Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative (ONDRI)

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ONDRI Mission Statement

To catalyze advances in dementia and motor disorders (complex syndromes due to multiple neurodegenerative diseases plus cerebrovascular disease) to improve the diagnosis, prognosis, care, and outcomes for persons living with these diseases and those who support them.


In ONDRI 1.0 (2013-17) qualifying participants completed a series of thorough assessments including:
clinical overview, neuropsychological, neuroimaging (brain MRI), gait and balance, genomics, eye
tracking and retinal (eye) thickness. Data on all 520 participants were collected at clinical sites,
“cleaned” and centralized, to allow for preliminary and ongoing analysis.


ONDRI 2.0 (2018-22) is focused on 4 aims which include delving deeper into the rich datasets collected
in ONDRI 1.0, validating the learnings, and drawing broader conclusions using matched external patient
datasets. The research focus of ONDRI 2.0 is on wearable monitoring technologies in a similar

Why This Research is Important

Dementia is a growing crisis. It is the single greatest cause of disability and debilitation in our senior population. Over 25,000 Canadians are diagnosed with dementia per year and well over 500,000 Canadians are currently afflicted; this places an enormous personal and financial toll on patients, families, and society, which will only grow with global aging patterns.

Neurodegenerative diseases are the underlying cause of dementia. However, these diseases do not always produce cognitive impairment when expected, sometimes do so when unexpected, with the underlying cause often mixed in nature and hard to determine. This makes the development of targeted therapies problematic. Looking at these diseases separately can delay recognition of commonalities, underlying risk factors or susceptibilities. In Ontario, we have a unique set of strengths that provide the opportunity to contribute to the global effort to understand and intervene in neurodegeneration, including publicly funded healthcare, many excellent scientists, clinicians and institutions along with the right focus.