About the Project
Why is this project important?
It was once believed that there was no way to fix a damaged brain. There was little understanding of the impact of stroke and Parkinson’s disease on attention, memory and thinking.
Stroke and Parkinson’s disease often affect cognitive abilities which make normal activities like driving, paying bills, and even going back to work difficult. The good news? Recent scientific research has shown that it’s possible to improve and repair those functions of the mind with brain exercises.
Our experts at the Brain Repair Centre are working with research volunteers to understand which exercises help improve cognitive abilities. Our goal is to help therapists develop personalized treatment plans for patients. The treatment plans will help patients regain independence in everyday activities and improve their quality of life.
The Cognitive Repair Kit is designed to make brain rehabilitation at home possible.
Our current research is focused on developing tools that help us identify the most appropriate activities and exercises for each individual based on their unique needs.
To develop these tools, we are working on a number of projects.
For example, in one project we’re working to develop a set of computer activities that can provide an ‘attention report card.’ It highlights an individual’s strengths and weaknesses when completing these activities that require focus and concentration.
In another project, we’re developing and testing brain exercises to improve attention and thinking. Research volunteers complete these exercises daily using their own computers at home.
When we can reliably predict what effects the exercises will have on the brain, it will be possible to put together a unique treatment plan based on a person’s specific needs as identified in the attention report card.
Who will benefit?
The Cognitive Repair Kit will help individuals affected by stroke or Parkinson’s disease to improve their attention, memory and thinking. Doing this will improve their quality of life.
Family and friends of these individuals will also benefit by knowing that their loved ones can work towards independence.
In the future, our research team hopes to expand the application of the Cognitive Repair Kit. Their goal is to treat various other conditions as well—like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The team is also looking at the option of using the Cognitive Repair Kit to aid a healthy aging process for seniors.
Our team of researchers, Dalhousie students, and programmers are currently testing the software and brain exercises on a group of healthy volunteers. The group includes university students and older adults.
Our team is currently testing the Cognitive Repair Kit on individuals affected by stroke and Parkinson’s disease.
When our research is complete, our partners will help make the Cognitive Repair Kit widely available. Then more people will be able to access this proven treatment for brain rehabilitation.