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Minding your Brain

A free day-long event showcasing the best strategies and the latest science for patients, caregivers and anyone curious about neurology

Time & Location

Sat Oct 14, 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Palais des congrès de Montréal,  
5th floor, Rooms 520

200 Viger Street West, Montreal or Place-d'Armes Métro

Parking: 1025 Chenneville (turn right off Viger Street)

Anchor 1


  • Talks presented in English and French in separate rooms.  

  • Schedule of talks in French, available here

10:00 - 10:05 

Tarah Schwartz, Host, Health Matters 


10:05 - 10:35 

Gene therapy: a game changer for neurological treatment 
Recently Zolgensma made news as the world’s most expensive drug. It is a one-time treatment that works by replacing missing genetic code. It is also the first gene therapy approved for a neurological condition, a rare hereditary disease called spinal muscular atrophy. This talk will discuss how gene therapy works, and how it offers hope for other neurological conditions. 

Dr. Maryam Oskoui, Neurologist, Montreal Children’s Hospital, MUHC 


10:45 - 11:15 

Brain health 101: expert tips on keeping your brain fit 

Surprisingly, brain performance starts to decline soon after it peaks in our 30s. But significant brain changes are still possible throughout the course of our life. Research has shown that simple lifestyle choices may influence the trajectory of our brain function at mid-life, when we are most concerned about it. We’ll discuss evidence-based strategies that may be helpful in keeping the brain healthy. 

Dr. Étienne de Villers-Sidani, Cognitive Neurologist, The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) 





11:35 - 12:05   

Cultivating resilience: simple strategies for patients and loved ones 
This talk will focus on how to better manage stress in patients and family when a neurological condition is present. It will address the four mental states most frequently encountered in facing stress along with simple, low-cost strategies to establish a healthy balance between them. 

Rachel Thibeault, Occupational Therapist, Consultant in Psychological Resilience and Peer Support  




13:30 - 13:35 

Welcome back 
Tarah Schwartz, Host, Health Matters 


13:35 - 14:05  

Plugged in: How AI and implants will improve care for neurological disorders  

Brain implants that deliver electrical stimulation to the nervous system have been used to treat neurological disorders, including deep-brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease and spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain. A new generation of implants is using artificial intelligence (AI) to decode brain activity in real-time and pinpoint stimulation more accurately. This talk will focus on the potential and limits of this new technology.  

Dr. David Bergeron, Neurosurgery Resident, Clinician-Investigator program, Université de Montréal 


14:15 - 14:45 

Boogie on the brain: Recovering joy and mobility after a stroke through adapted dance  
After a stroke, it's important to be active to stimulate brain plasticity and foster recovery. All forms of stimulation are important -- physical, cognitive, emotional. Using adapted dance as a rehabilitation tool stimulates different parts of the brain, and adds a playful element enjoyed by patients. We will discuss how this works and practice a few moves from our seats! 

Dr. Céline Odier, Neurologist, CHUM with Lucie Beaudry, Professor, Dance Department and Researcher, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montréal 



15:05 - 15:50  

More than meditation: Mindfulness skills to navigate change 

The need to readjust and reinvent ourselves is a constant as we age. This is particularly true for those facing degenerative neurological conditions, like ALS, Parkinson’s and MS. This session will demystify mindfulness and look at the ways that learning to access flexible mindsets can provide a greater sense of control and acceptance in the face of loss and grief of all kinds.  

Lana McGeary, Spiritual Care Counselor, ALS Clinic, The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) 

14:15 - 14:45  (CANCELED)

Beyond adapting: defining your path after a stroke at 22 

Ten years on, a patient who had a stroke as a young adult reunites with the neurologist who took part in her care while still a resident. An intimate discussion on how a neurological condition can give shape to the course of a life and how one patient can impact a doctor’s journey. 

Patient support organizations

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