Non-invasive brain therapy research may enhance recovery for stroke survivors

March 24, 2021

Brain Canada announces $1.9M investment for Heart Institute-led research project with transformative potential.

March 24, 2021 – The Canadian Platform for Research in Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation project (CanStim), co-led by Jodi Edwards, PhD, of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI), will receive $1.9M in funding over three-and-a-half years through Brain Canada’s Platform Support Grant Program. The first platform of its kind in the world, CanStim will combine clinical and preclinical research in an integrated platform with the potential to accelerate protocol development and translation of brain stimulation technologies and transform clinical care for stroke survivors.

Dr. Edwards and the national CanStim investigative team will conduct multicentre clinical trials to safely test repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), a non-invasive form of brain stimulation that uses short magnetic pulses to the skull to modulate neural activity, as a potential therapeutic approach to enhance recovery outcomes of individuals with stroke-related disabilities and other neurological disorders. Additionally, CanStim will provide opportunities to trainees across Canada to explore new interdisciplinary approaches to studying stroke recovery.

At the UOHI, this work falls under the interface of brain-heart research, which is the focus of one of the UOHI’s five ORACLE (Ottawa Region for Advanced Cardiovascular Research Excellence) Innovation Hubs.

“CanStim's integrated design will enable us to rapidly advance the development of optimized protocols for the use of TMS in stroke rehabilitation,” said Dr. Jodi Edwards, who directs the Brain and Heart Nexus Research Program at the UOHI. “This will be an important advance for all stroke survivors, but particularly patients with cardioembolic stroke as individuals with atrial-fibrillation-related stroke experience increased stroke severity and worse functional outcomes, highlighting the need for innovative adjunctive therapies.”

This project is made possible with the financial support of Brain Canada, through the Canada Brain Research Fund, an innovative partnership between the Government of Canada (through Health Canada) and Brain Canada, the Heart & Stroke Foundation Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery, and Le Réseau Provincial de Recherche en Adaptation-Réadaptation (REPAR).

The CanStim team involves leading recovery researchers from Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Kingston, Vancouver, Calgary, and St. John’s. Neurologist Dr. Alexander Thiel of McGill University and neuroscientist Dr. Numa Dancause of the Université de Montréal will co-lead the initiative along with Dr. Edwards. 

For more information

Please read the press release posted on Brain Canada’s website for complete details.

Media contact

To coordinate an interview with Dr. Jodi Edwards, please contact the media liaison below.

Leigh B. Morris
Communications Officer
University of Ottawa Heart Institute
613-316-6409 (cell)