Translating research into practice: Investigating the impact of Alzheimer’s disease diagnostics in Canada (IMPACT-AD)

Health Research BC is providing match funds for this research project, which is funded by the Brain Canada Multi-Investigator Research Initiative (MIRI) – Improving Health Outcomes and Quality of Life. Additional support is provided by UBC Faculty of Medicine, Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, and Women’s Brain Health Initiative. The research is also being undertaken in collaboration with the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging.


Early and accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is critical as timely access to health care and community services has the potential to slow disease progression and improve quality of life. Current approaches for diagnosis rely on traditional imaging tests and observation of the signs and symptoms of the disease. Adding the measure of proteins found in cerebrospinal fluid (biomarkers) has been shown to help correctly identify the disease and predict those with mild symptoms that are likely to progress to dementia; however, such testing is not readily available in Canada.


The IMPACT-AD study specifically addresses barriers to uptake and use of Alzheimer’s disease biomarker testing in the Canadian health care system. This Canada-wide study will develop a comprehensive understanding of how biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease impact clinical decision making and health care costs. Collaborating with patients, caregivers, and physicians, IMPACT-AD will also investigate the effect of testing on personal decision-making. The findings of this study will lay the necessary groundwork, modernize, and improve the care available to Canadians affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia.


IMPACT-AD is led by Dr. Mari DeMarco, a clinical chemist at St. Paul’s Hospital, and a clinical associate professor in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UBC. DeMarco is joined by a multidisciplinary team that includes both Canadian and international laboratory medicine specialists, geriatricians, neurologists, health economists, rural/remote clinicians, ethicists, and statisticians.


For more information about the study and how you can get involved, visit

Award update: December 2021