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Canadian Neonatal Brain Platform

The CHU Sainte-Justine Canadian Neonatal Brain Platform aims to ensure a healthy future for infants at risk of brain damage, either because of extreme prematurity, birth asphyxia or congenital heart defects.

Risk factors and sequels of brain damage in newborns and infants

Cerebral palsy, autism, severe hyperactivity and developmental delay are often caused by a brain injury that occurs within the first weeks of life.

Preventing brain damage at birth with a national team

The platforms brings together the strengths of clinicians, pediatric neurologists, neuroradiologists and scientists from every Canadian health care institution, university and research centre that is active in the field of neonatology.

These experts share expertise and knowledge in the aim of developing, standardizing and implementing brain imaging tools and equipment across the country, as well as drugs and best practices, in order to:

  • gain a clear understanding of the causes of deficits triggered by brain damage; 
  • adopt best practices in terms of early detection; 
  • develop of more effective drugs; 
  • support families in the long term.


National brain imaging registry

The National Platform includes a nationwide imaging registry that contains comparable data of thousands of infants, with no variation in terms of:

  • image type; 
  • acquisition quality; 
  • MRI interpretation.

With an access to images of comparable quality, specialists are in a better position to detect, diagnose, and identify interventions customized to a child's condition, as well as to define the best risk indicators in infants with brain damage.

Framework for assessing new drugs

The National Platform serves as a backbone for scientists in the assessment of the potential positive and negative effects of various therapies on brain maturation. As such, it enables the conduction of multicentre studies with infants – cared for from Halifax to Vancouver, for scientists who wish to:

  • assess new drugs for their protective effect on the infant brain, and; 
  • assess drugs targeted to treat other diseases for their potential adverse effect on brain maturation.

Unique characteristics of the framework 

  • Standardized set of tools and protocols for image acquisition 
  • Pooled analysis of MRIs from across the country, using validated tools
  • Leading-edge expertise in the field of neonatal imaging

Long-term support for families

The National Platform provides for the management of infants, the follow-up of children year after year and communication with parents. A structure is in place to communicate with parents about developmental interventions they can implement as their child grows, whether in the hospital setting or at home.

Tools such as the The Best in Daily Life website help physicians and researchers to partner with families, regardless of their social situation or geographical location, in order to:

  • adopt new therapies; 
  • get feedback; 
  • organize the provision of care; 
  • schedule follow-up, and; 
  • provide assistance, support and advice.

Financial support 

Partnering institutions 

  • CHU Sainte-Justine, an affiliate of Université de Montréal, Montréal 
  • Montreal Children’s Hospital, McGill University, Montréal 
  • The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto 
  • University of Alberta, Calgary 
  • BC Children's Hospital, Vancouver 
  • McMaster University, Hamilton
  • IWK Health Centre, Halifax

Senior scientist / coordinateur

David Luck, PhD
514-345-4931, #2542


Gregory Lodygensky, MD
514 345-4931, #6150

Press release

About this page
Updated on 5/4/2020
Created on 7/9/2015
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