Pushing the boundaries of stroke recovery
OTTAWA, Sept. 27, 2011 /CNW/ - The Heart and Stroke Foundation today
announced $10 million in funding to its partner organization, the Heart
and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery (CSR) to fund research
in the area of stroke recovery.
"The Centre for Stroke Recovery is redefining research, stroke care, and
stroke recovery across the country," says David Sculthorpe, CEO, Heart
and Stroke Foundation of Canada. "This contribution will facilitate new
discoveries and help stroke survivors recover faster than ever before.
We are extremely grateful for the contributions from the Centre's
current partners which include Baycrest, Sunnybrook Health Sciences
Centre, the University of Ottawa, the Ottawa Hospital Research
Institute, and its new partner, Memorial University of Newfoundland."
CSR partners are committed to transforming outcomes by dramatically
reducing the incidence of stroke and improving recovery and quality of
life for stroke survivors and caregivers. Funding from the Heart and
Stroke Foundation and the CSR's other partners will support vital
research and accelerate its pace.
The Foundation's investment will continue to fuel the Centre's research
into new areas of stroke recovery. Created in 2002, the CSR has
initiated multiple research initiatives and partnerships aimed at
accelerating and enhancing recovery from stroke.
"Research into stroke recovery is more important than ever because we
now know that recovery continues indefinitely rather than stopping a
few weeks after the event," says Dr. Dale Corbett, CEO and Scientific
Director of the CSR. "This finding has major implications for
rehabilitation and for research into recovery following stroke. It
opens the door to new modes of rehabilitation and treatment. For
survivors, it means it is never too late to regain functions."
Key areas of research in the Centre include:
Exercise, stroke recovery and brain health. CSR teams, including one led by Drs. Laura Middleton and Brad MacIntosh
at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, are working to understand the
implications of exercise for recovery. These innovative studies have
the potential to change lives in a very substantive way according to
Research shows that something as simple as regular exercise can actually
speed up the process of brain repair. "We all know physical activity is
good," says Dr. Corbett. "Now, we are amassing evidence that exercise
may also accelerate stroke recovery. Our teams are trying to learn what
intensity and duration of exercise will bring the best results. Their
findings will have many applications, and may lead to new guidelines
and greater emphasis on exercise therapy after stroke. Also, our
research can be translated immediately into clinical practice because
new exercise regimens do not require a long approval process."
Small vessel disease, covert stroke and cognitive function. Dr. Black and her team at Sunnybrook as well as colleagues at Baycrest
are among the many CSR researchers studying silent or covert strokes -
tiny strokes that do not immediately produce obvious symptoms.
While covert stroke has received increased attention over the last few
years, the magnitude of the problem is just now being realized.
Canadians are five to six times more likely to experience covert
strokes than massive overt strokes - and the long-term effects often
include significant loss of cognitive function and eventually dementia.
The cumulative effect can be devastating, according to Dr. Corbett.
"Major strokes are the tip of the iceberg," he says. "Covert stroke is
the huge hidden part of the iceberg - and the part we need to better
diagnose and understand.
"Part of the challenge, and an important first step, is acquiring
improved data. Currently in Canada we do not capture this
sufficiently. My hope is to see improved data capture and better
cognitive tools to ensure early detection. Much of our research in this
area is aimed at improved data capture, development of better tools for
early detection and new cognitive rehab therapies."
Regenerative approaches to stroke recovery involving neurogenesis and
cell transplants. CSR teams, including one led by Dr. Corbett, working at University of
Ottawa and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, are looking for ways
to promote the replacement of brain cells - a process known as
neurogenesis. The goal is to help the brain heal itself using its own
processes after stroke. "This area of research is still in its infancy,
but it may lay the groundwork for future therapies which - down the
road - will significantly accelerate stroke recovery," says Dr.
Research has huge significance for stroke survivor Joe Newton and his
wife and caregiver Shirley. A major stroke 13 years ago left Joe
paralyzed on the left side of his body, and unable to eat solid foods.
Since then, he has worked ceaselessly to regain physical and cognitive
Today he is a recognized water colour artist. He prepares gourmet meals,
travels and works out regularly - and he continues to regain functions
lost to stroke. He has also taken part in several studies and both he
and his wife Shirley are firm advocates of research. "It's a good life
now," says Shirley, "and that is due in part to stroke research. Just
understanding that the brain has the potential to repair itself has
enhanced our life."
"Research gives us hope," says survivor Joe Newton.
"Knowledge gained by CSR researchers will help stroke survivors recover
more," says David Sculthorpe. "Faster, more complete recovery means
lower health care costs and, even more important, a better quality of
life for everyone affected by stroke."
Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability. Approximately 50,000
strokes occur in Canada each year - that's one every 10 minutes - and
315,000 Canadians are living with the after-effects of a stroke. Many
more experience covert stroke, with devastating cumulative effects.
Each year, nearly 14,000 Canadians die from stroke and more women than
men die from stroke. Of those who survive, more than half require
ongoing assistance with daily activities. Stroke costs the Canadian
economy $3.6 billion a year in physician services, hospital costs, lost
wages, and decreased productivity.
To learn more about research into stroke recovery, visit www.centreforstrokerecovery.ca
To learn more about stroke and stroke prevention, visit www.heartandstroke.ca/stroke
The Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery
The Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery (CSR) (www.centreforstrokerecovery.ca) is leading the way in stroke recovery research and serving as an
example for the global community. A multi-site Centre of Excellence,
the CSR enables world-class researchers, scientists and clinicians from
Baycrest, Memorial University, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, the
University of Ottawa and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute to
share information, insights and ideas to accelerate the pace of
scientific advances in stroke treatment and recovery. More than 100
individual CSR researchers are already affiliated with organizations
across North America.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
The Heart and Stroke Foundation (www.heartandstroke.ca), a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease
and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of
research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and
SOURCE Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario
For further information:
Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery
613-562-5800 ext. 8299
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
613.569 4361 ext 318
Diane Hargrave Public Relations
416-467-9954, ext. 104