adam [dot] kirton [at] albertahealthservices [dot] ca
Stroke and cerebrovascular disease are a common and increasingly recognized cause of acquired brain injury in newborns and children. The Calgary Pediatric Stroke Program (CPSP) provides children with cerebrovascular disease and their families with state-of-the-art diagnosis, treatment, education, and family support while providing the opportunity to participate in leading clinical research initiatives. Established at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in 2007, the CPSP has enrolled >200 children.
Areas of clinical research activity focus on stroke in the fetus and newborn, a leading cause of cerebral palsy. Active projects include: clinical, prothrombotic, genetic, and biomarker risk profiles; epidemiology of perinatal stroke syndromes; placental disease in perinatal stroke; advanced neuroimaging to predict stroke outcomes; developmental neurorehabilitation after pediatric stroke; and the measurement and modulation of brain plasticity systems after perinatal stroke. Ongoing provincial collaborations are creating the largest population-based sample of perinatal stroke ever studied through the Alberta Perinatal Stroke Project (APSP). The rigorous collection of these children will facilitate the development of multidisciplinary institutional clinical and applied technology research programs. The PLASTIC CHAMPS clinical trial, funded by HSFANN, is exploring the efficacy and neurophysiological effects of combined brain stimulation and constraint therapy in children with weakness after perinatal stroke.
The CPSP is an enrolling site in the International Pediatric Stroke Study (IPSS), a global research initiative in childhood stroke now spanning >100 centres in 35 countries. We currently participate in 2 NIH-funded multicentre pediatric stroke studies with another expected in 2010. The CPSP team is also conducting quality improvement research to better understand the educational and support needs of pediatric stroke families. In 2009, we established the ACH Pediatric Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Laboratory, the first facility of its kind in Canada. TMS technology has the remarkable capacity to measure and “map” how a child’s brain recovers from stroke and also possesses therapeutic potential whereby repetitive TMS may help guide a child’s brain development toward better function.