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March 7, 2014

UBC Opens its ‘World Leading’ Centre for Brain Health

Canada’s largest integrated centre for brain health is now open, bringing together research and patient care to improve the way brain disorders are treated and studied.

The University of British Columbia’s Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health (DMCBH) puts neuroscience, psychiatry, and neurology under one roof. It houses clinics for Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and depression. It also includes research labs focused on concussion, stroke, addiction, and healthy aging.

The DMCBH will serve as an education and training facility for hundreds of medical and graduate students.

The Centre’s namesake is a Vancouver philanthropist who donated $15 million to the project. Mowafaghian’s contribution is the largest donation ever made to UBC’s Faculty of Medicine. His commitment to brain health is personal, having suffered a stroke a year ago. He is 84-years-old.

Dr. Max Cynader, director of the DMCBH, says a major focus at the Centre is the study of neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to change as a function as how it is used or misused. “We’re very interested in enhancing the plasticity of the brain,” says Cynader. “If we can do this, we hope to not only give you a better memory as you get older (instead of having it get worse), but also to promote recovery from injury, recovery from diseases like stroke, and generally to enhance your cognition.”

Brain dysfunction affects one in three Canadians from early childhood to old age. It’s expected to overtake heart disease and cancer as the leading cause of death and disability in Canada by 2020.

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