Tara Gowra Geeta
Tara Gowra Geeta

We were very excited to learn about the possibility of being proactive in preventing the onset of the Alzheimer’s disease.

The Seniors Lifestyle Magazine team is happy to report that it will be following the journey of three sisters who opted to get tested to see if they carry a risk gene for Alzheimer’s disease. Genetic testing can be the first step towards participating in a clinical trial to stay ahead of this scary disease that affects millions of people around the world. The three sisters had watched their own mother suffer from Alzheimer’s and were determined to change the future for themselves and others.







Their initiative and commitment is inspiring and will be exciting to watch and share with our audience.

Three sisters planning to enroll in Toronto Memory Program clinical trials…how did this come to be?

The sisters initially connected with Toronto Memory Program by expressing interest in undergoing a check swab test for the ApoE gene.

One of the sisters found out about Toronto Memory Program’s free presentations and cheek swab events taking place around the GTA. After hearing Dr. Cohen speak about what is going on in Alzheimer’s research, she decided to coordinate a similar event with Toronto Memory Program for her own organization – The Harbourfront Condominium Association in downtown Toronto.

Following the success of this condo event, a second sister worked with Toronto Memory Program to arrange a talk and cheek swab event for her association, The Probus Club of Stouffville.

The cheek swab test reveals whether a person carries the type of ApoE gene known as ApoE4. ApoE4 increases one’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s. A genetic analyzing device called the Spartan Cube, developed in Canada by Spartan Bioscience, provides ApoE results from a cheek swab sample in just one hour.

All three sisters lead active and busy lives but have taken time to undergo cheek swab testing because of their deep interest in being proactive about their brain health. Two of the sisters have already undergone baseline memory testing and are screening for an Alzheimer’s prevention study. The third sister will be returning to Toronto Memory Program shortly to learn her genetic results and determine next steps.

About the sisters and where they stand right now with clinical trial involvement:

  • Tara is 66.  She worked with Toronto Memory Program to host the Probus Club event. Tara herself is currently screening for participation in a landmark Alzheimer’s prevention study called Generation 2 which is being conducted at Toronto Memory Program. Generation 2 is an international study for individuals who are cognitively healthy but who carry one or two copies of the ApoE4 gene. Tara’s next step in screening for the study will be a PET scan to look for the accumulation of a protein in the brain called amyloid. Amyloid build up is the earliest sign that the Alzheimer’s process is beginning. Amyloid shows up in the brain many years prior to any memory symptoms and provides an important window of opportunity to initiate prevention strategies.
  • Gowra, 72, coordinated the Harbourfront Condo event with Toronto Memory Program.  As with her sister Tara, Gowra is also in the process of screening for the Generation 2 study at Toronto Memory Program. She will be having a PET scan to look for amyloid build up in the next few weeks.
  • Geeta is 60. She underwent a cheek swab on May 30, 2019 and will return to learn her results at Toronto Memory Program in July. She will also undergo baseline memory testing at that time.

About Dr. Sharon Cohen and Toronto Memory Program:

Alzheimer's Disease

  • Toronto Memory Program is Canada’s largest memory clinic and research centre for Alzheimer’s clinical trials.
  • Sharon Cohen, neurologist, is the medical director at Toronto Memory Program.   Personal note about Sharon:  her family has been significantly impacted by Alzheimer’s and so she takes her role as a doctor and researcher to heart.
  • Wait there’s more:  Ian, Sharon’s husband, is also a doctor and an Alzheimer’s research investigator at Toronto Memory Program. Together, these two physicians are a dynamic duo when it comes to educating the public about Alzheimer’s disease and the latest in Alzheimer’s research.
  • Positively speaking – the fact that we can now test for the ApoE4 gene and take action to prevent symptoms before they even begin is a major step forward in research.  There are also many research treatment studies at Toronto Memory Program for individuals who may already have symptoms. The goal of these studies is to prevent the disease from progressing while it is still in its earliest stages.
  • Their website offers more info: torontomemoryprogram.com

Click here to watch a CTV News clip from May 27th, in which one of the sisters, Tara, talks about the journey she and her sisters have embarked on in order to change the future and end Alzheimer’s disease. The news clip also features Dr. Sharon Cohen.