Observational Study

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Full study title: Investigating the Brain-Heart Connection-short version


What is the study about?

The goal of the study is to examine the relationship between heart rhythms and memory or mood symptoms in older adults. Previous studies have shown that higher heart rate variability (HRV), or variation and timing of each heartbeat, is associated with greater heart and emotional health. The research question being asked is if HRV can also be used as a marker of cognitive health in older adults.


Eligibility- Who can participate?

Participants must:

  • Be 60 years of age or older
  • Have a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment, and/or a history of depression, or be a healthy volunteer
  • Be fluent in English


Time requirement

A single 1-2 hour visit to Baycrest that involves assessment of mood and cognition, and of heart rate using an Apple Watch.


TDRA study investigator

Drs. Linda Mah, Jean Chen, Sandra Gardner, Susan Vandermorris, Benoit Mulsant, Tarek Rajji, Alastair Flint, Corrine Fischer, Nathan Herrmann, Krista Lanctôt, Nicolaas Paul Verhoeff



Advances in Dementia Research Webinar- Listen to Dr. Linda Mah (Co-Principal Investigator) discuss the Investigating the Brain-Heart Connection study in further detail: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCD-IDRCx4Y 

TDRA Site:


Address: 3560 Bathurst St, North York, ON M6A 2E1

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).