Dr. Al Jin

Kingston General Hospital Research Institute, Queen’s University

The modern definition of transient ischemic attack (TIA) specifies that it is a self-resolved loss of blood flow to the brain causing no tissue death in the affected area. It is believed that because of the lack of tissue death, neurological impairments resulting from a TIA endure for less than 24 hours. This idea is generally confirmed by standard clinical tools, which are able to identify significant deficits in sensorimotor and cognitive function. However, recent studies using more sensitive tools such as the Kinarm have found evidence that TIA can cause more long-term impairments, despite the conclusion from MRI analysis that there was no tissue death in the brain.

Dr. Al Jin and his team of researchers are one of such groups studying the more enduring effects of TIA. Using the Kinarm Labs, they assessed individuals who had recently suffered from TIA using 8 different behavioural tasks. Their study found that although none of their subjects had evidence of tissue death and that all of their clinical symptoms had been resolved, many still displayed upper limb sensorimotor performance deficits as well as cognitive function deficits (Simmatis et al, 2017). These conclusions suggest that TIAs may affect brain structure and function in ways other than brain death and demonstrate the value of Kinarm Labs for enhancing clinical research.