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.

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

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Current Episode

Episode 5 – Meet the woman who wants to cure brain cancer

Release Date: May 17, 2022 |  Run Time: 43:40 |  Download the transcript

Glioblastoma is the most common and most aggressive type of malignant brain tumour.

It strikes suddenly, often in the prime of life, and is a devastating diagnosis for patients and loved ones.

But innovative new research, such as a blood test to detect and diagnose brain cancer, is showing promise and bringing hope to a field in desperate need of new treatment options.

In this episode of Your Complex Brain, Heather speaks with Dr. Gelareh Zadeh, a neurosurgeon and scientist on a mission to cure brain cancer. Together they discuss Dr. Zadeh's efforts to improve the quality of life and long-term outcomes, for patients.

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.

"I think the shift that we need to happen is to know, 'What is that one test that's going to tell us that you're at risk of developing brain cancer?'" she says. "Because we know that if we're able to intervene when the tumour is smaller, the outcome is better. And so how do we get there for every patient? That would be really the golden ticket to transform how we manage brain cancer patients."

At the top of the show, we hear from Rick Arkell, who lost his wife Ally to brain cancer when she was just 35 years old. Later, we meet Dr. Farshad Nassiri, a senior neurosurgery resident at Krembil Brain Institute and The University of Toronto, about his role in developing a blood test to detect and diagnose brain cancer.

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

Featuring Dr. Gelareh Zadeh is Medical Director of Krembil Brain Institute. She is also the head of Neurosurgery at UHN, and the head of Surgical Oncology and a Senior Scientist at The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Special thanks to Rick Arkell and Dr. Farshad Nassiri for sharing their stories.

Bonus Content: Hear more about Rick and Ally's story and about how Rick is carrying on Ally's legacy by raising money for brain cancer research.

Rick Arkell | Run Time: 10:30 |  Download the transcript

Dr. Gelareh Zadeh

Dr. Gelareh Zadeh, MD, PhD, FRCS(C), FAANS, is Medical Director of Krembil Brain Institute, Head of the Department of Neurosurgery at UHN and Dan Family Chair and Professor of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto. She is also the Head of Surgical Oncology and a Senior Scientist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, where she runs a translational research program at the MacFeeters-Hamilton Neuro-oncology Program, and holds the Wilkins Family Brain Tumour Research Chair.

Anna Vasileuskaya

Dr. Farshad Nassiri is a senior neurosurgery resident at Krembil Brain Institute, with an interest in brain tumour surgery and skull base surgery. He completed a PhD in molecular biology under Dr. Zadeh's supervision.

Rick Arkell

Rick Arkell lost his beloved wife Alicia ("Ally") at age 35, in 2019. They have a young son, Emmett. Rick and his family and friends have raised more than $100,000 in support of brain cancer research, through the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre's Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer annual event.

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.