Today and into the future, your support helps save lives. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. You're helping fund life-saving research that really does make a difference. As survivors and their families will tell you, we're making progress by leaps and bounds. Every day we're helping Canadians fulfill their dreams of living longer, fuller lives. And we're excited about the promise of the future.
Canadians need your help to live longer, fuller lives.
• Heart disease and stroke is a leading cause of death for women
In Alberta, we're especially fortunate to have some of the foremost researchers and research facilities in the country. With this high caliber of expertise, the latest scientific findings are quickly translated to front lines of health care, supporting the very best health for all of us.
Over the past 50 years, Alberta has earned an international reputation for exceptional heart and stroke research and gold-standard treatment procedures and facilities. From its humble beginnings in 1957, the Heart and Stroke Foundation has played a significant role in nurturing the province's research communities, allowing them to grow and thrive. In the past five years, the Foundation has invested over $25 million for research in Alberta. We're committed to investing in the best research that will deliver longer, fuller lives for you, your family and all Canadians. Learn more at www.heartandstroke.ab.ca.
Assistant Professor of Nursing, University of Calgary
Family caregivers – especially spouses – are a lifeline for stroke survivors, and are instrumental in their rehabilitation and recovery process. But the caregivers themselves often face significant challenges that can result in high financial, physical and emotional costs. The resulting depression that can impact the caregiver may, in turn, hamper the survivor's recovery progress.
Dr. Theresa Green is working with colleagues across Canada in a project that is evaluating the appropriate resources and preparation caregivers need as they participate in this recovery process. She is also leading a new study to look specifically into the effect a stroke can have on spousal relationships. When a patient returns home soon after a mild stroke, he/she can have cognitive and emotional impairments that their spouse is not equipped to handle.
Providing the right support for caregivers – the unsung heroes of stroke recovery – could accelerate a stroke survivor's recovery, rehabilitation and return to the community, ensuring the healthy future of so many families.
Co-Founder/Director - Calgary Pediatric Stroke Program, Alberta Children's Hospital
More than 1,000 children in Alberta live with Cerebral Palsy (C.P.) caused by perinatal stroke. This can cause physical impairment, such as weakness on one side, and emotional challenges that last a lifetime.
Heart and Stroke Foundation-funded Researcher Dr. Adam Kirton is exploring therapy options for kids with stroke-induced C.P., with an aim to improve their mobility. The clinical study is structured like a kids' camp organized by age group. So far, the results look very promising: the kids are gaining mobility and independence from the therapies.
But Dr. Kirton is equally pleased to see the clear benefits that the camp-style setting provides; in fact, this approach has the potential to transform best practices for rehab with youth on a broader scale. For some participants, this was their first time meeting other kids with exactly the same condition. Unlike the standard one-on-one therapy, these kids had the opportunity to interact with their true peers, which has had a powerful impact on their confidence and self assurance.
Through this novel clinical study, Dr. Kirton is inspiring new hope for Alberta families, and creating change that will last a lifetime.
Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology - University of Alberta
When you hear 'the matrix,' chances are you're imagining Keanu Reeves and the sci-fi trilogy of Hollywood movies. But what comes to mind when you hear 'the matrix of the heart?'
For Heart and Stroke maverick Dr. Zamaneh Kassiri at the University of Alberta, it's all about ECM - the extracellular matrix. ECM is the structural framework of the heart, holding together all the heart muscle cells; it is the very glue that holds this vital organ together. Dr. Kassiri compares ECM to the cement in a brick building: you can use the best bricks available, but if the cement is compromised, your building will not be stable. An organ as important as the heart doesn't function well with a compromised matrix.
It takes a maverick to charge into this complex world of cells, proteins - and the 'matrix of the heart.' Dr. Zam Kassiri is doing just that, and she's making progress. Already she and her colleagues have identified four members of the family of protein inhibitors (TIMPs), and the specific role each plays in the development and progression of heart disease. Her Heart and Stroke Foundation-funded study is focused on identifying the particular TIMP which could become the next super-hero of the matrix.
Dr. Kassiri's lab is currently exploring the role of each TIMP in the progression of heart disease. Her work has the potential to uncover new ways to maintain and regulate the stability of ECM, the heart's matrix, providing a longer, more fulfilling life for people living with various forms of heart disease.