Cognitive Neurosciences Program

Program Lead: Dr. Eric Smith

The Cognitive Neurosciences Clinic provides expert medical consultation for patients with cognitive disorders; educates undergraduate and postgraduate learners; and conducts research on the causes, medical evaluation, and treatment of cognitive disorders and dementia. The program is directed by  Dr. Eric Smith.

Our multidisciplinary physician workforce is a unique aspect of our program, allowing us to provide comprehensive evaluations for complex neurological and psychiatric disorders as well as overlap syndromes. There are six neurologists

(Drs. Philip Barber, Alicja Cieslak, Bijoy Menon, David Patry, Dawn Pearson, and Eric Smith) and five psychiatrists (Drs. Robert Granger, Zahinoor Ismail, Aaron Mackie, Brienne McLane, and Dallas Seitz) who see patients at the two clinic sites at Foothills Medical Centre and the South Health Campus. We welcomed a new physician member: Dr. Dallas Seitz was recruited from Queen’s university to join the Cumming School of Medicine as Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry.

Clinical Care Highlights

Following the onset of the COVID pandemic, the Clinic rapidly adopted innovative methods for remote cognitive assessment including online questionnaires and video cognitive testing. Dr. Ismail, Seitz and Smith were invited members of a task force on COVID and dementia convened by the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, that Issued guidance on triaging persons with dementia for acute care and for telephone and video cognitive testing. Dr. Ismail co-Chaired the 5th Canadian Conference on Diagnosis and Treatment of Dementia that Issued evidence-based guidelines for dementia care In Canada, published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

Focus on Education

Medical students and residents participate in the Cognitive Neuroscience Clinic at the Foothills and South Health Campuses as part of ambulatory and elective rotations. We run a practice examination station on cognitive disorders to prepare our neurology residents for their final year qualifying examination by the Royal College. We will welcome Dr. Aravind Ganesh as Clinical Fellow in July 2020.

Research training is another important activity. Drs. Smith, Ismail, Barber and Seitz combined to supervise two post-doctoral fellows, three PhD students, and six master’s students in Neurosciences and Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary.

Research Highlights

With basic scientist Dr. Roger Thompson, Dr. Smith co-leads the Hotchkiss Brain Institute Dementia and Cognitive Disorders Neuroteam. Eligible clinic patients are offered participation in clinical trials and the observational COMPASS-ND cohort study of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging. Dr. Ismail

Dr. Eric Smith holds the Katthy Taylor Chair in Vascular Dementia from the University of Calgary and is funded by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Foundation Award. Drs. Barber, Ismail and Seitz hold competitive peer-reviewed awards from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Dr. Ismail directs the Board of the Canadian Conference on Dementia.

Members

Neurology: Dr. Eric Smith (Director), Dr. Philip Barber, Dr. Alicja Cieslak, Dr. Bijoy Menon, Dr. David Patry, Dr. Dawn Pearson

Psychiatry: Dr. Robert Granger, Dr. Zahinoor Ismail, Dr. Aaron Mackie, Dr. Brienne McLane, Dr. Dallas Seitz

Nursing: Karyn Fischer, Heather Jones, Patricia Mueller,

Neuropsychology: Dr. Catherine Burton, Dr. Kim Goddard