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Brain Health
Epilepsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, developmental disabilities, and mental health disorders – these are just some of the brain-related conditions children in our community face. But thanks to community support, experts at the Alberta Children’s Hospital are leading the way in better understanding and treating a wide range of illnesses and injuries of the brain.
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Sickness can be worrisome for families, but when it affects a child’s brain, it can be especially devastating. The brain is central to a child’s development, intelligence, personality and life-long potential. And since illness and injury of the brain during development -- its most vulnerable stage -- can have serious life-long effects, the Alberta Children’s Hospital has made Brain Health a priority.

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Every year, thousands of children need the Alberta Children’s Hospital for very specialized care to treat their brain-related illnesses and injuries, whether they are a result of trauma or changes to the brain caused by disease, disorder or premature birth. Some of these conditions include:

Little-Square-Yellow.gifAcquired Brain Injury including stroke, brain tumours, infections like meningitis and encephalitis, hydrocephalus, and problems resulting from near drowning and carbon monoxide poisoning

Little-Square-Yellow.gifTraumatic Brain Injury - each year, up to 1,500 kids come to our hospital’s emergency department with a traumatic brain injury, such as concussion. One in five kids will suffer a mild traumatic brain injury before age 10. 

Listen to Hank's story shared during the 2018 Country 105 Caring for Kids Radiothon

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Read Alivya's story about how the NCC program saved her life

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Little-Square-Yellow.gifResults of Premature Birth - susceptibility to brain injury due to bleeding and a poor oxygen supply in the brain, sometimes resulting in Cerebral Palsy and learning disorders. 

Little-Square-Yellow.gifGenetic and Chemical Disorders - disorders of the brain resulting from a genetic or chemical abnormality

Little-Square-Yellow.gifDevelopmental Disabilities - learning disorders, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cerebral palsy and developmental delays where the causes are mostly unknown

Little-Square-Yellow.gifMental Health concerns - depression, anxiety, disruptive behavior,post-traumatic stress disorder, aggression, bipolar disorder.  

For children whose brains are still developing and forming essential networks that  affect physical, cognitive and emotional function, the implications can be life-long. The quicker they can be diagnosed and treated, the greater the benefit on their long-term quality of life.

Thankfully, the Alberta Children’s Hospital is the only free-standing pediatric facility in Canada to provide a full spectrum of brain health services under one roof including Neurology, Neurosurgery, Psychiatry, Neuro-rehabilitation, Neuropsychology, NeuroCritical Care and Neurodevelopmental expertise. Thanks to generous community support, our hospital has acquired resources and recruited experts who are providing national and international leadership in the areas of Stroke, Minimally-invasive brain surgery, Behavioural Research and Epilepsy.

Thanks to you

Thanks to you, the Alberta Children's Hospital is home to:

TMS no headingTrans Cranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) — Canada’s first pediatric brain stimulation lab. Using non-invasive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), our experts map connections within the brain to better understand conditions like childhood stroke and depression. Their hope is to further utilize this technology to help the brain rewire and repair itself. Experts at the hospital are national leaders in using TMS to help kids with stroke. 


3T MRI no heading3T MRI Western Canada’s first 3-Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging (3T MRI) scanner within a children’s hospital, a state-of-the-art radiation-free technology that holds twice the power of the conventional MRI. The 3T MRI is helping revolutionize the field of imaging by enabling our specialists to see not only how a child’s brain is structured, but also exactly how it is functioning. 

ROSA thumbnailRobotic Stereotactic Assistant (ROSA) a high tech piece of equipment used to perform brain surgery on children. Using ROSA, specialists have a less invasive way to map children’s brains and pinpoint specific areas to target during surgery. Since the arrival of the ROSA in 2014, neurosurgeons at the Alberta Children’s Hospital have more than doubled the number of operations they perform annually to help kids with epilepsy.

NCC thumbnailNeuroCritical Care Program — A first of its kind program in Canada, NeuroCritical Care has begun delivering immediate and personalized care to children whose brains are at risk due to critical conditions such as traumatic brain injury, brain tumours, preterm birth, stroke, epilepsy and spinal cord disorders. The program unites experts within neurology, neo-natal intensive care and pediatric intensive care whose focus is on preserving brain function by intervening early, continuously, and by augmenting the child’s own recovery process so he/she can have the best outcome possible.

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For decades, the best insights into the complexity of a child’s developing brain were learned either through surgery or autopsy. Today, thanks to generous donations, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute has a growing team of specialists who now have new, less invasive ways of expanding pediatric Brain Health knowledge.

concussion hockey playersLittle-Square-Yellow.gifBrain Injury Research

Generous donors have helped the Alberta Children’s Hospital's Pediatric Brain Injury Program become one of the best in Canada. Key areas of focus for the Pediatric Brain Injury Research Program currently are Concussion and Stroke.

3T MRI in useLittle-Square-Yellow.gifBrain Imaging Research

Our researchers are using 3T MRI imaging to look at the working brains of children who have behavioural or developmental disorders, like Autism or ADHD. Researchers are finding structural and functional differences in the brains of these kids.

zebrafishLittle-Square-Yellow.gifEpilepsy Research

Researchers are using zebrafish, which are 70% genetically similar to humans, to study and test potential new medications to treat seizures. Already, six potential new therapies are being validated before heading into clinical trials for kids.  

Researchers are studying TMS potential treatment for cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury/concussion, depression, Tourette Syndrome, and pediatric pain.  

    There are always GREAT events going on in support of the Alberta Children's Hospital!                                                  

Click here to view upcoming events >>