The top-ranked catalyst grant and the winner of this year’s Dr. Tony Hakim Stroke Research Award is Dr. Paul Albert, who is doing innovative research into post-stroke depression (PSD).

A large proportion of patients have PSD within three months of their stroke. Those with PSD have poorer recovery with a greater risk of premature death. In most patients, PSD is treated with antidepressant drugs like SSRIs and these drugs take 3-4 weeks to work and are only 50% effective. This project examines whether SSRIs, exercise or both promote recovery from PSD using a newly developed mouse model. Researchers will also determine how these treatments affect brain activity and will use light stimulation as a new way to promote more rapid and effective recovery. Using the new mouse model, researchers will be able to test what drug or exercise combination is the best. They will also be able to use light-sensitive optogenetic mice to test whether light stimulation of the brain can improve recovery from PSD, a completely new area of research.

Full project descriptions will be available shortly on the Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery website www.canadianstroke.ca.