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The Researchers

Profile Image of Dr Yasser Iturria Medina

What this means to me

"Memories and emotions have a universal value. They belong to all of us; they define the personal history of humanity. Every time that Alzheimer's disease takes away a memory and its associated emotions, the world is diminished. We can not waste time, we should fight to stop such losses. I believe we will find a cure. We must persist."

doctor

Yasser Iturria Medina

Biography

Dr. Yasser Iturria-Medina is a great example of both the increasing integration of neuroscience with computer science and the international collaboration that is accelerating our understanding of dementia. He is a young man of immense potential who trained in Nuclear Engineering in Havana, Cuba, before moving into the brain research. He spent some time as a visiting scientist in Spain and China, refining his knowledge of neuroimaging of the “white matter” connecting pathways in the brain. After completing his PhD in Health Sciences in 2013, he moved to the Montreal Neurological Institute to work with Dr. Evans.

Here, Yasser has developed a mathematical model that explains how the brain pathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) propagates through these white matter pathways. This showed that the build up of a toxic amyloid protein in AD was a result of inadequate clearance, rather than overproduction. He also recently extended this model to analyze a large public AD database, revealing that the earliest elements of the disease process involve damage to cerebral blood vessels. These two findings have major implications for how we design interventions that prevent the spread of AD in the brain. Yasser continues to expand on these mathematical approaches as we search for early biomarkers of AD, and other dementias, that will allow earlier intervention than is currently possible.

Together We Can Make A Difference