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Toronto Researcher Receives AAN Founders Award

CHICAGO – The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) is awarding its 2008 Founders Award to Richard H. Swartz, HBSc, MD, PhD, with the Krembil Neuroscience Research Centre and Toronto Western Hospital in Canada, for his research using MRI brain scans to study blood vessels in the brain that may be at risk of stroke. Swartz will receive the award during the AAN’s 60th Annual Meeting in Chicago, held April 12–19, 2008. He is a member of the AAN. The Founders Award is designed to encourage clinical and translational research in neuroscience by physicians in clinical neurology training programs. The Alliance Awards Subcommittee considers originality, scientific merit, neurological interest, and clarity of expression as criteria for review. Swartz’s research used a unique approach that involved imaging the walls of blood vessels in the brain to improve the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with stroke. The study used newer, high-field strength MRI scanners with specific pulse sequences to target areas of narrowing in the blood vessels. This approach enabled researchers to study more directly the blood vessel walls in the brain. His team then identified patterns of abnormal appearance in the walls of narrowed vessels that have not been previously detected. “This is especially important for young patients or those whose strokes could be due to either atherosclerosis or inflammation,” said Swartz. “We hope that this approach will eventually further reduce the need for invasive diagnostic procedures. In addition, it may help identify people at high risk of stroke or recurrence who could benefit from aggressive interventions, and to assess the responses to those treatments.” The 60th Annual Meeting, one of the world’s largest gatherings of neurology professionals, takes place in the McCormick Place West Convention Center in Chicago.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit

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