CALGARY, April 30, 2013 /CNW/ - New research to help children suffering from brain injuries such as severe head trauma, concussion and stroke is now underway at the University of Calgary-Alberta Health Services' Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute for Child and Maternal Health (ACHRI), thanks to a generous $1.6 million donation from the Ronald and Irene Ward Foundation.
"Our vision is to find better ways to prevent, treat and even reverse the devastating impact of brain-related illness and injury," said Dr. Brent Scott, Director of ACHRI and Husky Energy Chair in Child and Maternal Health. "We're grateful to the Ward Foundation for its leadership in helping us achieve those goals."
"Support from the Ward Foundation is helping us attract more brain health scientists to Calgary," said Dr. Winne Meeuwisse, physician, researcher at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) and a leader of the campus-wide Brain Injury Initiative at the University of Calgary. "This investment is facilitating collaboration at new levels. It is helping us bring together experts who are passionate about not just treating brain injury and illness, but also understanding what happens inside the diseased or traumatized brain, why it reacts as it does and how we can develop new therapies."
Research is an important component of a collaborative effort of ACHRI, the Alberta Children's Hospital, HBI and University of Calgary Faculty of Kinesiology to improve the outcomes of kids who suffer concussion, injury and illness of the brain. One project already underway in the new labs has researchers studying the use of melatonin as a potential therapy for Post-Concussion Syndrome.
"We hope our gift will inspire others to help fund this crucial research initiative," said Paul Wanklyn, nephew of Ronald and Irene Ward and trustee of the Ward Foundation. "Ron had dementia before he passed away in 2007. We understand how devastating it can be when a person's brain is affected by illness. Our hope is that community investments in this type of research will contribute to breakthroughs in brain disease."
"We will focus on the most pressing problems we see in the hospital," said Dr. Jong Rho, Section Chief of Paediatric Neurology at the Alberta Children's Hospital and University of Calgary. "We want to ensure our research is relevant and translated into better care for kids as quickly as possible."
"In Alberta, one thousand children have suffered from a stroke and each year 1500 are rushed to the Alberta Children's Hospital Emergency Department with a traumatic brain injury," said Randy Findlay, a Director on the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation Board. "Thanks to the Ward Foundation, there is hope for those kids and their families that they will recover more quickly and suffer fewer long term effects. We are so grateful for such incredible support."
The Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute for Child and Maternal Health (ACHRI)
ACHRI is a multi-disciplinary partnership Institute of the University of Calgary, Alberta Health Services and the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation - the membership of which encompasses the Faculties of Arts, Engineering, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Nursing, Kinesiology, Science and Social Work.
The Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation
The Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation is a founding partner of ACHRI, as well as the primary funder. The Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation raises funds for excellence in child health, research and family centred care. Through the generosity of donors, the Foundation provides funding for innovative programs, state-of-the-art equipment, advanced medical training and internationally-recognized pediatric research. www.childrenshospital.ab.ca
Hotchkiss Brain Institute
The Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary consists of more than 100 physicians and scientists who are dedicated to advancing neurological and mental health research and education. The Institute's research strengths in foundational neuroscience (axon biology and regeneration, cerebral circulation, neural systems and behaviour) are leading to new treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders, aimed at improving quality of life and patient care. More information on the Hotchkiss Brain Institute can be found at www.hbi.ucalgary.ca.
University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is a leading Canadian university located in the nation's most enterprising city. The university has a clear strategic direction to become one of Canada's top five research universities by 2016, where research and innovative teaching go hand in hand, and where we fully engage the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.' For more information, visit ucalgary.ca.
Alberta Health Services
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than 3.8 million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.
SOURCE: Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation
For further information:
Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation
Belinda Lamb, VP Communications
Office: 403. 955-8821 | Cell: 403.803.3340