Serge Gauthier Medicine

Neurologist and leader in developing new tools for diagnosis and treatments for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

"We want fewer people to get Alzheimer's as they grow older. That is the goal of Canadian scientists working in the field."

The Story

Alzheimer's Disease is a brain disorder that causes progressive deterioration of vital brain cells, eventually robbing a person of their memory and ability to think, communicate and look after themselves. At present, this disease is incurable. Dr. Serge Gauthier has done much to offer hope to sufferers and their families.

While Alzheimer's is associated with aging, it afflicts only one in three elderly people. Gauthier's contributions to this field include:

  • systematically evaluating medications which appear to slow the effects of Alzheimer's by preventing breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in the brain associated with memory and learning;
  • developing guidelines for researchers assessing new drugs for Alzheimer's, including consideration of the rights of persons with dementia to participate in research;
  • studying factors which seem to reduce the risk of developing this disease: increased mental activity and precautions usually recommended to avoid stroke such as exercise, regular use of Aspirin, and proper eating habits.

Gauthier completed his MD at the Université de Montréal and undertook postdoctoral training in neurology at McGill University. He then received a Medical Research Council of Canada Fellowship in Neurochemistry, working under Professor Theodore L. Sourkes. Dr Sourkes won the Prix de Québec in 1998 for his groundbreaking work on Parkinson's Disease.


From 1976 to 1985, Gauthier worked at the Montreal Neurological Hospital and Institute. He was appointed Director of the McGill Centre for Studies in Aging in 1986. In 1997, he received a five-year research Chair as Senior Scientist of the MRC/MPAC (Medical Research Council/Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Canada) Health Program in recognition of his work on Alzheimer’s disease. He is a professor in the departments of Neurology & Neurosurgery, Psychiatry and Medicine at McGill.

He is editor of Clinical Diagnosis and Management of Alzheimer's Disease (2nd ed. - 1999), considered a major reference manual. He is also the author and editor of several other books, including  Pharmacotherapy of Alzheimer's Disease (1998), and Alzheimer's Disease in Primary Care (2nd ed. - 1997).

Sources: Dr. Gauthier's webpage; Pfizer Canada Inc newsletters (1) (since deleted) and (2) (2002); McGill Media Release, March 24, 1997. Photo: Dr. Gauthier's webpage.

The Person

Professor, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Psychiatry and Medicine
McGill University
  • MD, Université de Montréal
  • Post-doctorate (neurology), McGill University
  • Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology Innovations in Neuropsychopharmacology Award, 1998 <i>(with Drs Judes Poirier and Rémi Quirion</i>
  • Prix Galien Canada, 1997
  • Medical Council of Canada Senior Scientist Award, 1997
Last Updated
June 22, 2015

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