New program to make Ottawa a global centre of excellence in concussion research and care across the entire patient spectrum

Department of Medicine
Faculty of Medicine
Research and innovation
Medical resident using tablet in simulation center
Bonnie Findlay, uOttawa
Concussion is the most common brain injury impacting 400,000 Canadians annually, yet research to date has primarily focused on professional and high-performance athletes or military veterans, with little effort to integrate data collection across the full spectrum of patients. This siloed approach has greatly restricted the potential for new discoveries in brain health and insights related to individualized recovery plans.

Now, a groundbreaking $5.4 million research collaboration between the CHEO Research Institute, 360 Concussion Care, and the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) aims to transform concussion care globally, advancing knowledge and treatment across the full spectrum of impacted patients.  

Funded by OBI, the TRANSCENDENT research program is led by Dr. Roger Zemek, who is Clinical Research Chair in Pediatric Concussion and Professor at the University of Ottawa's Brain and Mind Research Institute. An internationally recognized concussion expert, Dr. Zemek and his team strive to address the critical gaps in research by establishing one of the largest concussion datasets in the world, collecting data based on age, gender, mechanism of injury and co-morbidities across multiple sites within 360 Concussion’s learning healthcare system.

The TRANSCENDENT team will identify precise indicators to reliably track concussion recovery, utilizing cutting-edge assessments including physiological evaluations, fluid biomarkers and advanced neuroimaging. They will conduct parallel studies and transfer critical knowledge in real time – to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and management of concussion from all causes, across the entire patient spectrum.

To fully maximize the value of the investment in concussion learning, the TRANSCENDENT team will share its datasets of thousands of patients via the OBI’s collaborative research platform Brain-CODE, to leverage international partnerships and cross-link related datasets using advanced neuroinformatics.

This collaboration represents a remarkable opportunity to push the boundaries of our understanding and treatment of concussion for all patients," says Dr. Zemek, TRANSCENDENT research program lead who is a Pediatric Emergency Physician and Senior Scientist at CHEO, Scientific Director of360 Concussion Care.

"Our goal is to help build the path to a future of personalized care, where treatments are not just one-size fits all protocols, but the right treatment tailored for the right patient at the right time, guided by individual unique biological markers to optimize outcomes. We are excited at the potential global impact of our efforts, across multiple patient populations, and are very grateful to the Ontario Brain Institute for their incredible support.”

TRANSCENDENT’s data registry will also be a hub of economic activity, acting as an incubator for industry to explore novel diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic tools to advance promising innovations with a global reach and impact.  Dr. Zemek - a Full Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine - and the team aims to catalyse partnerships, facilitate data linkages and conduct real world effectiveness studies to accelerate discoveries in brain health.

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