Here is the latest news from the Canadian Stroke Congress 2016

More than 800 of Canada’s experts in stroke are meeting in Quebec City today to open the seventh annual Canadian Stroke Congress and showcase the latest in stroke practice and research innovations.

“The Canadian Stroke Congress is the premier stroke conference in the country,” says Dr. Jeffrey Minuk, co-chair of the Canadian Stroke Congress. “It is an unprecedented opportunity for experts to exchange ideas and make the connections which will change the future of stroke.”

“We are honoured to welcome the Canadian Stroke Congress back to Quebec City,” says Gaétan Barrette, the Quebec minister of health and social services. “Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Canada and a leading cause of disability. The Congress is unique opportunity for Canadian experts to get together to identify research priorities and share best practices which will change these statistics and improve the health of Canadians.”

Thursday Sept. 15 Conference Highlights

Hot topic in stroke: Rehabilitation

Stroke is a leading cause of adult disability. Recovery from a stroke can continue for years or a lifetime. Most people who have a stroke report that they need some degree of help afterwards and 80 per cent experience some limitations which can be small, or severe enough to interfere with daily activities. At least 60 per cent of survivors require some rehabilitation. As the population continues to age, more Canadians will be living with the effects of stroke.

  • Helping recovery find its rhythm: We’ve all heard that music is good for the soul. But is it good for the brain? The use of music as an intervention has the potential to help stroke patients recover ─ faster. Research has found that rhythmical music can help with movement and improve muscle control. Music therapy can also improve the mood of stroke survivors by increasing relaxation, overall motivation, and helping to distract from pain. It’s been linked to improved cognition, including attention span, memory, organization, speech and communication, and the ability to solve problems. (Deirdre Dawson, Toronto ON)
  • Brain repair in rehab: Eighty-five per cent of people survive a stroke and 60 per cent end up with disabilities. A new wave of technology, with a great potential to enhance recovery, is sweeping the medical research field. The use of exoskeletons and electrical stimulation is being investigated for their ability to help stroke patients partially or fully regain motor performance. These – along with new drugs aimed at brain repair after stroke – could impact stroke survivors’ quality of life and have the potential to reduce long term use of healthcare services. (S. Thomas Carmichael, Los Angeles, California)
  • Stroke rehabilitation at a crossroads: This year’s 2016 Ramon J. Hnatyshyn Lecture focuses on the future of stroke rehabilitation. Over the past decade there has been an increasing recognition of the importance of rehabilitation as part of the continuum of stroke care. Stroke rehab has significantly advanced in Canada through a recent emphasis on earlier, more intensive, and task-focused interdisciplinary rehabilitation ─ helped by an impressive volume of new research. While rehabilitation has improved, changing demographics and advances in acute stroke care have led to a greater demand, increasing the need for innovative new models of care to maximize use of limited resources, including a greater shift to community-based rehabilitation. There is a need for large multi-centered clinical trials to inform innovative rehabilitation approaches, as well as greater use of new technologies to maximize stroke patients’ recovery. (Robert Teasell, London ON)

Hot topic in stroke: Women

When it comes to stroke Canadian women are facing a life and death health issue but most don’t know it. Women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men. Unfortunately, when it comes to heart disease and stroke, women in Canada are under-researched, under-diagnosed, and under-supported post discharge.

  • Participation of women in stroke prevention trials: What are the implications of inadequate representation of women in clinical trials? How are regulatory bodies improving representation of women in research studies? And should the healthcare community design more studies devoted to prevention of stroke in women? (Seemant Chaturvedi, Miami, Florida)
  • Hormone replacement therapy, contraception, and the risk for stroke:  Is it really that scary? Both menopause hormone therapy and contraception are considered safe and effective for most women. Ariane Mackey looks at the risks and benefits of each – and how physicians should work with their patients to assess and help women weigh their individualized risks and benefits. (Ariane Mackey, Quebec City QC)

“Currently 400,000 Canadians are living with the effects of stroke,” says Dr. Patrice Lindsay, director of stroke for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. “Heart & Stroke is committed to fostering a vibrant stroke community and supporting innovative stroke research to prevent and treat stroke.”

Dr. Lindsay notes that the Heart & Stroke Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations also provide healthcare professionals with the most current evidence and expert guidance allowing them to provide the best care and contribute to the best possible outcomes for people who have had a stroke.


  • 62,000 strokes occur in Canada each year – that is one stroke every nine minutes.
  • 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.
  • Brain cells die at a rate of 1.9 million per minute after stroke.
  • Each year, more than 13,000 Canadians die from stroke.
  • Half of Canadians report having a close friend or family member who survived a stroke.
  • Stoke is a powerful predictor of dementia: Having a stroke more than doubles someone’s risk of developing dementia.

The Congress is being held in Quebec City from September 15 to 17, 2016. Follow us on Twitter @strokecongress, #CanadianStrokeCongress.


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

Co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Stroke Consortium, the Canadian Stroke Congress is a uniquely Canadian forum for experts to share the latest research findings, exchange ideas, and make the connections which will change the future of stroke. It brings together researchers, neurologists, nurses, rehabilitation specialists, policy makers, health system decision makers – and many others – in an unprecedented opportunity to improve the brain health of Canadians.

The Canadian Stroke Consortium (CSC) is the professional organization for stroke neurologists, leading continuing education, advocacy and research for health care professionals. The CSC has several membership categories allowing a broad spectrum of health care professionals to benefit from its educational programs, clinical research, and advocacy efforts.

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.

For media interviews, please contact:
Diane Hargrave
416-467-9954, ext. 104

After September 17, 2016, contact:
Jane-Diane Fraser
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
(613) 691-4020
Cell from Sept 15-17: 613-406-3282