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Strategically composed of front-line clinicians, scientists and clinician- scientists, our Brain Injury Research Team is focusing on research – both in the lab and in the hospital – on the most pressing and perplexing health issues related to children’s brains.

This translational approach means the team focusses their scientific work on the biggest issues facing kids in hospital. What they discover will then be translated as quickly as possible into better treatments and cures to help children and families in our community and around the world. 

Included in the key areas of focus for the Pediatric Brain Injury Research Program are:

CONCUSSION-INCON.pngConcussion

20% of children suffer concussion before the age of 10. Yet there are no treatments for the many kids who suffer from persistent Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS).  PCS can lead to seizures, daily migraine-like headaches, depression, anxiety, sleep disruption, cognitive issues and difficulties concentrating. Despite the overwhelming incidence and the debilitating long-term symptoms that often result, globally there is relatively little scientific understanding of post-concussion syndrome.concussion research image_carolynemery_new.jpg

Calgary is a national and international leader in this field, publishing more research studies about pediatric concussion than anyone else in the world in the past five years. With community support, the team will build on their expertise and translate their findings into:

  • Increased injury prevention
  • More accurate diagnostic/prognostic tools
  • New and more effective evidence-based treatments

Experts here have shaped policies around body checking in Peewee hockey across the country, likely saving hundreds, if not thousands of kids, from suffering a concussion.

  • Researchers are also leading a world-first study looking at treating children with mild concussion using the hormone melatonin.

CONCUSSION-INCON.pngStroke  

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To many people's surprise, the most focused period of risk for stroke occurs in the first week of life. Brain damage caused by infant stroke can affect a child's movement, speech, and ability to learn. It may also result in seizures, behavioural issues and/or cerebral palsy. While the symptoms and impact of infant stroke are known, its causes and risk factors are not fully understood. 

The stroke team at the hospital is collaborating with colleagues across Alberta to study 800 children affected by stroke – the largest sample of perinatal stroke patients ever studied. Using this cohort, focused research studies could involve developing risk profiles, studying the role of placental disease, and predicting and understanding brain plasticity and recovery – all to improve treatment and long-term outcomes for these children.

Researchers here are also working on studies that include different types of non-invasive brain stimulation to help kids who have suffered a stroke with their motor skills. Even better yet, this research is happening while kids are in day camps, having fun and meeting new friends.

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    There are always GREAT events going on in support of the Alberta Children's Hospital!                                                  

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