Your Complex Brain

Your Complex Brain

Explore the myths, mysteries, and medical breakthroughs of the most complex and powerful organ in your body – your brain. Weaving together expert interviews with heartfelt, inspiring snapshots of the patients and family members in the middle of it all, Heather Sherman dives into the latest science on Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, stroke, concussion, spinal cord injury, brain cancer, chronic pain and other brain diseases and disorders. Along the way she uncovers surprising insights, sheds light on the latest research, and shares heroic, real life stories from the people on the front lines. Brought to you by Krembil Brain Institute at UHN, one of the largest and most comprehensive neurological centres in North America. Learn more about our mission at:


April 16, 2024 40 mins

In 1995, actor Christopher Reeve was injured in a horseback riding accident, leaving him quadriplegic - paralyzed from the shoulders down. He became a tireless advocate and a passionate supporter of research. 

Christopher’s dream was for those living with spinal cord injuries to have a better quality of life, and one day to walk again. 

More than 25 years later, thanks to advances in surgical approaches, neuroprotective drugs, and ge...

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In the time that it takes to say this sentence – three seconds – someone in the world will develop dementia, a group of symptoms impacting memory, thinking, mood, behaviour and the ability to complete everyday tasks. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia.

With people living longer, even into their 90s and beyond, dementia is becoming the biggest and most consequential global health threat of our time. But, accord...

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March 19, 2024 24 mins

In a sweeping 2023 report, the US Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, declared loneliness an epidemic and a public health emergency.

According to the report, loneliness and isolation can lead to a significant increase in mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, as well as a nearly 30% increased risk of heart disease, stroke and among older adults, a 50% risk of dementia.

Around the world, there are eff...

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We are once again bringing you inside UHN’s Krembil Brain Institute, one of North America's largest and most innovative neurological centres, to meet the scientists & physicians advancing discovery, the patients who inspire us, and the care teams who support them. 

This season, we’re exploring some big new research in brain health, including: What young women need to know about preventing a stroke, Can loneliness ...

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Breathing exercises are simple techniques can help improve your overall well-being by promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and increasing mindfulness. Listen to this original 5-minute 'Breathing Space' practice created by Dr. Kathryn Curtis for listeners of Your Complex Brain.

Dr. Kathryn Curtis is a clinical psychologist at the Comprehensive Integrated Pain Program at UHN, where she provides psychological serv...

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Harry Forestell is a journalist with CBC Television. In 2013, he noticed a tremor in his right hand and was unsure what it was. It was later determined to be Parkinson's disease. He was referred to Dr. Tony Lang and the team at Toronto Western Hospital, a movement disorder clinic. They confirmed the diagnosis and began treatment. The symptoms of the disease began to worsen, and he was frustrated by the amount of focus and atte...

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Fran Ryder is the president of the Ontario Women's Hockey Association and has been involved in women's hockey for many years. She has played and volunteered in various capacities in the sport. She has also been involved in research and initiatives related to spinal injuries and concussions in hockey, working closely with Dr. Charles Tator, a world-renowned neurosurgeon and researcher, on these initiatives. 

Dr. T...

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Natalie Ladly is the president and fundraising chair for CDKL5 Canada. She lives in Heathcoate, a town outside of Collingwood, Ontario, with her husband Eric and their three children: Brynn, Reece, and Cullen. Brynn has CDD, a rare disease that prevents the brain from developing normally. She was diagnosed with the disease at nine months old, and since then, Natalie has been dedicated to raising awareness and funds for research. 

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Jack Conway, a 19-year-old from Toronto, Canada, is a huge fan of video games and roller coasters. His family includes his mom, Kim, his dad, Steve, and his older brother, Brian. Jack plays a variety of video games, from Call of Duty to Minecraft, and he loves roller coasters. 

He also has a vision impairment due to a brain tumor he had when he was a baby. He was one of the first children in the world to receive a certain ...

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Lindsay's mother Barbara had Alzheimer's disease. Lindsay, her brothers, and her father noticed changes in her mid-sixties. They started noticing her repeating herself and she stopped coming to the pool with them when they went to visit her and their dad in Florida. She also forgot where she parked her car and had to ask for help. Her memory was not what it used to be and she started to withdraw from social events.

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Lara Pingue shares her story about living with chronic back pain and the challenges of getting a diagnosis and finding effective treatment. She describes the initial onset of her pain and the various treatments she tried, including physical therapy, chiropractic care, and prescription medications. 

She also discusses the impact of the pain on her daily life and the frustration of not being able to find a lasting solution. ...

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As a child, Nikki experienced seizures that she did not realize were seizures. She would feel "other" and disconnected from the world. Her earliest seizure memory is from when she was six years old, triggered by looking out the window of her parent's house. She would sometimes go to the window to see if she would have a seizure.

Today, her seizures are still the same as when she was a child. They last about ...

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Farrah Schwartz is the manager of Patient Education and Engagement at UHN. Her work entails assisting patients in actively participating in their care and improving organizational processes. The Patient Education and Engagement program provides resources, training, and coaching to help Team UHN engage patients in their care. They are also working on patient engagement within organizational improvement and partnering with equity-see...

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August 3, 2023 51 secs

In the second season of Your Complex Brain, join us on a thrilling journey as we delve into the boundless realm of neuroscience, brain health, and ground-breaking research and its impact on our lives. Through thought-provoking discussions, expert interviews, and captivating patient stories, we unravel the mysteries of our brain.

The Your Complex Brain production team is Heather Sherman, Jessica Schmidt, Dr. Amy Ma, Kim Perry, Sara Y...

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From new Alzheimer’s drugs, to novel treatments for brain cancer, to chronic pain, many of us feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of health news in the media and confused about what to believe - and how it applies to our own health.

In this special episode of Your Complex Brain - our last of the season - we bring back five of our featured UHN brain experts to weigh in on the top, science-based, evidence-backed tips for ke...

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July 11, 2023 56 mins

More than eight million Canadians are currently living with the effects of debilitating chronic pain.

In this episode, we discuss the connection between chronic pain and the brain, including the latest & most effective treatments, the stigma - how do you study and treat something that you often can’t see? And, is there a way to build ‘pain resilience’?

We’ll speak with Dr. Andrea Furlan, a senior scientist &am...

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When Brynn Ladley was born, she was a smiling, happy and healthy baby, hitting all of her developmental milestones. Then, at six weeks old, she began having seizures and eventually was diagnosed with CDKL5, a rare and debilitating genetic disorder that has no cure.

Upon Brynn’s diagnosis, her mother Natalie became an advocate and connected with Dr. James Eubanks, a Senior Scientist at the Krembil Brain Institute, who has ...

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June 13, 2023 51 mins

Every year, 40 million people worldwide sustain a concussion – a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a hit or jolt to the head.

We often hear about concussions in the context of sports, but most occur as a result of everyday life, from running or biking, accidental falls and motor vehicle accidents.

While the vast majority of those who suffer a concussion recover in time, there are many who experience lasting...

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May 30, 2023 50 mins

When you think about your favourite memories, what comes to mind?

Is it the championship win at your high school football game? Your child’s first words? Or the lyrics to a song you loved?

In this episode, our experts tackle the big & thought-provoking questions, such as: How does our brain log & store memories? Where do memories go as we age? And why do we remember some things, and not others?


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What happens when a vision researcher has a chance meeting with a pediatric oncologist and that collaboration leads to unexpected and promising results?

In Episode 5 of Your Complex Brain, we’re talking about a homegrown vision rehabilitation program helping young brain cancer survivors, whose sight has been impacted by their tumours, improve their vision.

The program, developed at University Health Network in Tor...

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