Health sciences in Montréal: 5 recent breakthroughs and updates

published on October 15, 2020
What's New in Montréal Trends and Technology

Montréal is one of North America’s leading hubs when it comes to health sciences. The reasons for this success are multifaceted, but largely influenced by our thriving research communities and cutting-edge universities. Each week, new discoveries and announcements are made. Here are some of the top recent stories.

 

$12.5 million awarded to Montréal team to study Parkinson’s Disease

A group of scientists at the Université de Montréal, The Neuro (Montréal Neurological Institute-Hospital), and McGill University has been awarded a major research grant of over $12.5 million from the Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s initiative over the next three years to study Parkinson’s disease. This Montréal interdisciplinary group will be investigating a new aspect of Parkinson’s disease centred around their breakthrough discovery of the contribution of autoimmune mechanisms in the disease. Read more.

 

Discovery of a new key player in long-term memory

How do short-term memories (which last just a few hours) transform into long-term memories (which may last years)? It’s been known for decades that this process, called memory consolidation, requires the synthesis of new proteins in brain cells. But until now, it hasn’t been known which subtypes of neurons were involved in the process. A McGill-led multi-institutional research team has discovered that during memory consolidation, there are at least two distinct processes taking place in two different brain networks. Read more.

 

Girls benefit from doing sports

Sure, the headline seems sort of obvious. We all benefit from physical activity, right? But girls—but not boys—who participate actively in school sports activities in middle childhood show improved behaviour and attentiveness in early adolescence, suggests a new Montréal study published in Preventative Medicine. Read more.

 

Trust and income inequality fuelling spread of COVID-19

Another potentially obvious headline comes with some nuanced data, if we look closer. The study led by McGill researchers is the first to show how global differences in COVID-19 mortality relate to income inequality. It also includes surveys on social trust and confidence in public institutions. A lack of confidence in state institutions was associated with more deaths—consistent with research during the SARS and H1N1 pandemics. Read more.

 

Researchers develop a yeast-based platform to boost production of rare natural molecules.

Many modern medicines are derived from rare molecules found in plants and bacteria. While they are effective against a host of ailments, a number of these molecules have proven to be difficult to produce in large quantities. In a new study, this Concordia research outlines a method to synthesize complex bioactive molecules much more quickly and efficiently. Read more.

 

Read this next: Bio research leader GEO BON is moving to Montréal!

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