Gustavo Saposnik

MD, FRCPC, PhD Candidate in Neuroeconomics, MSc

Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute


Research Interests

Stroke outcome, health services research, pharmacoeconomic and stroke therapy, quality of care, translating new emerging therapies into clinical practice, epidemiology of cerebrovascular disease

Research Activities

My current research focuses are Stroke Outcomes and Health Services Research. Specifically, I have looked at the domains of stroke care delivery, prevention, and improved stroke recovery. Both my research training and publications reflect my longstanding interests in these 3 areas. Ultimately, my personal goal is to identify innovative strategies which aim to improve access of care, stroke prevention, and reduce disability in stroke survivors.

Specifically, our team has looked at the domains of stroke care delivery, prevention, and improved stroke recovery. Both my research training and publications reflect my longstanding interests in these 3 areas. The first includes the assessment of how organized inpatient care affects stroke outcomes. We have developed and validated a risk score (called iScore) and a web tool to assist clinicians estimate clinical outcomes after a stroke. The iScore also showed to predict clinical response to thrombolysis (clot-buster medication) after an acute ischemic stroke. The second includes adherence to the guidelines and risk of stroke in selected populations. The last relates to a novel area: the use of virtual reality of stroke rehabilitation. More recently, we have taken it a step further by exploring the use of virtual reality with Nintendo Wii gaming technology in patients with recent strokes. We are also in the process of comparing different virtual reality systems.

To accomplish these tasks, I formed and led a working group on stroke outcome research involving many leading stroke researchers in Canada, and other specialists interested in stroke, called SORCan (Stroke Outcomes Research Canada). This has led to a series of publications, and others being submitted or in press. Our work has been highlighted in two summary reviews on ‘Advances in Health Policy and Outcomes’ published in STROKE Journal (Rudd et al. Stroke 2009;40;e301-e304 and Williams et al. Stroke 2010;41: e77-e80) and LANCET (Lancet 2011; 377: May 14). SORCan has the potential to be expanded and make worldwide contributions. Some of my success in these areas resulted from this productive network of colleagues and researchers in the field.

Our research program includes four main areas: stroke outcome research, stroke epidemiology, stroke & health policy, and new emerging therapies in cerebrovascular disease.

Accomplishments: Since my academic appointment at St. Michael’s Hospital (and creation of the Stroke Outcomes Research Program) in July 2006, I have obtained 3 personnel award (the 2008-2011 Heart and Stroke Foundation Ontario Clinician-Scientist Award, the 2012-2017 Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Distinguished Clinician Scientist Award and the HSFO MacDonald Research Award), 13 peer-reviewed operating grants (8 as PI). I have over 90 peer-reviewed papers published/in-press, 9 editorials, 4 book chapters, and more than 100 abstracts.

I have now established a successful research program involving a network of researchers studying Stroke Outcomes and Health Services Research that is unique within Canada, and perhaps globally.

Recent Publications

  1. Sposato, LA, Fridman, S, Saposnik, G. Letter by Sposato et al Regarding Article, "Stroke as the Initial Manifestation of Atrial Fibrillation: The Framingham Heart Study". Stroke. 2017; :. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.117.017066. PubMed PMID:28416625 .
  2. Sposato, LA, Saposnik, G. Stroke rates vary substantially across cohorts of patients with atrial fibrillation. Evid Based Med. 2017; :. doi: 10.1136/ebmed-2017-110711. PubMed PMID:28404602 .
  3. Kim, YD, Jung, YH, Norrving, B, Ovbiagele, B, Saposnik, G. Does national expenditure on research and development influence stroke outcomes?. Int J Stroke. 2017; :1747493017702667. doi: 10.1177/1747493017702667. PubMed PMID:28355959 .
  4. Saposnik, G, Sempere, AP, Prefasi, D, Selchen, D, Ruff, CC, Maurino, J et al.. Decision-making in Multiple Sclerosis: The Role of Aversion to Ambiguity for Therapeutic Inertia among Neurologists (DIScUTIR MS). Front Neurol. 2017;8 :65. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2017.00065. PubMed PMID:28298899 PubMed Central PMC5331032.
  5. Joundi, RA, Martino, R, Saposnik, G, Giannakeas, V, Fang, J, Kapral, MK et al.. Predictors and Outcomes of Dysphagia Screening After Acute Ischemic Stroke. Stroke. 2017;48 (4):900-906. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.116.015332. PubMed PMID:28275200 .
  6. Saposnik, G, Maurino, J, Sempere, AP, Ruff, CC, Tobler, PN. Herding: a new phenomenon affecting medical decision-making in multiple sclerosis care? Lessons learned from DIScUTIR MS. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2017;11 :175-180. doi: 10.2147/PPA.S124192. PubMed PMID:28203061 PubMed Central PMC5293495.
  7. Smith, EE, Saposnik, G, Biessels, GJ, Doubal, FN, Fornage, M, Gorelick, PB et al.. Prevention of Stroke in Patients With Silent Cerebrovascular Disease: A Scientific Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2017;48 (2):e44-e71. doi: 10.1161/STR.0000000000000116. PubMed PMID:27980126 .
  8. Alotaibi, NM, Samuel, N, Wang, J, Ahuja, CS, Guha, D, Ibrahim, GM et al.. The Use of Social Media Communications in Brain Aneurysms and Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: A Mixed-Method Analysis. World Neurosurg. 2017;98 :456-462. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2016.11.085. PubMed PMID:27890750 .
  9. Hussain, MA, Mamdani, M, Tu, JV, Saposnik, G, Khoushhal, Z, Aljabri, B et al.. Impact of Clinical Trial Results on the Temporal Trends of Carotid Endarterectomy and Stenting From 2002 to 2014. Stroke. 2016;47 (12):2923-2930. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.116.014856. PubMed PMID:27834754 PubMed Central PMC5120767.
  10. Saposnik, G, Redelmeier, D, Ruff, CC, Tobler, PN. Cognitive biases associated with medical decisions: a systematic review. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2016;16 (1):138. doi: 10.1186/s12911-016-0377-1. PubMed PMID:27809908 PubMed Central PMC5093937.
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Affiliations & Other Activities

  • Director, Stroke Research Unit, Mobility Program, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Associate Professor, Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto
  • Cross-appointment, Health Policy, Management and Education (HPME), University of Toronto
  • Adjunct Scientist, Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES)