WATCH: Victoria couple donates $2.5 million for dementia project

Island Health, UVic, UBC involved in ambitious project combining research with patient care

An innovative new five-year project will integrate research and care for dementia patients on Vancouver Island, thanks to a $2.5 million donation from Neil and Susan Manning.

The Cognitive Health Initiative is a joint venture between the University of Victoria, Island Health and the University of British Columbia and aims to address the needs of an aging population on the Island.

The initiative is a personal one for the Victoria couple; Susan was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago. The tremendous support the Mannings received from Island Health was one of the things that led them to donate to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, who will in turn fund efforts to bring more focus to this area of health care.

“This illness changes the life of the individual impacted and also that of their family,” Neil said. “We need to enjoy every day that we have with each other and when we are able, take something challenging and turn it into an opportunity to do something good.”

Island Health geriatrician Dr. Marilyn Malone and her colleagues are calling the initiative “leading-edge” given that the patients’ own data will inform their own care.

“Our advantage is that we have UBC, the Island Medical Program and UVic research on our side. That is unique and that’s going to push us to the forefront,” she said.

The development of state-of-the-art digital tools – the real-time Dementia Guidance System database – aims to enable an earlier diagnosis, as well as a deeper understanding of the causes of dementia, in order to implement treatments that could prevent the disease altogether. The medical team agrees the initiative is ambitious, but the collection of this information on a large scale is going to facilitate work in the field in the rest of B.C. and Canada.

Dr. Bruce Wright, the regional associate dean of Vancouver Island UBC Faculty of Medicine, said the research being contemplated is evidence-based, and this turns it into a science, ensuring as accurate and early a diagnosis as possible.

“There’s not a blood test for this kind of thing,” Wright said of dementia, adding the disease is progressive. “It’s a devastating diagnosis to give, and so you have to have it right.”

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

High school graduation rates on the rise in Greater Victoria

High school completion up from 71 to 86.8 per cent over 10 years

Pacific Centre Family Services Association a winning design in Colwood

Victoria Real Estate Board winner a welcoming sight

Victoria curling foursome looks to defend provincial title

2019 BC Junior Curling Championships held in Vernon from Dec. 27, 2018 to Jan. 1, 2019

Top tourism executives in B.C. earn almost $1 million

Destination B.C. CEO Marsha Walden received total compensation of $296,487 in 2017-18

New figures show City of Victoria spent $30,000 to remove Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Greater Victoria holiday craft fair roundup for Nov. 16 to 18

Check off all of the items on your shopping list at these great events

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact political environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Most Read