Canadian neurologist wins highest award as American Stroke Association honors five

01/24/05

American Stroke Association award news

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 2 One of North America's foremost neurologists and stroke researchers, Vladimir Hachinski, M.D., D.Sc., professor of neurology at the University of Western Ontario, London, Ont., Canada, is the recipient of the American Stroke Association's highest honor the Thomas Willis Award for 2005.

Hachinski will receive the award and deliver the prestigious Willis Lecture today at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2005 here in New Orleans.

Named for pioneer physician Thomas Willis (1621-1675), the award recognizes a senior investigator who has made major contributions to the understanding of stroke over a sustained period. Willis is credited with providing the first detailed descriptions of the brain stem, cerebellum and ventricles along with extensive hypotheses as to their functions.

In addition, John R. Marler, M.D. will receive the William M. Feinberg Award for Excellence in Clinical Stroke and Hermes A. Kontos, M.D., Ph.D., wins the Distinguished Scientist Award. Research awards will go to Hong Li, M.D., who is receiving the Mordecai Y.T. Globus New Investigator Award in Stroke and Shelagh Coutts, M.D., who wins the Robert G. Siekert New Investigator Award in Stroke.

An internationally recognized stroke investigator and innovator, Hachinski is the current editor-in-chief of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association and a past chair of the stroke conference program committee. He is past Richard and Beryl Ivey Chair of the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences at the University of Western Ontario.

Hachinski pioneered the development of acute stroke units providing specialized patient care; discovered the key role of the central lobe in the cardiac complications of stroke and developed the "ischemic score" that bears his name. In addition, he was the first recipient of Canada's Trillium Award for outstanding research achievement.

Marler will receive the association's second major honor, the William M. Feinberg Award for Excellence in Clinical Stroke, which recognizes significant achievement in the clinical investigation and management of stroke. Feinberg (1952-1997) was a prominent stroke researcher and American Heart Association volunteer who made notable contributions to a fuller understanding of the mechanisms of stroke.

The Feinberg award is supported by an educational grant from the pharmaceutical firm Boehringer Ingelheim.

Marler is associate director of clinical trials for the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS) and is recognized for leading major clinical trials resulting in more effective drug treatment of stroke.

Marler was project leader for the NINDS tPA Stroke Trial and the NINDS Master Agreement for Cerebrovascular Research efforts that led to approval of the drug tPA as the first treatment for acute stroke. As leader of the NINDS Clinical Trial Group, Marler is focusing on accelerating the translation of recent discoveries in neuroscience into treatments for all neurological diseases.

Kontos, CEO of the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System Authority, will receive the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Stroke Council of the American Heart Association at an awards breakfast and council election. This honor recognizes members of the association who have made major and independent contributions to cardiovascular and stroke research. Kontos is recognized for his research in the physiology and pathophysiology of the cerebral microcirculation and especially the role of free radicals in ischemia, hypertension and brain trauma.

Kontos has received many honors for his career including the Thomas Willis award in 2001 and the Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Heart Association.

Two other awards recognize noteworthy research accomplishments by young investigators: Hong Li, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, is receiving the Mordecai Y.T. Globus New Investigator Award in Stroke, which is supported by the University of Miami. His winning research report, Abstract 21 titled "Gender Differences in Neuronal Cell Death After Oxygen-Glucose Deprivation in Organotypic Hippocampal Cultures" found "endogenous neuroprotection"in female cells deprived of oxygen.

Shelagh Coutts, M.D., of the University of Calvary, Canada, wins the Robert G. Siekert New Investigator Award in Stroke, which is named for the founding chair of the International Stroke Conference. Coutts' report, Abstract 39 "Presence of DWI Lesion on Acute MRI in Minor Stroke + TIA Patients Predicts Recurrent Stroke," concluded that some lesions visible on magnetic resonance imaging in patients with minor stroke or transient ischemic attack is "indicative of an increased risk of future stroke and is predictive of subsequent functional dependence."

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