A new podcast from Krembil Brain Institute

Explore the myths, mysteries, and medical breakthroughs of the most complex and powerful organ in your body – your brain. Weaving together expert interviews with heartfelt, inspiring snapshots of the patients and family members in the middle of it all, Heather Sherman dives into the latest science on Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, epilepsy, stroke, concussion, spinal cord injury, brain cancer and other brain diseases and disorders. Along the way she uncovers surprising insights, sheds light on the latest research, and shares heroic, real-life stories from the people on the front lines. Brought to you by Krembil Brain Institute at UHN, one of the largest and most comprehensive neurological centres in North America. Learn more about our mission.

The Your Complex Brain production team: Carley McPherson, Heather Sherman, Dr. Amy Ma, Twayne Pereira, Suzanne Wice, Sara Yuan, Jessica Schmidt and Tobin Dalrymple.

Release Date: March 14, 2022 |  Run Time: 02:00 |  Download the transcript

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Current Episode

Episode 10 – What scientists are learning about COVID-19 and the brain

Release Date: July 26, 2022 |  Run Time: 45:41 |  Download the transcript

More than two years into the pandemic, life continues to be challenging and unpredictable for those dealing with the lasting symptoms of what has come to be known as long COVID.

But just how prevalent, worrisome and enduring are the brain-related symptoms of this health issue, such as headaches, brain fog and memory issues? And how do we know what's caused by the virus, and what could be the result of living through stressful and unprecedented times?

In the latest episode of Your Complex Brain, host Heather Sherman explores what scientists and physicians are learning about how to identify, diagnose and treat long COVID.

"When I think about COVID and the impact it's had on my family and my life, it's been life changing," says Susie Goulding, who first contracted COVID-19 just as the pandemic began more than two years ago, and who continues to live with the effects of the virus. Susie started an online support group, to help others living with long Covid find support and resources. That group now has 17,000+ members.

"To me, the most striking feature of long COVID is seeing the degree of deficit that a lot of these people present with," says Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, an Internal Medicine & Infectious Diseases Specialist at UHN.

And while there's currently no cure for long COVID, effective therapies are emerging.

"We cannot treat long COVID, but we can sometimes treat the symptoms from long COVID," says Dr. Carmela Tartaglia, a Cognitive Neurologist and Clinician Investigator with Krembil Brain Institute. "Sometimes we can get people back to some semblance of their previous self. I tell people, think of your brain like these little gears and COVID has stopped one gear, or all of the gears. But, sometimes, just by getting one gear going, you can actually entrain the other ones."

Listen to the full episode and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and everywhere else you get your podcasts.

Special thanks to Susie Goulding for sharing her story.

Dr. Carmela Tartaglia

Dr. Carmela Tartaglia is a Cognitive Neurologist and Clinician Investigator with Krembil Brain Institute. Dr. Tartaglia is also co-Director of UHN's Memory Clinic. She is currently involved in a number of studies looking at the cognitive and neuropsychiatric impact of long COVID on patients, as well as sex and gender differences in long COVID.

Dr. Angela Cheung

Dr. Angela Cheung is an Internal Medicine Specialist and a Senior Scientist with the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute and the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, at UHN. Dr. Cheung is the co-Lead Investigator of the Canadian COVID-19 Prospective Cohort Study (CANCOV), which is designed to better understand the short and long-term outcomes for patients with long COVID, and their caregivers.

Dr. Abdu Sharkawy

Dr. Abdu Sharkawy is an Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases Specialist at UHN. Under the mentorship and support of Dr. Cheung, he has become an active and dedicated consultant to UHN's Long Covid Clinic. Dr. Sharkawy is also a trusted public figure who is regularly called upon by media, to comment on the latest COVID-19-related news and information.

Susie Goulding

Susie Goulding is the Founder of COVID Long-Haulers Support Group Canada, which is the largest Canadian online community for COVID-19 survivors and their families with 17,000+ members. The group's mandate is to connect people with support, the latest information, and access to participate in research studies happening across the globe.

Bonus Content: Hear more from Susie.

Susie Goulding | Run Time: 18:28 |  Download the transcript

Past Episodes

Episode 1: What is it going
to take to cure Alzheimer's?
Patty and her mom

With the controversial approval of Alzheimer's drug, Aducanumab, in the United States, we speak with neurologist and medicinal chemist, Dr. Donald Weaver, to break down the science, sift through the hype, and help us understand why it's so difficult to diagnose and treat a disease that affects more than 55 million people worldwide.

Episode 2: The rise of
stroke in young adults
Dr. Aleksandra Pikula

On the latest episode of Your Complex Brain, host Heather Sherman meets with Dr. Aleksandra Pikula, a pioneer in the field of stroke in young adults. They discuss the latest research, including a new study led by Dr. Pikula, looking at how lifestyle interventions post-stroke may help to improve long-term outcomes.

Episode 3: Can listening to Mozart help stop seizures in epilepsy patients?
Scott Dainty

On this episode of Your Complex Brain, Heather speaks with Dr. Marjan Rafiee and Dr. Taufik Valiante to discuss the latest research around the therapeutic role that music may play in neurological disorders such as epilepsy, a mystery which is still not fully understood. These leading researchers were surprised by the results they uncovered


Episode 4: The quest to solve the concussion problem

On the latest episode of Your Complex Brain, Dr. Carmela Tartaglia discusses the latest research on the link between multiple concussions and neurodegeneration, or progressive loss of brain function – a symptom that's consistent with diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

Episode 5: Meet the woman who wants to cure brain cancer
Dr. Gelareh Zadeh

On the latest episode of Your Complex Brain, Dr. Zadeh, Krembil Brain Institute's Medical Director, explains how the science has evolved in the 20+ years she has treated patients with brain cancer. She also discusses her pioneering research, which includes leading a team that is developing a blood test (and other diagnostic methods) to diagnose brain cancer earlier and with more accuracy.

Episode 6: Revolutionary advances in spinal cord injury
Analynne Salas

On the latest episode of Your Complex Brain, host Heather Sherman meets with Dr. Michael G. Fehlings, a neurosurgeon and senior scientist with Krembil Brain Institute at UHN. He's on a mission to spread awareness about Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy (DCM) and improve the quality of life for those living with spinal cord injuries.


Episode 7: Psychedelics and the mental health revolution

On this episode of Your Complex Brain, host Heather Sherman explores the fascinating world of psychedelics in medicine and research. She meets with Dr. Susan Abbey, Psychiatrist-in-Chief at the University Health Network and a Clinician Investigator with the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, as well as Dr. Lakshmi Kotra, a Medicinal Chemist and Senior Scientist with Krembil Brain Institute and Co-Founder and CEO of Lucid Psycheceuticals.

Episode 8: How patient advocacy is redefining Parkinson's research

On this episode of Your Complex Brain, host Heather Sherman meets two people living with Parkinson's who have becomes advocates for the PD community, learning not just to live with the disease, but to live well - with more meaning and purpose.

Episode 9: The most painful brain disease you've never heard of

For many of these patients, a smile, a kiss, or even a gust of wind can unleash a throbbing so severe, some describe it as a 'lightning bolt to the face.' And as we learn in this episode of Your Complex Brain, many patients live with this condition for years – often decades – without a diagnosis or proper treatment.