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CanStim Platform: Sex and Gender-Based Analysis Expansion

Principal Investigator:
  • Jodi Edwards, University of Ottawa Heart Institute
Team Members:
  • Alexander Thiel, Jewish General Hospital
  • Numa Dancause, Université de Montréal
  • Women's Brain Health Initiative

Project Overview

The Canadian Platform for Trials in Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation (CanStim) is national research platform whose goal is to create a network of sites across Canada for clinical trials that can develop and test the use of different types of non-invasive brain stimulation as an additional therapy option for people with stroke to help them better recover their ability to move their hands and arms after a stroke. Men and women show different levels of recovery after stroke. In addition to a having a higher overall risk of stroke, women are more likely to die or have a severe stroke, have higher levels of disability after stroke and are more likely to need long-term care. There is also new evidence that people’s gender roles or identify are related to health status post-stroke. Given these differences, it is important that new rehabilitation options are developed to accommodate both men and women. Non-invasive brain stimulation is a safe and non-invasive way to stimulate the brain and has been shown to help the brain re-learn different tasks after a stroke. However, little is known about whether there are also differences in how this technique works for men and women or whether other types of information (e.g., information from blood tests) or information about people’s gender might affect how people respond to this technique. This research study will directly test this and identify factors that predict how men and women respond to brain stimulation. By embedding this into the CanStim Platform, Canada will have the first clinical trials network to be able to test different types of brain stimulation that have been specifically designed for men and women separately. This will help us find the best rehabilitation strategy to maximize stroke recovery tailored to the individual patient to improve stroke outcomes for all stroke survivors.