is a video-guided, standardized protocol for LE's manual procedures."
Pubmed link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24797507
Dr. Sandra Black, director of the Brain Sciences Research Program at SRI, co-hosted the 2013 VasCog congress held in Toronto June 25 to 28. There were keynote addresses on vascular factors in dementia and the need for increased global attention to brain health. Other highlights of the congress included debates on whether vascular disease causes Alzheimer's disease, and the significance of microbleeding in the brain in dementia. New this year were workshops held a few days prior to the congress, an innovation introduced by Black due to the vast amount of knowledge streaming from this field. Black says she looks forward to collaborating with researchers from Asia, spurred by the workshop on harmonizing cognitive assessment tools so they can be used everywhere. "We were struggling with issues like how to do a cognitive assessment in Hong Kong, where literacy rates in certain residential areas are low, and with translating some of the assessment tools from English to Mandarin, Cantonese and Korean. The exciting part is that there's a real willingness to do this together because there's so much we gain by working across borders and ethnicities," says Black.
Dr. Sandra Black, Brill Chair in Neurology in the Department of Medicine at Sunnybrook and the University of Toronto, has been named to the Order of Ontario. Created in 1986, the Order of Ontario is the province's highest official honour and recognizes individual excellence and achievement in any field. The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, will invest Dr. Black and 26 other appointees at a ceremony on Thursday, January 26 at Queen's Park. Dr. Black is one of very few clinical scientists who have an international reputation in both stroke and dementia. She has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers, 62 invited chapters and articles, over 620 conference abstracts, and has presented at more than 530 invited lectures and continuing medical education events. Her research interests include vascular cognitive impairment and stroke recovery; the differential diagnosis and management of dementia (including Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal degeneration, and Lewy body disease); and the use of advanced neuroimaging techniques to study brain-behaviour relationships in stroke and dementia, particularly the relationships between Alzheimer's and cerebrovascular disease. Dr. Black is a founding, executive and scientific planning committee member of the International Society of Vascular Cognitive and Behavioural Disorders, and is an executive committee member of the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative and the International Society to Advance Alzheimer's Research and Treatment. She is a founding member of both the Canadian Stroke Consortium of clinical stroke investigators and the equivalent Canadian dementia investigator consortium, the C5R. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Stroke Network, which oversees the Ontario Stroke System, and served as a member of the steering committee of the Canadian Stroke Strategy. Dr. Black was also Head of Neurology at Sunnybrook from 1995 to 2006, the first woman in Canada to serve as the Head of a Neurology Division.
At the recent Canadian Conference on Dementia (CCD) held in Montreal, Dr. Sandra Black, Brill Chair in Neurology, was awarded the Irma M. Parhad Award for Excellence by the Consortium of Canadian Centres for Clinical Cognitive Research (C5R). The award is given annually to an outstanding contributor in the field, who has helped lead the way to better understanding and treatment for patients suffering from cognitive disorders. Dr. Black directs the brain sciences research program and LC Campbell cognitive neurology research group at Sunnybrook Research Institute, and she is also Sunnybrook's site director for the Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery. She is senior scientist at Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute and medical director of the Regional Stroke Centre for North & East GTA. C5R was founded in 1991 by a group of clinician investigators to facilitate sponsored and investigator-driven trials across Canada and has established a platform for knowledge exchange of clinical research and best practices.