Brain Awareness Week

Honourable senators, this week is Brain Awareness Week, a worldwide campaign to draw public attention to the incredible and important advancements being made in the field of neuroscience.

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit the University of Victoria and meet with representatives of NeuroDevNet, a Canadian network of centres of excellence dedicated to helping children with neurodevelopmental disorders.

The network’s current areas of focus are autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

NeuroDevNet’s mission is to understand the causes of these disorders and to share findings with partners so that they can translate this knowledge into resources to help children live healthier lives. These resources include useful methods of diagnosis and prevention, as well as treatments and therapies.

It is remarkable how effectively knowledge is shared within this network. What makes it all the more impressive is that NeuroDevNet’s partners are extremely diverse, coming from government, industry, academia, not-for-profit organizations and other sectors.

You have heard me talk, many times, about the need for coordination and strong, widespread commitment if we are to meet the autism challenge. NeuroDevNet is an example of these very things. At the University of Victoria, young scientists and researchers are doing incredible imaging, working with students, and these programs have to be seen all across the country. I would recommend that you go on the University of Victoria’s website to see what NeuroDevNet and other scientists are doing.

With representation across the country, this network of centres of excellence is progressing toward health benefits not only for children with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families but also for all of us.

As I did yesterday, I would like to invite you, honourable senators, to a reception I am hosting, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., in room 256-S Centre Block. NeuroDevNet representatives and others working in the field of neuroscience will be there. I am sure you would like to meet them. They will be there to discuss their initiatives with you. I hope you are able to come by.