Doctor's Corner

“Stroke in newborns and children was almost unheard of twenty years ago. Today, we know that stroke commonly affects children. In the first week after birth, the risk of stroke is greater than at any other time of life!

When a child has a stroke, it can be devastating for both the child and the family. All too often, subsequent strokes or even death can result. But, there is hope and new promise developing in the field.

We are just at the beginning of our understanding of pediatric stroke, but we are making steady progress. In the 12 years since 2000, over 1,200 scientific studies have been published in the field and this is more than in the preceding century. Five years ago, guidelines for treating children with stroke were unknown. Now there are four sets of evidence-based guidelines, including the Canadian Stroke Guidelines ( which include children through to adult.

As we move into the next decade by working together, health care providers, researchers, children with stroke and their families, and other supporters, we will make a difference. We are thrilled to be part of the development of the Canadian Pediatric Stroke Support Association!”

Gabrielle deVeber MD, Ivanna Yau Nurse Practioner,
on behalf of the Children's Stroke Team at the Hospital for Sick Children

"Strokes occurring at or before birth are very common and most people are not aware of that.  This accounts for most cases of hemiplegic cerebral palsy (CP) - weakness on one side of the body since birth. We're looking at new ways to potentially enhance function on a child's weak side. One is constraint therapy where the strong side is deliberately restrained by wearing a cast for several weeks to encourage new function on the weak side. The other is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS. TMS technology allows researchers to measure and 'map' how a child's brain recovers from stroke and may also have the potential to guide a child's brain development toward better function. It's very exciting and very motivating to find new ways of changing the brain. Everyone assumes you can't do that.''

Adam Kirton MD, Calgary Pediatric Stroke Program at the Alberta Children's Hospital

Listed below are ongoing studies performed at various Canadian hospitals. If you are interested in learning more, determining if your child is eligible, or willing to participate in the study, please contact the coordinator of the study directly.

Ontario Childhood Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy Integrated Neuroscience Discovery Network “CP-NET” Study

Coordinator: Amy Finlay ( )

Study Description:

This multicentre, Ontario based study aims to understand the possible cause(s) and risk factors for hemiplegic cerebral palsy (CP). The study involves children and both their biological parents.

The study involves a weekend visit to SickKids (typically on a Saturday) for approximately 3hrs. During this visit:

  • Parents will be asked a series of questions about their child, and their own, medical history.
  • Saliva sample will be obtained from the child and both biological parents. This is an optional part of the study.
  • The child will be assessed by an Occupational Therapist and Neurologist.  Children older than 4 years of age, may also be assessed by a Psychologist.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Children currently 2-18 years of age whose biological parents (both) are also willing to participate in the study
  • Children who had a stroke prior to their second birthday
  • Children with CP
  • Children with arm and/or leg weakness ( p lease note that even a very mild weakness in an arm or leg is enough to be included in this study)

Measurement and Modulation of Brain Plasticity in Children with Stroke Using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Coordinator: Amy Finlay ( )

Study Description:

Many children with stroke are left with weakness and motor difficulties on one side of their body. The effect on hand function often causes the most difficulty.

The purpose of this study is to use TMS to measure brain reorganization after stroke and as a therapy to improve motor function in the affected hand.

The study requires you and your child to attend the TMS laboratory at the Toronto Western Hospital each weekday for two weeks and for three follow-up visits at one week, two weeks, and three weeks following the two weeks of treatment (total of 13 days).

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Children currently 7 years of age or older
  • Children who had a stroke during late gestation ( > 28 weeks gestation) or during the neonatal period (birth to 28 days post birth inclusive)
  • Children with a confirmed diagnosis of hemiparesis
  • Children with cerebral palsy (CP)
Canadian Pediatric Stroke Support Association (CPSSA) Send E-mail   

Subscribe to the CPSSA mailing list

* indicates required

         This website has generously been supported by The Hospital for Sick Children and an Anonymous Donor Copyright © 2012 All rights reserved.