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Harper announces projects aimed at preventing autism and Alzheimer's

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MONTREAL - The federal government says it will spend more than $9 million supporting five research projects to study autism and Alzheimer's disease.

The goal of the research is to discover new treatment and prevention strategies.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement Thursday in Montreal.

"It's fair to say that directly or indirectly, there's hardly a Canadian who does not know someone affected by neurological illness," Harper said.

"Roughly three pounds of water and fat, our brains are the source of so much of our potential and the starting place for much of the accomplishment of human history."

The federal funds are part of a public-private partnership that involves the Brain Canada Foundation, the Azrieli Foundation and the Chagnon family.

Ottawa also announced Thursday it would match $3.25 million in new funding by the Azrieli Foundation.

The government investment is part of Ottawa's commitment to provide up to $100 million over six years, from 2011-'17, to support research in neuroscience and the treatment of brain disease and mental disorders.

Researchers at McGill University, the University of Toronto, McMaster University and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health will lead the projects.

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