Impact

There has never been a more unique way to train for brain health!

We’re taking a dynamic and brave group of donors on a life-changing journey, helping them develop skills that are vital for “brain healthy” aging. By jumping into this journey to transform your body and mind in preparation for Baycrest’s SEALFIT Challenge, you will experience a program that incorporates all the elements we know to be beneficial to brain-healthy aging. It is designed specifically to foster the social connection, teamwork and physical grit required to cement lasting friendships and build a healthier body; all of which reinforces the prevention of dementia! And it is all supported by the research and development that happens every day at Baycrest.

Baycrest’s researchers are constantly making discoveries, including finding out that the risk of dementia rises threefold for socially isolated older adults. They also found that no matter your age, maintaining an extensive, but close, social network can reduce the risk. It’s important to have a network where you feel connected and supported by your friends, especially since Baycrest researchers have identified that chronic stress and anxiety could damage the brain and increase the risk of developing depression and/or dementia.

Similarly, we now know that getting and staying fit earlier in life through physical activity goes a long way toward caring for your future brain health. One recent Baycrest study even suggests that exercising while young could have protective effects on memory as we age. Other studies have found that even inactive older adults improved their memory and problem-solving skills after enrolling in a fitness program that involved one-hour walks at a brisk pace, three times a week, for six to nine months.

Early or young onset dementia symptoms start before the age of 65. Currently, this form of the disease accounts for an estimated 2% – 8% of all dementia cases in Canada – that’s around 16,000 people.

Dr. Jennifer Ryan, senior scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute is conducting critical research that will pave the way to preventing and catching the disease early on. By harnessing cutting-edge, eye-tracking technology, Baycrest could create a test to identify early onset dementia symptoms without a word from the patient.

Eyetracking? What?

Recording your eye movements can reveal more information about our memories than you would expect. As we remember information, our eyes move a certain way. People with memory problems and other brain disorders literally look at the world differently and show subtle variations in their eye movements. Early onset dementia can be difficult to diagnose since its symptoms are similar to other conditions, such as depression and heart disease. Other advantage of using eyetracking to diagnose brain changes is that it isn’t affected by educational or language barriers.

Why support our research?

  • Memory starts to decline starting as early as your 30s and 40s
  • Symptoms may be similar to other conditions  (e.g., depression, heart disease)
  • Treatments may be more effective if administered early
  • Facebook, Google and Apple have all recognized the potential of eye-tracking technology since they all bought companies specializing in it

Baycrest Health Sciences is a global leader in aging brain health, developing innovations in care, research and education to enhance the health and well-being of older adults at home and around the world. For more information, visit www.baycrest.org.

About Baycrest

Baycrest Health Sciences is a global leader in aging brain health, developing innovations in care, research and education to enhance the health and well-being of older adults at home and around the world. For more information, visit www.baycrest.org.