Today’s highlights from the Canadian Stroke Congress

Canada’s premier stroke event concludes today in Toronto

September 19, 2015 (TORONTO, ON) ─ What happens when the greatest minds in stroke come together in one of Canada’s largest cities? The 2015 Stroke Congress continues to highlight the latest research and best practices aimed at improving the health of Canadians and creating more survivors.

“The participation and enthusiasm from the Congress delegates and speakers this year really showcases the commitment to collaboration within Canada’s stroke community,” says Dr. Mark Bayley, co-chair of the Canadian Stroke Congress. “We would like to thank everyone involved in the Congress and look forward to seeing their hard work come to life and make a real impact in people’s lives across Canada and beyond.”

Despite tremendous progress, there is still much to be done to improve stroke prevention, treatment, care and recovery. Death rates from stroke have declined over the past 10 years because of advances but stroke remains a leading cause of disability and is the third leading cause of death in Canada.

Saturday’s Conference Highlights:

Stroke mapping 9-1-1: With an acute stroke, “time is brain,” meaning the faster someone recognizes the signs of stroke, calls 9-1-1 and gets emergency treatment, the more likely they will survive and recover and reduce the risk of disability. But a country as large and geographically diverse as Canada creates challenges for time-sensitive access to treatment. Researchers geo-mapped Canadians’ access to hyperacute stroke services using Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Remarkably, the majority of Canadians live within six hours road access to a stroke centre. In fact more than 85 per cent of us live within 4.5 hours of a stroke center, underscoring why it is so important for people to know and react to the FAST stroke signs. #ActFAST

Exercise after stroke turbo-boosts blood flow to brain regions involved with executive function: A Toronto study finds that daily aerobic exercise can increase blood flow to multiple brain regions, including the frontal regions responsible for planning and problem-solving, by up to 20 per cent ─ potentially laying the groundwork for an improved cognitive outlook after stroke.

Not your grandfather’s stroke: Study investigates the incidences of memory impairment and depression in young and older stroke patients ─ and their risks for future strokes.

Prescription for recovery? What is the ideal intensity and amount of exercise needed in the early phase following stroke? Researchers determine how much exercise patients can tolerate and will turn next to investigating the best DOSE to prescribe for optimal inpatient rehabilitation.

Use of a powered robotic exoskeleton to promote walking recovery after stroke: Many stroke patients are not able to return home without assistance and those who do not regain walking ability are more likely to go to nursing homes. Not all patients have the opportunity for walking during early stroke recovery, especially those requiring more assistance. A possible novel solution is the use of a powered robotic exoskeleton to enable early walking. The outcomes of this upcoming trial will provide evidence regarding the effectiveness of this new technology for walking and stroke rehabilitation.

“This is our sixth year co-hosting the Canadian Stroke Congress,” says David Sculthorpe, CEO, Heart and Stroke Foundation. “When I reflect on where we were then and where we are now in stroke awareness, treatment and care, it is astonishing how much work has been done by so many and at how far we have come.”

The Canadian Stroke Congress features dynamic research breakthroughs in prevention, treatment, acute care, rehab and recovery. It brings together the best innovative thinkers to share research results and best practices.


Statements and conclusions of study authors are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect HSF or CSC policy or position. The Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Stroke Consortium make no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability.

The Canadian Stroke Congress is a joint initiative of the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Stroke Consortium. The full program is here.

Follow us on twitter @strokecongress #2015strokecong

About the Heart and Stroke Foundation

The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s mission is to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery. A volunteer-based health charity, we strive to tangibly improve the health of every Canadian family, every day. Healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke. Together we will make it happen.


  • An estimated 62,000 strokes occur in Canada each year – one every nine minutes.
  • Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Canada and the second leading cause of death in the world.
  • More than 400,000 Canadians are living with long-term disability from stroke.
  • In the next two decades, the number of people living with long-term stroke disability will increase by 80 per cent to 726,000.
  • Stroke costs the Canadian economy $3.6 billion a year in physician services, hospital costs, lost wages and decreased productivity.
  • Stroke can happen at any age.

For daily media tip sheets, study abstracts and interviews:

Jane-Diane Fraser
Heart and Stroke Foundation or 613-691-4020
Cell from Sept. 17-19: 613-406-3282