A world of information could be the key to understanding strokes

Aug 29 2014

By Professor Mark Parsons

HMRI’s collaborations reach across the country and involve:

  • Tiantan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing
  • Beijing Military 301 Hospital
  • Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai
  • Zhejiang University 2nd Hospital, Hangzhou 

My name is Professor Mark Parsons, and I am working on a current collaboration with China called, the INSPIRE project, (International Stroke Perfusion Imaging Registry). Through these collaborations we now have over 350 patients with acute perfusion imaging, as well as follow-up brain imaging and clinical data post-stroke.

We are also assessing a new MRI perfusion imaging technique (called ‘arterial spin labelling’) which does not need injection of contras, whereas the current CT and MR methods do. The HMRI Stroke Research Group is the lead site in this trial, where we also collaborate with UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) who developed the new sequence, and Tiantan Hospital.

Of course, some of the benefits of the collaborations are that we occasionally get to travel to China, eat very nice Chinese food, and speak Chinese – things I am very passionate about.

But aside from that, these collaborations provide us with the ability to analyse much larger datasets than otherwise possible. They also have allowed us to develop strong links and friendships with key people at each hospital, generally younger researchers, who we try to assist in publishing papers using the data. Several of them have even visited us in Newcastle, and stayed at my house too.

In fact, our profile has also allowed us to attract excellent PhD and Post-doctoral students from our collaborating centres.

Longting Lin came to us from another of our collaborators, Harbin Medical University (Northern China) and is now nearly finished her PhD, which is investigating advanced brain imaging in acute stroke. We also have two new PhD students from China coming later this year and next year, who will also be looking at new aspects of brain imaging in acute stroke.

Later this year, we will also host a researcher from Tiantan who will come to do a 2 year post-doctoral fellowship, further cementing the collaborative arrangements between the Hunter’s stroke researchers and our colleagues in China.

*** Professor Parsons is National Heart Foundation Fellow, School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle.