A recent story that ran in the June 5th edition of the Ottawa Citizen titled, “A Dose of Exercise: Using Research to Improve Health Outcomes,” profiles Dr. Patricia Longmuir’s research on exercise as a potential treatment for children with heart issues.

From the story:

Dr. Pat Longmuir and her team spend a lot of time sitting on colourful mats playing with blocks. And they couldn’t be happier.

Their research is changing the way that CHEO cares for children with heart issues – looking at exercise as a potential treatment.

“We know that toddlers and preschoolers who have had cardiac surgery are at a much higher risk for learning disabilities and other challenges later on,” Dr. Longmuir explains. “We are researching how
their fine motor skills are developing to see which kids are at risk and how we can intervene to help them.”

Dubbed “The Toddler Study,” the study will involve 150 patients and their families. “We start by scheduling a play date in our ‘lab’ which is really a big room with balls, wagons and stickers on the walls.” Patients then go home wearing a belt to measure their physical activity. The study also looks at eating habits.

Patients will be followed for two years. The goal is to determine if specific cardiac issues lead to greater challenges, and how exercise can help patients gain motor skills at a faster rate.