University of Saskatchewan

August 01, 2014   

New Research Chair at U of S to Explore Link Between Depression and Alzheimer's Disease

Mousseau, recipient of Saskatchewan Research Chair in Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia, is a professor of psychiatry and Associate Dean (Acting) of Graduate Studies and Research
April 07, 2010

Prepared by the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan and the U of S

University of Saskatchewan researcher Darrell Mousseau has been awarded a Saskatchewan Research Chair worth $1 million over the next five years to study a link between Alzheimer's disease and depression.

Mousseau’s Chair, announced today at the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan offices in Regina, is the first to be awarded under the new Saskatchewan Research Chairs Program of the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF).

“Through our government’s funding of the SHRF we are pleased to support this wonderful investment that will have tangible benefits for people and families around the world who are touched by Alzheimer’s disease and will enhance Saskatchewan’s reputation as a leader in this area of health research,” Saskatchewan Minister of Health Don McMorris says.

This Chair, in Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia, is a partnership among SHRF, the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, and the University of Saskatchewan. Each funding partner provides $100,000 per year for five years, while the U of S provides the necessary infrastructure and support for the Chair.

Mousseau, a professor in the U of S College of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry, together with his team has found that an enzyme that plays an important role in depression can severely weaken brain cells and perhaps trigger the processes that lead to Alzheimer’s disease. The team will also look at the role of antidepressants in this process.

“With depression affecting eight per cent of the general population, I worry that more and more will develop Alzheimer’s or dementia at even younger ages,” Mousseau says.

The next steps will be to find a way to detect the disease in its very early stages and develop treatments to slow or even prevent it.

Joanne Bracken, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, is optimistic that Mousseau’s research will help unlock the secrets of Canada’s second most feared disease – an epidemic that threatens to overwhelm the healthcare system.

“Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders,” she says. “Our hope is the work of Dr. Mousseau and his team will bring us significantly closer to making this vision a reality.”

June Bold, CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, agrees: “Alzheimer’s disease is a huge health issue for our province, but also for the rest of Canada. With this Saskatchewan Research Chair, we hope to help Saskatchewan researchers take a lead role in finding the causes and a cure for this devastating disease.”

“This Chair builds on outstanding U of S health research that is making a difference to the health care of people in Saskatchewan and beyond," said U of S Vice-President Research Karen Chad."This investment will also help expand Saskatchewan’s base of research talent by training graduate students and other research personnel for careers in health research.”

Launched in 2008, SHRF’s Saskatchewan Research Chairs Program aims to support the work of current health researchers and attract top talent from elsewhere to help build capacity in areas where Saskatchewan has specific needs and strengths. SHRF hopes to have 10 Chairs in place once the program is fully deployed in the coming years.

The Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (www.shrf.ca) is the provincial agency that funds and facilitates health research in Saskatchewan. SHRF works in partnership with other organizations locally, provincially, and nationally to foster world-leading research.

The Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan (www.alzheimer.sk.ca) is a charitable organization that provides support, education, and information, advocates for the best care possible for people with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers, and supports research efforts into finding the cause and cure of Alzheimer's disease.

For further information, contact:

Michael Robin
Communications Manager
SHRF
(306) 975-1680

Donna Bowler
Communications Manager
Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan
(306) 949-4141

Kathryn Warden
U of S Research Communications Director
(306) 966-2506

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