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New Multi-Institutional Partnership to Focus on Stroke Rehabilitation

Monday, May 20, 2019

The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), Burke Neurological Institute, and Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) have been awarded a $5 million grant from the Empire State Development Corporation to speed the development of ground-breaking neurological treatments for those disabled from stroke.

The project is a part of the NeuroCuresNY (NCNY) initiative, a new non-profit formed by the three institutions to accelerate the discovery of novel treatments for chronic neurological impairment and disability. The new state funding will support a two-year pilot study that will be launched in January 2020. This study design will be unique because it will test the efficacy of state-of-the-art robotic-assisted rehabilitation technology combined with drugs to improve the functional recovery of stroke patients.

Neurological conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury permanently disable more than one million people each year in the U.S., and stroke is the nation’s leading cause of disability. Clinical trials for neurological disabilities and impairments are usually passed over because of unclear results, high costs, and challenges in recruiting participants. NCNY will seek to lower the barriers to participation in clinical trials by assisting with travel funding for patients, while providing a supportive and guiding environment for patients and their families.

Clinical and research faculty from URMC Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation will collaborate with the UR Neurorestoration Institute during the pilot study.

Read More: New Multi-Institutional Partnership to Focus on Stroke Rehabilitation

Mobile Stroke Unit puts Rochester among nation's fastest for stroke response

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

After actor Luke Perry died of a stroke last week, there has been an increased interest in learning about and preventing strokes.

Six months after UR Medicine launched the first mobile stroke unit in New York outside of New York City, patients are being treated within minutes, instead of hours.

The first steps to take for any potential stroke patient are to undergo a brain scan and then be given a life-saving drug called TPA.

The national standard response time for those steps to be administered is just under 60 minutes. With UR Medicine, they averaged about 50 minutes.

But when the Mobile Stroke Unit was brought in, UR Medicine cut its response time down to nine minutes. That is among the fastest in the nation.

"This is progress, but I think we can do better," said Dr. Tarun Bhalla, director of the Stroke and Cerebrovascular Services at UR Medicine. “I think the full potential of this unit has yet to realized. We’re still in the pilot phase and we’re gonna continue to push the envelope.”

Dr. Bhalla said the ambulance is also sparking discussion about recognizing the signs and symptoms of a stroke. Strokes are commonly referred to as "brain attacks" caused by a blocked or burst blood vessel.

"Learn to recognize the signs of a stroke," Dr. Bhalla said "If you see someone with weakness in their face or arm or has speech difficulty, realize that time is of the essence and you need to call 911 immediately to get to your local emergency room.”

The UR Mobile Stroke Unit is an emergency room on wheels. A specialized crew on board performs CT scans, blood tests, and administers life-saving medicines before arriving at the hospital.

Time saved means fewer dead brain cells - and that can mean a world of difference to stroke patients.

Read More: Mobile Stroke Unit puts Rochester among nation's fastest for stroke response