Robarts Research

Stroke Prevention Research
Dr. J. David Spence
Dr. Daniel Hackam

Stroke Prevention & Atherosclerosis Research Centre (SPARC)

SPARC is dedicated to heart attack and stroke prevention.

Dr. David Spence
Director of SPARC:
J. David Spence

Dr. Daniel G. Hackem
Daniel G. Hackam

SPARC is a clinical research unit of the Robarts Research Institute, affiliated with the University of Western Ontario and University Hospital of the London Health Sciences Centre.

Atherosclerosis is the underlying process that causes heart attacks, and most strokes. At SPARC, our heart attack and stroke prevention research is based on the measurement of atherosclerosis using 2-D and 3-D ultrasound. Our primary mission is stroke prevention. We measure carotid artery plaque for 3 purposes:

  1. Treating arteries, instead of just treating risk factors;
  2. To identify new genetic risk factors causing atherosclerosis.
  3. To test the efficacy of new treatments for atherosclerosis.

The known risk factors for atherosclerosis (age, being male, smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and diabetes) account for less than half the risk. New risk factors for atherosclerosis such as homocysteine and Lipoprotein (a) are under investigation, but it is clear that there are many families with premature heart attacks and strokes that cannot be explained by the usual risk factors. Plaque measurement helps in identifying new genetic causes of atherosclerosis, thereby pointing the way to new therapies that will reduce the risk of heart attacks and prevent strokes.

© 2010 Stroke Prevention & Atherosclerosis Research Centre (SPARC)

SPARC is Committed to Stroke Prevention