Stroke

The leading stroke researchers in Ottawa have established the SRC-uOBMRI in order to systematically research the underlying mechanisms of injury, unravel regeneration processes, develop new approaches to optimize recovery and implement innovative rehabilitation processes at our partnering hospitals in Ottawa.  Among the successes of the consortium thus far:

  • Established a comprehensive center focused on the science of stroke and the mechanisms that contribute to successful functional recovery.
  • Recruited the best scientists from various domains within stroke research. Only recently we welcomed two highly sought after scientists: Dr. Baptiste Lacoste who is a specialist in vascular plasticity and Dr. Simon Chen a specialist in motor learning.
  • Facilitated the development of forward-looking treatments for stroke. In this regards, we are particularly proud of Drs. Dowlatshahi and Lum, uOBMRI members who played a leading role in the development of revolutionary treatment that reduces stroke-induced mortality rates by 50% while ensuring better quality of life to survivors. This is indeed a game changing treatment which will impact stroke care worldwide.
  • Develop RecoverNow, a progressive stroke rehabilitation approach
  • Developed virtual reality gaming platform where the latest advancements in the gaming industry are harnessed to provide stroke survivors with a potent, engaging and fun rehabilitation alternative to improves post-stroke functional recovery. The prototype, developed by uOBMRI members Drs. Sveistrup and Finestone, is already in use at the uOBMRI laboratories. At this stage, its potency in expediting functional recovery of physical and cognitive abilities as well as a diagnostic tool to detect vision problems among stroke survivors is being established through clinical trials.
  • Characterized deficits affecting hand function. Stroke survivors often struggle to recover upper limb functionality and through the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), Dr. Tremblay offers safe and non-invasive way to identify the sensory and motor deficits underlying these motoric malfunctions.

Research Themes:

Stroke Prevention: Creating ground-breaking tools to predict those at risk for a stroke; - a major step forward in stroke prevention! They have developed a new online  application which enables people to assess their own risk for  cardiovascular diseases (projectbiglife.com). High-risk individuals will be alerted and will have the opportunity to access treatments for risk reduction. 

Brain Vasculature: Studying the cerebrovascular network and examining how this can be remodeled after stroke. Manipulation of the cerebrovascular networks represents a novel and innovative
approach to treat stroke as the brain is dependent on a steady
supply of blood, which carries oxygen and vital nutrients.  During a stroke the drastic reduction in blood supply causes brain cells to die, leading to devastating damage.

Inflammation: Working on innovative approaches to control inflammation after stroke. They have found that key modulators of inflammation can reduce brain damage, thereby providing an exciting and novel avenue for stroke treatment.

Regeneration after Stroke: How brain cells are altered during stroke is poorly understood. Understanding these fundamental changes in the brain is critical to promote functional recovery. Investigators have identified gene expression changes that are unique to each cell type in the brain
during stroke and throughout recovery. Understanding how these cells
respond during the recovery phase will inform how recovery actually
happens and help identify new ways to accelerate the recovery process.

Stem Cells: Developing new ways to regenerate the damaged brain tissue after a stroke. The adult brain has stem cells that have the
potential to regenerate and renew brain activity. Our scientists are discovering ways to increase the potential for stem cells to replenish damaged tissue and promote stroke recovery. Clinician scientists are also adding stem cells into the brain after stroke to reactivate the brain’s own ability to heal itself. 

Rehabilitation: Advancing recovery interventions for stroke patients. Using tablet technology, stroke survivors can regain their communication skills faster by beginning speech therapy in the hospital immediately, taking advantage of the early window of stroke recovery.  They have also created a
platform that uses virtual reality in fun and engaging ways to help stroke survivors regain standing and walking abilities during their rehabilitation at a faster pace.

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