Observational Study

Get in touch about this study

What is the study about?

The Health in Aging, Neurodegenerative Diseases and DementiaS in ONTario (HANDDS-ONT) Study is an observational study that takes place in the comfort of the participant’s home, with no study visits occurring in a clinic. The study is recruiting people living with and without a neurodegenerative disease (see eligibility criteria) or the effects of stroke.  Studying both groups will help ONDRI researchers to:

  • understand how the diseases affect different people
  • discover ways to potentially detect diseases earlier
  • explore ways to help people manage their daily health related behaviours

Participant data is collected virtually through wearables – small sensors worn on the wrist, ankle and chest — for 7-10 days, as participants go about their daily activities. Data is also collected from assessment questionnaires regarding cognitive health, mood, and quality of life. Blood samples are collected to understand how one’s genetic makeup could provide for earlier detection of some conditions, and for analysis of certain risk factors.

Combining the information from the sensors (walking patterns, sleep, heart rate/rhythm, etc.), the questionnaires and the blood samples will allow researchers to understand participants’ day to day challenges in aging while living with or without a neurodegenerative condition.

Participants receive a personalized health and activity report, describing sleep and activity during the time the wearable sensors are worn. This information may help participants better understand and manage some aspects of their overall health and it can be shared with their circle of care.

The study team is seeking participant evaluation of the personalized report.  This feedback is highly valued and will be considered for future study report designs.  All data collected will be anonymized and will be stored securely by the Ontario Brain Institute.

The researchers believe that this study will make a difference in the lives of those living with these conditions, while contributing to the science of neurodegenerative disease, stroke, and dementia research.


Eligibility–Who can participate?

To participate in HANDDS-ONT you must be:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • A resident of Ontario, and
  • Living with a neurodegenerative disease including:
    • Alzheimer’s Disease/Mild Cognitive Impairment
    • Parkinson’s Disease
    • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
    • Frontotemporal Dementia
  • Or post-stroke
  • Or an adult living independently with no diagnosis of a neurodegenerative disease

Time requirement:

The study takes place over 8 weeks with the sensors worn for 7-10 days.


TDRA investigator

Dr. Richard Swartz


More information


Watch a video overview of the HANDDS-ONT study:

Advances in Dementia Research Webinar- Listen to Dr. Richard Swartz (Principal Investigator) discuss the HANDDS-ONT study in further detail.

TDRA Site:

Participate from home

Age Group:

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Target Population:

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Do you have questions about research studies you saw on this page? Please contact tdra@utoronto.ca


The listing of a study on the Toronto Dementia Network (TDN) is for informational purposes only. The safety, efficacy or scientific validity of the studies listed here have not been evaluated by The Alzheimer Society of Toronto (AST) or the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance (TDRA). The TDRA is an academic coalition among the University of Toronto and four memory clinics across Toronto at Baycrest, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and the University Health Network. The information collected will be kept and guarded by TDRA. Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Before you participate in a study, you should make sure you understand the risks and potential benefits and discuss all options with your health care provider(s).