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 four psychiatrists (Drs. Robert Granger, Zahinoor Ismail, Aaron Mackie and Brienne McLane) who see patients at the two clinic sites at Foothills Medical Centre and the South Health Campus.  

Our research team is located at the Ron and Rene Ward Foundation Centre for Healthy Brain Aging at the University of Calgary. The team includes a project manager, MRI physicist, two research nurses, five research assistants, one post-doctoral fellow, two PhD students, and four master’s students. Dr. Smith co-leads, with basic scientist Dr. Roger Thompson, 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.

Clinical Care Highlights

We received 577 new referrals last year. A similar number of patients are seen in followup. Next year we will welcome Dallas Seitz, a geriatric psychiatrist from Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, as our newest clinic physician.

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 help prepare our neurology residents for their final year qualifying examination by the Royal College. 

Research training is another important aspect.
We train graduate students, residents, and fellows in methods for researching cognitive disorders.
Drs Smith, Ismail, and Barber combined to supervise a post-doctoral fellow, three PhD students, and six master’s students in neurosciences and community health sciences at the University of Calgary. 

Research Highlights

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. Philip Barber and Zahinoor Ismail hold competitive peer-reviewed awards from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Dr. Ismail is the new Director of the Board of the Canadian Conference on Dementia. The next Canadian Conference on Dementia will be in Quebec in October 2018 and the following conference will be in Calgary in October 2020.

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

Nursing: Karyn Fischer, Heather Jones, Patricia Mueller, Brenda Pomerance, Courtney Leitch

Neuropsychology: Dr. Catherine Burton, Dr. Kim Goddard

(Updated December 2019)