Behind the Breakthrough
Check out UHN’s Krembil Brain Institute podcast, Your Complex Brain

Check out UHN’s Krembil Brain Institute podcast, Your Complex Brain

March 18, 2022

We're thrilled to be producing season four for you! But until then check out our friend's at UHN's Krembil Brain Institute and their podcast, Your Complex Brain. 

 

Explore the myths, mysteries, and medical breakthroughs of the most complex and powerful organ in your body – your brain. Weaving together expert interviews with heartfelt, inspiring snapshots of the patients and family members in the middle of it all, Heather Sherman dives into the latest science on Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, epilepsy, stroke, concussion, spinal cord injury, brain cancer and other brain diseases and disorders. Along the way she uncovers surprising insights, sheds light on the latest research, and shares heroic, real-life stories from the people on the front lines. Brought to you by Krembil Brain Institute at UHN, one of the largest and most comprehensive neurological centres in North America.

Behind the Breakthrough Special Edition - ”UHN Oral History Project’” with Dr Alan Hudson

Behind the Breakthrough Special Edition - ”UHN Oral History Project’” with Dr Alan Hudson

February 28, 2022

In Episode 2 of “UHN Oral History Project” we sit down to chat with Dr. Alan Hudson a renowned neurosurgeon, researcher, and teacher who was President and CEO of UHN starting in 1991 until 2000 when he retired. Dr. Hudson's legacy includes the integration of hospitals that created the University Health Network.  The "UHN Special History Project" features in depth conversations with former leaders of the UHN in Toronto, Canada's largest research and teaching hospital. 

Behind the Breakthrough Special Edition -  ”UHN Oral History Project” with Dr. Bernie Langer

Behind the Breakthrough Special Edition - ”UHN Oral History Project” with Dr. Bernie Langer

February 25, 2022

The “UHN Oral History Project”  launches with an in-depth conversation with Dr. Bernie Langer, an exceptional surgeon and visionary leader whose career at Toronto General Hospital spanned almost 40 years until his retirement in 2002. The "UHN Oral History Project" is a special series featuring interviews with former leaders of the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada's largest research and teaching hospital. This debut episode is dedicated to Dr. Langer who died February 23, 2022.

Dr. Angela Cheung pioneers research on the symptoms and treatment for long hauler Covid patients

Dr. Angela Cheung pioneers research on the symptoms and treatment for long hauler Covid patients

December 8, 2021

Award winning UHN researcher Dr. Angela Cheung reveals how she decided to pivot her more than two decades of research on Osteoporosis to the study of long haul Covid. Along with UHN colleague Dr. Margaret Herridge and a team of researchers across Canada Dr. Cheung has discovered over 100 symptoms for long Covid, that it affects women more than men, but men get more acute symptoms. Dr. Cheung foresees the need for clinical practice – particularly primary care physicians and family doctors will be involved for years to come in the monitoring and treatment of long haul patients.

Dr. Andres Lozano on investigating DBS to treat Alzheimer’s disease

Dr. Andres Lozano on investigating DBS to treat Alzheimer’s disease

December 6, 2021

Imagine that we could rescue forgotten memories. With Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) that may be possible. Originally hypothesized as a treatment for obesity, Dr. Lozano discusses how we use electrodes to upregulate or down regulate the electrical activity in the brain to elicit memories. In a way the hope is that we can use electricity to restore normal brain activity.

Dr. Babak Taati on pioneering the use of computer vision to help seniors live safer, healthier lives.

Dr. Babak Taati on pioneering the use of computer vision to help seniors live safer, healthier lives.

November 26, 2021

Pain is often under-diagnosed and under-treated among older adults, especially those with dementia, who have trouble communicating their discomfort. Additionally, approximately 60 per cent of older adults with dementia suffer a fall each year. Dr. Babak Taati is among a group of researchers in Canada aiming to tackle these problems using computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI).

 

In this episode of Behind the Breakthrough, we learn how Dr. Taati’s work involves using ambient monitoring systems to assess and analyze the movement and facial expressions of older adults to detect signs of pain and predict the likelihood of future falls, all while they go about their daily lives. He also discusses the ethical considerations of ambient monitoring techniques, from privacy concerns to working to eliminate ageism and ableism in the technology used.

 

 

Dr. Joan Wither on searching for the genetic and immune system abnormalities that lead to systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases

Dr. Joan Wither on searching for the genetic and immune system abnormalities that lead to systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases

November 18, 2021

Dr. Joan Wither and her team are working on a series of biological tests that will better predict the progression of systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases, such as Lupus and Sjogren’s Disease. She discusses the importance of studying patients at various points throughout the disease, whether in a disease-dormant or flare-up state, which creates somewhat of an immune response timeline and profile.

Dr. Gang Zheng on harnessing the promise of nanotechnology for the detection and treatment of cancer

Dr. Gang Zheng on harnessing the promise of nanotechnology for the detection and treatment of cancer

November 12, 2021

Nanoscience is the study of the small, the really small. Consider this; a nanoparticle can be as small as one-billionth of a metre. Nanotechnology in medicine is having a moment, with the profile and perception of the approach raised since it played a role in the development of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. But for Dr. Gang Zheng, the science of the very small and how it can be harnessed in cancer care has been a pursuit of passion for years.

In this episode, Dr. Zheng talks us through his development of a unique nontoxic nanoparticle, a porphysome, made by combining lipid or fat particles with a compound derived from pacific algae.  This so-called Swiss army knife of nanoparticles has the potential to significantly improve the way cancers are detected and treated, from targeted drug delivery to ablation of the tumour from within using light.

Dr. Zheng also discusses the importance of collegiality and collaboration in science and the pride he takes in mentoring and training the next-gen of doers and thinkers, who in turn have dubbed themselves ‘Gangsters’ in his honour. And how he remains driven by one goal above all others – to make a positive impact on cancer patients' lives.

Dr. Jordan Feld on shifting from discovering a pill that cures Hepatitis C to investigating a treatment for mild COVID

Dr. Jordan Feld on shifting from discovering a pill that cures Hepatitis C to investigating a treatment for mild COVID

November 8, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic shocked everyone around the world - even those who study viruses such as Dr. Jordan Feld. In 2015, Dr. Feld led a groundbreaking international trial that made the breakthrough discovery of a pill that cures Hepatitis C. When the pandemic hit, he shifted gears and led another pioneering investigation into a treatment for the Coronavirus using Interferon Lambda. After a successful phase one and two trial, it is currently in phase three with more patients enrolled.

Compounding the urgency for COVID-19 treatments, Dr. Feld was juggling the approval process for his trial with the birth of his third son. He touches on the impact the pandemic had on research, how his team maintained a safe environment during the trial and what it means to be a mentor.

Dr. Catherine O’Brien on the world-first discovery that colorectal cancer cells hibernate like bears to evade chemotherapy

Dr. Catherine O’Brien on the world-first discovery that colorectal cancer cells hibernate like bears to evade chemotherapy

November 1, 2021

Chemotherapy works by essentially poisoning cancer cells, which grow more quickly than most normal cells, and thus absorb a lot of the toxic drugs. It has been regarded as a standard treatment in cancer care for decades, and can work wonders, especially early in a person’s treatment. But over time, these drugs may stop working. Dr. Catherine O’Brien and her team at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre were trying to figure out how cancer cells apparently become resistant to chemotherapy when they made the discovery that the cells can enter a state akin to hibernation to avoid the toxic onslaught of the drugs.

In this episode of the Behind the Breakthrough, Dr O’Brien discusses how her team made this groundbreaking discovery and how it may lead to unique therapeutic opportunities for patients in the future. She also discusses the importance of making connections between different scientific disciplines, and how a Grade 10 career day spent with a female surgeon inspired her to pursue a career in surgery herself.

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