Stroke

Stroke

What is a stroke?
What advancements have the Brain Research Centre made in stroke research?
Would you like to learn more about stroke?
Who researches stroke?
Would you like to support stroke research?

What is a stroke?

Stroke occurs as the result of a sudden loss of blood supply to a part of the brain. This can occur when a blood vessel in the brain bursts or is occluded. Cells in the affected region of the brain die because they no longer receive oxygen and nutrients from the blood, leading to the symptoms and disabilities of stroke patients. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in North America, and the leading cause of disability. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 40-50,000 Canadians suffer from stroke each year, and over 300,000 Canadians are currently living with the effects of stroke. Stroke costs the Canadian economy approximately $2.7 billion per year, and the average acute care cost associated with each stroke is approximately $27,500.

We now know that stroke is largely preventable if some of the risk factors can be recognized in time and controlled effectively. We also know that many of the brain cells in the regions of the brain affected by stroke do not die immediately after the loss of blood supply, but instead die over several hours to days following the stroke. With timely treatment there is hope that these cells can be saved.

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What advancements have the Brain Research Centre made in stroke research?

Investigators within our Centre are attacking the problem of stroke at several different levels. Until recently, modern medicine had very little to offer as treatment for this disease. However, over the last two decades, basic and clinical investigators have made many promising discoveries that are leading to the development of new therapies that will help prevent the occurrence of stroke, reduce the damaging affects of stroke, and promote and improve recovery from the damage caused by stroke. In the future, it is possible that some of the cells that have died after stroke may be replaced with new stem cells, and that many of the disabilities associated with longstanding stroke can be alleviated.

Our basic research in stroke is focused on identifying new risk factors for stroke, increasing our understanding of the biological mechanisms by which neurons die following a stroke, and developing novel therapeutics for effective treatment of stroke patients. In addition, we are pursuing innovative strategies to optimize functional recovery following a stroke. Our research into preventative measures involves developing stroke “vaccines” that can be used to inoculate high-risk patients, and to defend their brains against the damage caused by stroke. Our clinical investigations within the Centre are identifying the best strategies and new drug treatments in the management of stroke. Our Centre is participating in several National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded stroke prevention trials, and in four acute stroke treatment trials. Our stroke management team has established an international reputation in clinical stroke trials, and has been funded by the Canadian Stroke Network Centres of Excellence to participate in a National Stroke databank. Throughout all this research, we continue to work constructively, and in a mutually supportive manner, with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon and with several national organizations to improve our community service.

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Would you like to learn more about stroke?

Download a two-page summary on stroke.

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Who researches stroke?

Christopher Ahern, PhD Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences / Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Hugh Anton, MD   Division of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine
Negar Asdaghi, MD   Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine
Kenneth G. Baimbridge, PhD   Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences
Oscar Benavente, MD    Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine  
Gordon Binsted, PhD    Department of Human Kinetics, UBC Okanagan
Lara Boyd, PhD   School of Rehabilitation Sciences
Craig Brown, PhD   Division of Medical Sciences, University of Victoria
William Campbell, PhD    Department of Psychiatry 
John Church, MB, ChB, PhD   Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences
Kenneth Curry, PhD Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Ryan D’Arcy, PhD  Faculty of Applied Sciences, Simon Fraser University
Kerry Delaney, MSc, PhD   Department of Biology, University of Victoria
Felix A. Durity, MD   Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery
Janice Eng, MSc, PhD   School of Rehabilitation Sciences
Bruce B. Forster, MSc, MD   Department of Radiology
Jayne Garland, PhD   Department of Physical Therapy
Douglas A. Graeb, MD   Department of Radiology / Department of Medicine
Devin Harris, MD, PhD  Department of Emergency Medicine
Manraj Heran, MD    Department of Radiology
Antony Hodgson, PhD   Department of Mechanical Engineering
Judy Illes, PhD Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine
Timothy Inglis, MSc, PhD   School of Human Kinetics
William Jia, MSc, PhD   Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery
Juergen Kast, PhD   Department of Chemistry and Biomedical Research Centre
Luba Kojic, PhD Department of Ophthalmology
Charles Krieger, MD, MSc, PhD   School of Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University
Tania Lam, PhD   School of Human Kinetics
Jocelyne S. Lapointe, MD   Department of Radiology
Brian MacVicar, PhD Department of Psychiatry
David A. Mathers, PhD   Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences
James McLarnon, MSc, PhD   Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Bruce M. McManus, MD, PhD   Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Edwin D. Moore, MSc, PhD   Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences
Timothy H. Murphy, PhD   Division of Neurological Sciences, Department of Psychiatry
Christian Naus, PhD, Professor & Head, Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences
Robert A. Nugent, MD   Department of Radiology
Ken Prkachin, PhD Department of Psychology, University of Northern British Columbia
Alexander Rauscher, PhD Department of Radiology 
Lynn A. Raymond, MSc, PhD, MD   Division of Neurological Sciences, Department of Psychiatry
Gary Redekop, MD, MSc   Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery
Gordon Rintoul, PhD Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University
Jane Roskams, PhD Department of Zoology
Peter Ruben, PhD School of Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University  
Leigh Anne Swayne, PhD Division of Medical Sciences, University of Victoria
Terrance Snutch, PhD Department of Zoology / Department of Psychiatry
Weihong Song, MD, PhD Department of Psychiatry
Philip Teal, MD   Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine
Richard C. Tees, PhD   Department of Psychology
William Tippett, PhD Department of Psychology, University of Northern British Columbia
Casey van Breeman, PhD Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Steven R. Vincent, PhD   Division of Neurological Sciences, Department of Psychiatry
Yu Tian Wang, MD, PhD Department of Medicine
Rosemary Wilkinson, MSc, PhD Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine  
Andrew Woolfenden, MD   Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine

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Would you like to support stroke research?

The Brain Research Centre is committed to advancing our knowledge of the brain and to exploring new discoveries and technologies which have the potential to reduce the suffering and cost associated with disease and injuries of the brain. We invite you to help us deliver on this commitment.

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