McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

McMaster tops in Canadian health research

By Suzanne Morrison
Published: March 21, 2011

Two of the top six achievements in Canadian health research this past year are the work of research teams at McMaster University.

The winners were named March 21 by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) following their selection for their considerable impact on the health of Canadians and others by a peer-review panel of Canadian and international experts.

One of the McMaster winning achievements is the trials to evaluate perioperative beta-blockers in noncardiac surgery.

Investigators for the POISE-1 (PeriOperative Ischemic Evaluation) trial are P. J. Devereaux, associate professor, clinical epidemiology and biostatistics; Gordon Guyatt, professor, clinical epidemiology and biostatistics; Salim Yusuf, professor of medicine; and Homer Yang, professor of anesthesia, University of Ottawa.

The team led the world's largest randomized controlled trial on the effects of the beta-blocker, metoprolol, in patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery. The results of their study contradicted — and changed — recent practice, indicating harm from use where benefit had been assumed. Building on knowledge from the trial, the investigators are exploring other interventions, such as low-dose clonidine, to reduce vascular risk in patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery.

The other McMaster winning achievement was the transformation of orthopedic care in trauma. The team members include Mohit Bhandari, associate professor, orthopedic surgery; Gordon Guyatt and Stephen Walter, professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics.

Setting out to improve the way clinical trials are done in fracture care, their collaboration expanded to more than 300 orthopedic surgeons and 70 research coordinators across 238 centres, culminating in the completion of the largest trial of fracture care to date and several randomized trials that address important clinical gaps. Previously, most fracture care studies were small, single centre studies.

The four other winning achievements include: The safe use of low-molecular-weight heparin in cancer patients with blood clots; the development of a model of care for patients needing hip and knee replacements; establishment of a cardiac registry in Alberta for tracking outcomes in cardiac care; and the development of a collaborative research and training team in British Columbia which has changed practice and policy in infection control in Canada and other countries.

"This year's achievements have proven once again the strength and impact of health research in Canada," said Alain Beaudet, president of CIHR. "I am pleased to recognize, alongside the CMAJ, these scientists for their talent and dedication in demonstrating the positive outcomes of health research across the country."

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