Innovation Award: Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso

Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso’s research in geriatric medicine is recognized internationally and has garnered numerous awards. His innovation in recognizing the relationship between cognition and mobility has led to strides in understanding conditions including dementia, gait disorders, falls and frailty. With the aging population recognized as a major pressure on the health system, his work has the potential to transform care.

Cognition and mobility were previously studied as separate disciplines, but Dr. Montero-Odasso’s extensive experience as a Geriatrician at St. Joseph’s Health Care London led to simultaneous work in the two areas, contributing to advances in research with clinical applications. He was among the first to show gait dysfunction as an early marker of dementia, and that how an older patient walks and talks can help identify the risk of dementia.

As the leader of Lawson’s Gait and Brain Lab at St. Joseph’s Parkwood Institute, Dr. Montero-Odasso has more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, 17 book chapters and two books. In 2022, he led an international team of experts and a panel of patients with lived experience to publish the World Guidelines for Fall Prevention and Management for Older Adults to provide clinical guidance on identifying, assessing and preventing the risk of falls.

In 2023, the groundbreaking results of his SYNERGIC Trial (Synchronizing Exercises, Remedies in Gait and Cognition), published in JAMA Network Open, found a combination of cognitive training and exercise can significantly improve mental sharpness in older adults with mild cognitive impairment, including memory, attention, recognition and orientation. The next phase of the trial is already underway, using virtual, at-home interventions.