Breaking barriers with brain stimulation

Every May, Canadians and Americans recognize Mental Health Awareness Month. During this time, people are encouraged to learn about the importance of mental health and wellness, educate themselves about mental health conditions, and better understand the different treatments that exist, with the goal of breaking down stigma around mental health.

Treatments for mental health have progressed over time and researchers are discovering and testing new methods to help clients live life fully with mental health conditions. Neuromodulation, also referred to as brain simulation or neurostimulation, is a method with growing research and benefits.

Dr. Allison Sekuler and Dr. Rosanne Aleong sat down with two individuals to hear two unique perspectives on brain stimulation: Dr. Tarek Rajji, senior scientist and chair of the Medical Advisory Committee at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and Fatima, an older person with lived experience of brain stimulation.

Dr. Rajji started the episode off by offering some context: what is brain stimulation and what types exist? He then shared insights into what a client might experience when undergoing brain stimulation, along with research findings from his team’s recently completed study.

After learning about neuromodulation from a clinician’s perspective, Allison and Rosanne had the opportunity to hear from Fatima, an older person with lived experience of neuromodulation.

Fatima bravely and openly shared her journey with neuromodulation, and ended with inspiring words of encouragement: “When I initiated my treatment, [my health condition] was in one state, and now, I know it’s not going to go away, but it is slowing down the process. By slowing down the process and carrying on with your age, it’s a blessing.”

Listen to the full episode to learn more from Dr. Rajji and hear Fatima’s full story in honour of Mental Health Awareness Month.




Learn more about our guests

Dr. Tarek Rajji is a Geriatric Psychiatrist and Senior Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.  His research focuses on enhancing cognition in older adults living with dementia or at risk for dementia using brain stimulation and clinical neurophysiology alone or in combination with other interventions. He also studies standardization of care for individuals living with dementia.

In recognition of his research and teaching activities, Dr. Rajji has received several local, national and international awards. Currently Dr. Rajji is serving as Chair, Medical Advisory Committee at CAMH. At the University of Toronto, he was appointed as the Executive Director of the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance in 2020, and the Director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Division in 2022. He holds the Canada Research Chair in Neurostimulation for Cognitive Disorders.


Fatima is a person with lived experience of brain stimulation from Mississauga, Ontario. She participated in a brain stimulation study at CAMH and hopes to have the chance to participate in other research opportunities. Her biggest hope is that through the studies, she will leave with positive outcomes for her own mental health, as well as for the mental health of others.



Dr. Tarek Rajji:


About the Podcast

CABHI’s Community of Innovation podcast is where topics on ingenuity, aging and brain health collide. Join us as we talk to experts in healthcare, research, technology, and business, as well as older adults and their caregivers, about the innovative practices and healthtech solutions helping us all lead longer, healthier lives.

Hosted by Dr. Allison Sekuler (President and Chief Scientist at CABHI) and Dr. Rosanne Aleong (Director of Research, Innovation, and Translation at CABHI).


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