Optimizing Recovery After Stroke
There are more than 50,000 new cases of stroke per year in Canada. Most stroke survivors are left with disabilities like muscle weakness, impaired hand function, difficulty walking, speech impairments and cognitive deficits. These issues reduce patients’ quality of life and make it difficult for them to do everyday tasks. It is estimated that stroke also costs Canada $3.6 billion per year in health care services and lost productivity.
Dr. Janice Eng, Canada Research Chair in Neurological Rehabilitation, is developing innovative treatments to optimize brain recovery after stroke and help patients maximize and maintain their recoveries over the long term. Ultimately, her research is aimed at reducing disability after stroke and improving quality of life.
She and her research team are designing and evaluating treatments to maximize brain recovery, such as high-intensity exercise. They are also developing wearable robotic devices that will enable people recovering from severe stroke to walk, as well as telehealth applications to spur physical activity and improve arm use after stroke. These novel approaches and technologies will improve the health of many Canadians living with the after-effects of stroke, and will ultimately reduce health-care costs.
As well, because stroke serves as a model of a complex chronic disease, Eng’s research may have applications for other chronic health conditions.