WINNIPEG -- Many clinical trials have come to a halt over the last year due to the pandemic, and now one Manitoba trial is facing an expiration date.

Researchers running the study, who are looking at the effects of flaxseed on the brain, are hoping to get back to work soon because the flax beverage being tested will go bad in fall.

"All the clinical trials in Winnipeg, except for COVID trials were put on hold last fall so we've been shut down from our trail for over six months I think," said Benedict Abensi, a principal investigator at St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre.

Soon, Albensi is hoping to be back in action on a double-blind clinical trial.

His study will look at the effects of a Manitoba-made flaxseed beverage in folks with suspected memory problems or Alzheimer’s disease.

Albensi said the heart health benefits of flax have been well researched at St. Boniface Hospital, noting the active ingredient in the flax is Omega-3 fatty acids.

“What was interesting to me was, when I found out about this is, nothing has been done on the brain,” he said.

Now, because of the ongoing pandemic delays, the research team is facing another hurdle.

The flaxseed beverage participants would’ve been drinking for this trial, and a few others have instead been sitting on the shelf. It has about a one-year shelf life.

“I think we have maybe over 15,000 containers stored at St. Boniface right now. So, quite a large amount of product that might expire in the fall,” explained Albensi.

This means Albensi’s study team is eager to screen potential participants to take part in the study, once it is given to go-ahead to begin again.

Men or women aged 60 to 84, with mild memory loss or cognitive impairment and who are otherwise healthy, are eligible to participate in this study.

Albensi said the plan is to deliver the drink to participants at home for them to drink daily. Those eventually enrolled would also need to make five in-person visits over six months for memory and blood tests.

"We have all our ducks in a row to conduct it safely, so we're really hoping people will call us and email us to take advantage of this opportunity."

Anyone looking for more information can call 204-235-3941 or email