Here is the Future

 
 
 

 

THE ZEBRAFISH

This tiny fellow hails from the waters at the foothills of the Himalayas but has found a home - and a very important vocation - here in Atlantic Canada. Because although he may be small, when it comes to cancer research, he is mighty. Especially in the lab of researcher Dr. Jason Berman.

Dr. Berman and his team are growing human cancers in zebrafish to see how the cancers behave and how they respond to an array of drugs. And when we say “see”, we mean that, literally.

“Because zebrafish are transparent, we can directly observe if cancer cells are dividing, migrating or dying in the living fish,” Dr. Berman says. “Live-cell imaging will allow us to see how cancer cells are responding to drugs and interacting with their surrounding environment, much like what happens in patients.”

What this means is that the more closely treatments can be targeted to a particular patient’s cancer, the better the cancer can be eliminated and with fewer side effects.

Dr. Berman and his team are the only lab in Canada, and one of the few in the world, doing this kind of cancer research, which could someday save the life of you or someone you love.

As part of that team, you could say this little fish has certainly earned its stripes.

 

Read more about Dr. Berman’s groundbreaking research.

 

 

 

 

When Leslie Scott invented Jenga, in Ghana, West Africa, she thought she was just inventing a game that her family could enjoy around the kitchen table.

Little did she know that some forty-five years later in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Dr. Rudolf Uher would find a way to make this game a very real building block towards understanding mental illness – not just how to treat it, but how to proactively pre-empt it.

It all began early in his research, when Dr. Uher discovered that one in three children of parents with existing mental illness are likely to have a significant mental illness of their own, later in life. This led him to believe that if children are given tools to cope with mental illness early on, there’s a chance it could be significantly reduced as they grow up.

Enter Jenga.

The children and adolescents involved in Dr. Uher’s study meet with his team of researchers to talk, do activities and play games, including Jenga. This “play” approach allows researchers to gather information about their health, school experiences and learning abilities. From there, his team is able to help children develop healthy behavioural and thought patterns, which will help them solve current difficulties as well as help prevent mental illness from developing later on.

As Dr. Uher’s team has discovered, if games can help prevent one child from developing mental illness, we all win.

 

Learn more about Dr. Uher’s life-changing research.

 

 

 

 

In 1958, William Higinbothom, a physicist from Bridgeport, Connecticut, invented the world’s first video game, called “Tennis for Two”. Simplistic in design, it was nevertheless extremely – and prophetically - popular during its short-lived exhibition.

Little did Higinbothom know, back then, that the “fun factor” inherent in video games would one day be used to help those with brain injuries or diseases, such as Parkinson’s, to retrain their brain. Dr. Gail Eskes is doing just that.

This field of research is known as brain neuroplasticity, although you could call it making the impossible, probable. After all, not long ago it was the accepted belief that there was no way to fix a damaged brain. But recent scientific research, including Dr. Eskes’ work, has shown that it’s possible to improve and repair those functions of the mind.

Dr. Eskes and her team have developed a suite of computer “brain training” exercises to target attention and working memory problems. “We are putting this together to create video game-like exercises that adapt to the level of each individual, provide feedback, and make it fun to “take your medicine”.

The main goal of Dr. Eskes' research is to apply their findings to the development of better interventions for cognitive problems in order to improve function and quality of life - not just for those who suffer from brain injuries or disease, but their loved ones and those who care for them.

An outcome that is a win-win for all.

 

Learn more about Dr. Gail Eskes innovative and important research.