CNA Contributor Bios

Mary Armstrong

Woman with big bright smile and long blond hair with mountains in the background

Mary on Nihahi Ridge

Mary has worked and volunteered for several non-profits. As a former business owner, editing, writing and graphic design were key components of the job, and she continues to contribute in a volunteer capacity while semi-retired.  Mary recently joined the CNA after seeing an opportunity online where she can continue to use her skills, and learn about Neuropathy in an effort to assist the CNA to reach the many people affected.

In her spare time, Mary enjoys hiking, skiing, photography and travel, and recently became part of the Calgary area film community as a background performer.

Dr. Nikita Burke, Eyes High Postdoctoral Fellow, The Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Postdoctoral Researcher examining the neurobiology of pain, with a focus on microglia and opioids.

During her PhD she examined the role of the immune and monoaminergic systems in the link between depression and pain, and the impact of early life stress on pain-related responding in later life.

Learn More about Dr. Burke and her work on chronic pain in this Alberta Innovates Article on Dr. Burke.

Sylvia Donley, Masters of Nursing, President CNA

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Sylvia Donley – President CNA

Sylvia’s bio is pending.

Dr. James Haxton DC, DACNB

Dr. James Haxton DC, DACNB - Functional Neurology

Dr. James Haxton DC, DACNB – Functional Neurology

Dr. James Haxton graduated cum laude from Life Chiropractic College West in the San Francisco Bay area.  Just like specialists in the medical field, there are also specialists in the chiropractic profession. Dr. Haxton is a diplomate of the American Chiropractic Neurology Board (DACNB) which means he has a specialty in chiropractic neurology, also known as functional neurology. This designation is only held by 27 chiropractors in Canada. Studying under Dr. Frederick Carrick, functional neurology has been the centre of Dr. Haxton’s clinic in south Calgary. Treating neurological disorders from neuropathy to Parkinson’s to concussions, the success of functional neurology has superseded traditional neurological methods and produced positive outcomes.

Functional neurologists use the musculoskeletal (muscles and bones) and sensory systems (sight, taste, touch, smell, hearing) as they interact with the neurological system (brain) to improve quality of life. They use a variety of treatment modalities including the technique of adjustment as well as other sensory-based treatments to bring about improvements in health. This exciting new field is gaining a lot of steam, especially from media coverage around the success of functional neurology with high profile athletes, such as Sidney Crosby, and Olympic medalists, looking for a competitive edge. In everyday life, many people are utilizing functional neurology after being told their test results are normal but their symptoms are still affecting their daily lives.

As more research is conducted in the field of neurology, functional neurologists can modify and evolve their treatments to conform to the newest standards of care for the best possible results.

Learn More about Dr. Haxton and Functional Neurology by visiting his website here:

Sabrina Martini, Neurology Student, U of L (4th year)

Sabrina is a student entering the 4th year of her Bachelors of Science, majoring in Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge. Thus far into her bachelor’s she has contributed to research regarding sleep-dependent hippocampal memory. Her interests lie in all things medical and she wishes to go on to medical school in the years to come.

Linda Petiot BSc, CBAP, CISA, Vice-President CNA

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Linda Petiot – CNA VP

Linda joined CNA in December 2015 after hearing Dr. Haxton speak to the group. She was so happy to hear there were things she is able to do for her neuropathy that she joined CNA that day to learn more.  Since that day she’s been researching and trying different options for neuropathy and pain relief.

Linda is an independent information technology business analyst who has taken on the Vice-President role as well as management of the CNA website and video production.  Linda says, “Even though it is volunteer, working with Sylvia and the rest of this team is the highlight of my career.  I feel like I can really make a difference and help people with peripheral neuropathy.” Linda is looking forward to the exciting things the team will do together.

She has hereditary peripheral neuropathy, also called Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT) disease, a condition under the Muscular Dystrophy umbrella. Linda also volunteers for CMT Canada, a facebook group that supports Canadians with the condition by researching and providing Canadian-based resources and information.

Sarah Rieger, Professional Journalist & Editor

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Sarah Rieger – Journalist & Editor

Sarah Rieger was previously an associate news editor at HuffPost Canada and is now an independant journalist. In her spare time, she volunteers with local arts organizations and loves reading about science, the environment and technology.