Research provides hope for pediatric stroke and brings positive energy to young investigators to fight for better outcomes for all deeply impacted by this disease.
The pediatric stroke phenomenon is slowly gaining awareness among the general population.
However, in the world of pediatric neurology, pediatric stroke awareness, knowledge and research are rapidly gaining ground.
In 1979 there was only one published journal article on pediatric stroke.
By 2012, there were 254 published journal articles.
In just two years, in 2014, there were 441 published articles.
These numbers clearly show an increased interest in the disease and the need to learn more among medical professionals.
While stroke in the population under the age of 18 isn't necessarily increasing (of course, in time research just might produce better data to prove otherwise), there is more knowledge and tools to better diagnose stroke. These tools, also, help improve appropriate treatements for specific patients. This can assist children in reaching their maximum potential.
It has always been a dream of mine, personally, to fund research. This to contribute to a better understanding of pediatric stroke - who is at risk, the causes of stroke in pediatrics, early detection, the best treatments available and, eventually, prevention.
When the Brendon's Smile Foundation was founded in 2009, funding research simply wasn't feasible.
Last year, in 2015, it was with great honor that we were able to create and fund an annual research grant to be awarded to a young investigators whose work specifically benefits people impacted by pediatric stroke.
It is our goal, through more awareness, donations and sponsorship that we will be able to provide more significant monetary annual awards. And, someday, to have multiple awards given out throughout the year.
Laura Lehman, MD is the second young investigator to be the recipient of the Annual WPSA Research Grant.
Dr. Lehman is a Pediatric Neurologist at Harvard School of Medicine. She treats children who have suffered stroke(s) at Boston Children's Hospital.
Dr. Lehman is extremely passionate in understanding more about the emotional effects of stroke on children and their parents.
During her practice as a Pediatric Neurologist, Dr. Lehman has recognized that parents of children who suffer a stroke are at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Dr. Lehman is the lead researcher who is studying potential PTSD and emotional problems after stroke, so that physicians can plan more targeted interventions, such as support groups, and determine who is at risk. We want to ensure that PTSD or other emotional problems do not interfere with the child's recovery," Lehman said.
It is a personal goal of mine to have WPSA contribute to improving to the well-being of, not only the children, but the parents/caregivers and family members of children who have all been deeply impacted by strokes.
Congratulations to Dr. Laura Lehman on your research to quickly assessing who is at risk for PTSD and other emotional disorders when faced with the effects of pediatric stroke.
Laura Lehman, MD
Dr. Nico, as he is so fondly refered to by his patients, is a Pediatric Neurologist and Systems Neuroscientist at Washington University School of Medicine. He treats children with brain injury at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, as part of the Pediatric Neurorehabilitation Program.
Dr. Nico’s research focuses on using multimodal MRI to study use-dependent neural plasticity following pediatric brain injury.
In regards to the research WPSA took an interest to, Dr. Nico showed he was passionate about proving the positive effects of Constraint Induced Movement Therapy or C.I.M.T., through imaging, for children with hemiplegia - a disease most commonly caused by stroke.
It is the goal of Dr. Nico to prove that this type of therapy does, in fact, rewire and increase pathways around damage in the brain.
Currently, this type of therapy is looked at upon by insurance companies as scrictly experimental and will not cover this specific treatment. However, I have seen the positive benefits of C.I.M.T., firsthand, in my son.
This therapy has helped him, and countless others, improve mobility and dexterity in the effected limb. An added benefit to my son was marked improvement on his entire effected side - his balance and gait and with his speech.
(These results will vary from child to child.)
WPSA was excited to provide Dr. Nico with this award to help him with his research to gather data and prove the validity of C.I.M.T.
Dr. Nico's goal is to start C.I.M.T. as soon as possible in a patient and cure hemiparesis.
Congratulations Dr. Nico in your continued work for those with hemiplegia often caused by pediatric stroke.