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Antoinette W. Bernal-Tent

Research Coordinator I Center for the Treatment of Pediatric Neurodegenerative Disease, Department of Pediatrics | Division of Child & Adolescent Neurology at UTHealth Houston McGovern Medical School

Research Coordinator for the FOCAS Study under the Director of the Pediatric Stroke Program at the Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases at UTHealth Houston.

The FOCAS study is a critical research project being shared by multiple children’s hospitals in the United States aimed at improving treatment for children who may have a condition called Focal Cerebral Arteriopathy of childhood (FCA). FCA is a disease that can lead to stroke in children when one side of the brain does not receive sufficient blood supply.

While FCA is not common, it poses a serious risk due to its potential to quickly worsen, causing recurrent or expanding strokes. This study, FOCAS, is designed to determine the most effective treatment strategy.

The study will involve two groups:

Group A: Children in this group will receive a medication known as corticosteroids immediately upon suspicion of FCA.

Group B: Children in this group will receive corticosteroids only if their FCA shows signs of progression.

To gauge the effectiveness of the treatment, we will use a measure called the FCA Severity Score (FCASS). We will compare the score from the beginning of the study to 1 month later. In addition, we will measure the size of any strokes and assess overall child health outcomes at 6 months.

The FOCAS study is poised to significantly enhance our understanding and treatment of children with FCA. The study is expected to begin in September 2023.

The study is recruiting patients currently. If you are interested in having your child participate in this study or just want more information, feel free to reach out to Neena Patel at the email below.

PI: Stuart Fraser, MD

Coordinator: Antoinette W. Bernal-Tent

Contact: antoinette.bernaltent@uth.tmc.edun