Canadian neurologist receives award for CT mapping technique

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Shelagh B. Coutts, MD, was granted the first Distinguished Clinician Scientist 2009 award by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health and AstraZeneca Canada during the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress this week in Edmonton, Alberta.

Coutts is an assistant professor in the department of clinical neurosciences and member of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary in Alberta. She was selected for the award on the basis of a one-year study examining her approach in diagnosing transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients using CT angiography (CTA) to visualize a bleed or blockage in the brain.

Her method of mapping a stroke in high-risk individuals is said to decrease the risk of a second stroke.

The study is testing the new CTA technique on 400 TIA patients. "Once we analyze the data, we'll be able to predict which patients are at a higher risk of having a second stroke," Coutts said. "With an accessible and non-invasive technology such as the CT/CTA, we're likely to have a significant impact on preventing major strokes in urban and rural Alberta."

"This is the highest ranking and one of the most prestigious awards offered to a researcher by the Foundation," said Sally Brown, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, which sponsors the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress.