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GERONTO-McGILL
BULLETIN OF THE McGILL CENTRE FOR STUDIES IN AGING
January - February 2007 ISSN 0838-2263 Volume 23, No. 1
HARVESTING STEM
ARE WE READY TO AGE?
An interview with Dr. Stéphane Ledoux, M.D., Clinical Neurologist

CELLS WITHOUT
and Researcher, McGill Centre for Studies in Aging and Cité de
DAMAGING EMBRYOS:
la santé, Laval
COULD NEW RESEARCH
MAKE OLD NEWS OF
AN ETHICAL DEBATE?

will develop Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Every year in the United States, 360,000older adults receive an AD diagnosis. In people ages 65 and up, and the prevalence doubles roughly every 10 years after 65.
for which there are few effectivetreatments, including neurodegenerative diseases and other maladies associatedwith aging. On the other hand, theethical debate rages on because POLICY AND POLITICS
HOW WELL ARE CANADIAN SENIORS DOING? THE
2006 REPORT CARD OF THE NATIONAL ADVISORY
a patient would be associated withthe destruction of that embryo.
COUNCIL ON AGING
on finding alternative sources for stemcells, with umbilical cord blood andeven skin having populations of stem How are Canadian seniors doing? How talking to experts in gerontology, seniors’ officials working in aging and seniors’ 4.2 million persons aged 65 or older. This IN THIS ISSUE
Embryonic stem cells: end of the debate . . . . . . . . . 1 Interview with Stéphane Ledoux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 whether the situation had improved, gotten How well are Canadian seniors doing?. . . . . . . . . . . 1 worse, or remained the same over the last Does your doctor google? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 questions with their 2006 Report Card, by Memory and cognitive intervention . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Men’s health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 GERONTO-McGILL
An interview with Dr. Stéphane Ledoux, M.D., Clinical Neurologist and Researcher,
McGill Centre for Studies in Aging and Cité de la santé, Laval
(Continued from page 1)

have this most common form of dementia.
and with a detailed neurological exam.
definitive cure for the disease are in large the two proven risk factors for AD are age and a family history of the disorder.
the Université de Montréal and then went increases one's risk, particularly if the to McGill University for his specialization because of the progressive and irreversible the disease (beginning before age 65) that neurologist based at the Cité de la Santé factors may also increase one's risk. Some injury, lower levels of formal education, brain cells. In addition, another protein things interact to produce the disease in deforms and collapses into neurofibrillary its clinic and academic training programs and experiences early in life may also play a role in the eventual development of AD.
clinical work with patients and exposureto the basic research aimed treatment that halts the progression of AD of directly preventing AD from developing is very hopeful however; in fact he states is involved in the evaluation, treatment, that within the next two years there will treatment has definitely proven clinically with cognitive disorders and diseases such a ways to go before we regard age-related optimism to the clinical trials designed to Centre’s efforts in several ways. First, he for Studies in Aging being on the forefront of these drug trials. Moreover, Dr. Ledoux Dr. Ledoux explains that most are referred is well positioned to offer such an opinion most of us tend to take little notice of the pathological aging in some form is taking involved in monitoring the effects of these realities of aging. What exactly underlies GERONTO-McGILL
HOW WELL ARE CANADIAN SENIORS DOING? THE 2006 REPORT CARD OF THE
NATIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL ON AGING
(Continued from page 1)
views known by filling out the evaluation condition remain high and quality of care form at the end of the report and send it to physicians is worsening. Concern has also of geriatricians. On the whole, seniors are that Canadian seniors are doing well, with satisfied with their medical care, but if of care are not addressed, this may change.
to be generally healthy (B-), and fairly well Clearly, the level of health care seniors served by the healthcare system (C+).
receive is of critical importance for their overall health, and improvements will need that there are very positive findings, but Seniors in Canada: 2006 Report Card, National Advisory Council on Aging. limitations. The most important of these is http://www.naca-ccnta.ca/rc2006/index.htm that it mainly reflects younger, healthier seniors. This is because the data are taken Canada’s Seniors: A Growing Population. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/seniors- well, self-assessments of physical health, aines/pubs/factoids/2001/pdf/1-37_e.pdf health as good, very good or excellent, up seniors who are no longer living at home. quality of life than even 5 years ago. What conditions like hypertension, diabetes and surveys used in this report did not include seniors living in the Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories. Although this is seniors, the particular challenges of aging adults living in Canada’s North are not well healthcare system is the area in greatest 2006 Report Card is definitely worth a read wellbeing of Canada’s aging population. GERONTO-McGILL
HARVESTING STEM CELLS WITHOUT DAMAGING EMBRYOS: COULD NEW
RESEARCH MAKE OLD NEWS OF AN ETHICAL DEBATE?
(Continued from page 1)
Y. Chung, I. Klimanskaya, S. Becker, J. researchers in the United States looked at womb. In their remarkable study, Chung et Marh, S.J. Lu, J. Johnson, L. Meisner & extraembryonic stem cell lines derived blastomere – or a tiny ball of cells – at that an embryo without it being destroyed.
that the answer to this question is ‘yes’.
after the micro-dissection of cells. Thus, already widely used to diagnose potential destruction of … embryos would reduce or eliminate the ethical concerns of many.” DOES YOUR DOCTOR GOOGLE?
by Tania Elaine Schramek
(there are always several…) is definitely boy that they could not explain the cause The answer to this question is a resounding “knowledge is power”; we simply have to be doctors using Google, no one could hold all getting the correct information because they existing medical facts in their heads, so and that a simple internet query using the use the right key words for their searches.
internet search engines are indeed useful the answer. The father was correct, leaving to the lay person who can get totally lost or even worse, end up thinking that their days are numbered! Just as a case in point, take Source:
Hangwi Tang & Jennifer Hwee Kwoon Ng (2006). Googling for a diagnosis—use of dizziness, and weakness. The resulting links Google as a diagnostic aid: internet based to possible diagnoses range from migraine to cancer. Clearly, this can add to one’s them to the real diagnoses in the medical diagnosis to address unanswered questions GERONTO-McGILL
IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY: COGNITIVE
An interview with
INTERVENTION IS EFFECTIVE FOR HEALTHY
Dr. Stéphane Ledoux, M.D.,
Clinical Neurologist and

OLDER ADULTS AND PEOPLE WITH MILD
Researcher, McGill Centre
COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT
for Studies in Aging and
Cité de la santé, Laval
(Continued from page 2)

Everyone would like to improve their memory. Just as exercise trains the body, answers but he did allude to the it may be possible to design a “fitness program” for our memory. This is especially important for individuals suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI is defined as impaired memory performance in older adults without general cognitive impairment or dementia. MCI is important because individuals with this disorder are much more likely to develop dementia over a 2-3-year period than the general population.
It is hoped that interventions aimed at MCI may improve quality of life for these absolutely no choice is aging.
individuals and even slow down the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. In a recent paper in Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, Drs. Sylvie Belleville, Brigitte Gilbert, Francine Fontaine, Lise Gagnon, Édith Ménard, and Serge Gauthier reported that healthy older adults and individuals with MCI showed improvement in face-name associations and memory for lists after completing an 8-week cognitive intervention program aimed at improving memory, attention, and stress management. In contrast, those subjects who did not receive the memory training showed no improvement over the same time period, and MCI patients even showed a small decline. What is especially exciting about these results is that the memory improvement seen in subjects with MCI was on memory tasks that are known to deteriorate in Alzheimer’s Disease patients. This provides some hope that even brief memory training courses may be useful for MCI sufferers and maybe even reduce the chances of developing dementia later on. But since healthy older adults also showed memory improvement, a little memory workout is probably good for everyone. Now, everybody Reference:
Belleville, S., Gilbert, B., Fontaine, F., Gagnon, L., Ménard, E., & Gauthier, S. (2006). Improvement of Episodic Memory in Persons with Mild Cognitive Impairment and Healthy Older Adults: Evidence from a Cognitive Intervention Program. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 22, 886-499. GERONTO-McGILL
SCIENCE HERE AND NOW
DR. SERGE CARRIER: MEN’S HEALTH SPECIALIST
by Daniel Auld
Evette Beshay decided to look at oxidative Division of Urology at McGill University.
evidence of oxidative stress in the bladders of the diabetic rats. From their work, they his major research interests, which relate the bladder could contribute to the bladder McGILL CENTRE FOR STUDIES
member of the scientific committee for the 2nd Canadian Society for the Study of the and improve the treatment options for men Tel.: (514) 766-2010 / Fax: (514) 888-4050 conference. Dr. Carrier is another example EDITORIAL TEAM
of how vibrant the Montreal aging research for treating erectile dysfunction. In this EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Sonia Lupien (Douglas Hospital, MCSA) S Carrier et al. (2005) Efficacy and safety Dr. Carrier and his colleagues found that of oral tadalafil in the treatment of men in Canada with erectile dysfunction: a randomized, double-blind, parallel, ADMINISTRATOR
intercourse than was the placebo (no drug) placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal treatment. In terms of his other research JOURNALISTS
interests, Dr. Carrier has been active in Beshay E, Carrier S. (2004) Oxidative stress plays a role in diabetes-induced known to affect the bladder in a condition bladder dysfunction in a rat model. (Douglas Hospital Research Centre) called diabetic cystopathy, which results (Douglas Hospital Research Centre) TRANSLATION
LAYOUT AND PRINTING
Imprimerie Miro inc.
It is with great pleasure that Geronto-McGill this in mind, Dr. Carrier and his colleague accepts that our articles be reproduced,distributed, transmitted, published, orbroadcasted in part or in their entiretyelsewhere. We kindly ask however thatyour organization simply obtain writtenpermission to do so by contactingsilvana.aguzzi@mcgill.ca.
WE THANK NOVARTIS
FOR THEIR GENEROUS SUPPORT TO
THE GERONTO-MCGILL.

Source: http://aging.mcgill.ca/pdf/200701GM_E.pdf

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