Award honours Alzheimer’s disease researcher

November 02, 2012

Faisal Beg, 778.782.5696778.782.5696;
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.9017778.782.9017;

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Faisal Beg, an associate professor in Simon Fraser University School of Engineering Science, is the 2012 recipient of a Meritorious Achievement Award from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C.

The award is given to a professional engineer or professional geoscientist who shows distinctive and outstanding achievements in professional or technical fields.

Beg, a biomedical engineer with a PhD from Johns Hopkins University, is working to develop early diagnostic tools to detect Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. He is working with collaborators in Europe, Australia and across North America and sharing the computational tools he has developed for the analysis of brain images.

“Right now there is no good reliable way to detect the onset of the disease,” says Beg, who studies signatures in MRI brain scans of people with the disease and compares them with scans of healthy brains.

 He is also applying his research to the early detection of eye diseases.

“But these tools are increasingly enabling us to learn more about what goes on in the brain leading up to these events.”

More than 750,000 Canadians are expected to have Alzheimer’s disease by 2031. As the disease robs afflicted individuals of their capacity to think properly and draw on their life's experiences stored in memory, they become heavily dependent on caregivers to carry out the simplest of daily activities, notes Beg.

"I’ve come to realize the great challenges that are faced by caregivers and families whose lives are turned upside down by this disease, and hope this research will begin to make a difference,” Beg says.

Beg, a Coquitlam resident originally from Bhopal, India, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2010 to raise funds and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Society of B.C.

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