Harper Government supports research on exercise for people with spinal cord injuries

VANCOUVER, Feb. 24, 2012 /CNW/ - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today announced a new research project aimed at improving the cardiovascular health of people with spinal cord injuries.

The Minister was joined by Dr. Howard Feldman, Associate Dean of Research (Medicine), University of British Columbia (UBC); lead researcher Dr. Andrei Krassioukov, of the ICORD spinal cord injury research program at UBC and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute; and Ms. Marni Abbott-Peter, a three-time Paralympic gold medallist in wheelchair basketball.

"Our Government understands the importance of basic exercise in promoting good health," said Minister Aglukkaq. "We are proud to make investments that will allow both patients and doctors to find innovative ways to help people with spinal cord injuries become as active as possible, and lead healthier and happier lives."

The research project, entitled "Improving cardiovascular health for Canadians living with spinal cord injury: Effects of exercise and targeted education," was supported by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

"CIHR is pleased to support this outstanding research project," said Dr. Jean Rouleau, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health.  This research will find practical solutions that will transform the lives of Canadians living with spinal cord injuries."

The announcement was made at the ICORD program at the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, located at Vancouver General Hospital

"We are extremely pleased to receive this support," said lead investigator Dr. Andrei Krassioukov.  "We have an extraordinary team of passionate clinicians and scientists working in collaboration from across the country as part of this grant. The knowledge we develop will directly translate to improving cardiovascular outcomes and the health in general of Canadians with spinal cord injury."

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's health research investment agency. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 14,100 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

ICORD is a world leading health research centre focused on spinal cord injury. From the lab-based cellular level of understanding injury to rehabilitation and recovery, our researchers are dedicated to the development and translation of more effective strategies to promote prevention, functional recovery, and improved quality of life after spinal cord injury. Located at Vancouver General Hospital in the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, ICORD is supported by UBC Faculty of Medicine and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. Visit www.icord.org.

Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, a world leader in translational health research, is the research body of Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. VCH Research Institute includes BC's largest academic and teaching health sciences centres: Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital, and GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. The Institute is academically affiliated with UBC Faculty of Medicine and is one of Canada's top funded research centres, with $83.1 million in research funding for 2010/2011. In addition to major partnerships with national clinical trials, research networks, and industry, VCHRI co-hosts two national Centres of Excellence for Commercialization Research (CERC) and one National Centre of Excellence, and has 13 Canada Research Chairs and one Canada Excellence Research Chair. For more information visit www.vchri.ca.

The University of British Columbia (UBC) is one of North America's largest public research and teaching institutions, and one of only two Canadian institutions consistently ranked among the world's 40 best universities. Surrounded by the beauty of the Canadian West, it is a place that inspires bold, new ways of thinking that have helped make it a national leader in areas as diverse as community service learning, sustainability and research commercialization.  UBC offers more than 55,000 students a range of innovative programs and attracts $550 million per year in research funding from government, non-profit organizations and industry through 7,000 grants.

SOURCE Canadian Institutes of Health Research

For further information:

Cailin Rodgers, Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, 613-957-0200
David Coulombe, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 613-941-4563
Lisa Carver, Communications, VCH Research, 604-319-7533, email: lisa.carver@vch.ca


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