Posted September 12, 2012
by Jordanna Heller
A new research chair has been created at the University of Calgary with a generous gift of $5 million from Calgary’s Taylor family. The Katthy Taylor Chair in Vascular Dementia will help with a major health problem of our time -- dementia.
Hundreds of thousands of Canadians suffer from dementia, and that number will only increase during the next few decades, as our population ages. Vascular dementia, commonly caused by stroke, is the second most prevalent dementia after Alzheimer’s. Together vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s are responsible for more than 80 per cent of dementia cases.
Dr. Eric Smith, a member of the University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute, has been named the first Katthy Taylor Chair in Vascular Dementia. He is looking at ways to treat and prevent the disease before it can devastate families like it devastated the Taylor’s.
Katthy Taylor developed vascular dementia before she passed away. Unfortunately her struggle with vascular dementia was similar to that of her mother and grandmother before her.
“My family is committed to this chair because we believe that research opens the door to the understanding and treatment of vascular dementia, so that ultimately others in the family and the community will be spared from enduring this difficult disease,” says Katthy’s son David Taylor.
The Taylor family’s support at the University of Calgary is an integral part of the university’s Eyes High strategy, to be a top five research university by 2016. The establishment of this new research chair is an important part of the university’s vision.
“The Katthy Taylor Chair in Vascular Dementia provides a foundation for new collaborations and helps the University of Calgary develop a rich learning environment, which will impact the important area of dementia research in our community and beyond,” says University of Calgary President, Elizabeth Cannon.
As the first research chair, Smith strongly believes the prevalence of vascular dementia needs to be tackled.
“One in four Canadians will develop dementia in their lifetime – and our population is aging. Our research team is looking at how to prevent vascular dementia, and new ways to treat the disease. The Taylor’s gift will allow us to identify people at risk and take steps to reduce risk of further damage,” he says.