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Brain Matters: Panel Discussion about Concussions, Brain Injury, Epilepsy, Alzheimer and Parkinson’s, organized by CABGU

by Winnipeg Jewish Review April 12, 2015


The CABGU Manitoba Region’s Panel Discussion Sunday, March 29th, 2015  filled the auditorium at Shaarey  Zedek Synagogue with approximately 250 people. By all accounts it was a world-class discussion and a genuine opportunity for people to gain awareness about these issues and also ask the experts questions.

We learned that brain damage caused by a concussion has the potential for severe consequences and can cause conditions such as Alzheimer's, Epilepsy and Parkinson's. We all were exposed to the “Cutting Edge Research” being conducted at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Neurosciences. It is important to emphasize that new approaches to early diagnosis and discovery of biological origins of Autism are being researched at BGU.   

Participating in the panel discussion were:

- Dr.  Alon Friedman, Professor of Neuroscience at Ben-Gurion University and currently the Dennis Chair in Epilepsy at the Medical Faculty at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

- Dr. Michael Ellis, Medical Director, Pan Am Clinic Concussion Program in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

- Dr. Benedict Albensi, Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at University of Manitoba and Principal Researcher at St. Boniface Hospital, Winnipeg Manitoba.

- Jason Dzikowicz, President, Blue Bomber Alumni Association.

The vibrant discussion was skillfully moderated by Charles 'Chuck' LaFlèche, CEO, of St. Boniface Hospital Foundation.

Jason Dzikowicz suffered from nine concussions during his career as a Football player. He shared with the public his story and currently he is experiencing short memory loss. He said, “Many plays of important games I participated in I can’t remember, I can’t remember many things from my past”.

Some of these medical problems are increasing in prevalence, especially Alzheimer’s disease and sports-related brain injuries. The panel was unanimous in their view:  early detection is key to prevent these diseases from developing in the future after a concussion or brain injury. 

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has undertaken a mission to become a worldwide leader in the area of brain science. Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University in Winnipeg has set this year a fundraising goal of $250,000 to fund a Human Long-Term Brain Recording Units to be used in Professor Alon Friedman’s brain research lab at BGU.

This system will allow for supervision of patients within research facilities and at home, while monitoring 24 hour brain activity. Findings of this monitoring program will allow researchers to gain greater insight into changes in brain activity that reflect neurodevelopment and neurodegenerative disorders, leading to a better understanding of the concussed brain, early Alzheimer’s disease, and children with suspected autism.

With the help of committed supporters like you, BGU can succeed in improving the quality of life for those affected (and potentially affected) by brain-related diseases and disorders.

Please consider supporting this crucial initiative and donate generously now!

For more details please contact CABGU Executive Director, Ariel Karabelnicoff at 204-942-7347 or by email: [email protected]

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.