Vladimir Hachinski, CM, MD DSc FRCPC FCAHS FAHA FAAN FRSC, Doctor honoris causa4


Scientist, Robarts Research Institute
Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Western Ontario; Distinguished University Professor
Administrative Assistant: Teresa Ford




Bio Sketch

Dr. Vladimir Hachinski received his MD from the University of Toronto. After completing his residency training at the same university, he undertook a Cerebrovascular Laboratory Fellowship at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases at Queen Square in London, England and a research fellowship at Bispebjerg Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark.

He founded, with John W. Norris the world’s first successful acute stroke unit that has become the standard of care and with David Cechetto discovered the key role of the insula of the brain in mediating sudden death. He introduced the concepts of multi-infarct dementia, leukoaraiosis and vascular cognitive impairment and devised the Hachinski ischemic score, (over 4000 citations) that remains the standard for identifying the vascular (treatable) component of cognitive impairment.

Dr. Hachinski was Editor-in-Chief of the journal Stroke, the leading publication in the field. He introduced 9 international editions and a unique author mentorship program. He has contributed over 1000 scientific papers, book chapters, editorials and other scholarly publications, with over 73,300 citations and rising: 2019: 5,376, 2020: 7,609, 2021: projected to be 9,369 (about one citation per hour), his h-index is 118. He is the author, co-author or editor or co-editor of 17 books including Stroke: A Comprehensive Guide to Brain Attack, co-authored with his daughter Larissa Hachinski, that was written to increase public awareness of brain attack, a term he coined to drive home the urgency of strokes.

He edited "Treatable and Potentially Preventable Dementias", the first comprehensive and authoritative book covering the basis for the joint prevention of stroke and the management, delay, or prevention of some dementias. The book has been “Highly commended” by the British Medical Association.


The Dementia Prevention Initiative: Advancing Population Prevention Solutions (APPS)

Dementia is untreatable, but we found that some dementias are being prevented: We aim to find out how and why and help apply the lessons Canada-wide. 

We showed that in step with a successful implementation of an Ontario Stroke Strategy aimed at treating, rehabilitating and preventing stroke, that the incidence of stroke declined by 32% and dementia by 7%. Meaning, that in the last year of the study 10,000 Ontarians were spared a stroke and 4,000 were saved from the tragedy of dementia. 

Stroke, heart disease and dementia share the same risk and protective factors and probably other undiscovered ones. We plan to map comprehensively, population, environmental, socioeconomic and individual risk and protective in combination with population-based brain imaging and cognitive assessment across Canada identifying areas of high and low incidence of stroke, heart disease, cognitive impairment and dementia.  We will determine the differences and develop customized, cost-effective solutions. The Western Ontario Health Team and the City of London are making an upfront commitment to consider our evidence based, cost-effective, actionable recommendations.  

The initiative involves investigators from 5 faculties at Western University, 5 provinces and 4 countries.  It aims to build bridges among disciplines and foster a new generation of investigators familiar with multidisciplinary approaches and new methodologies.

The upgoing thumb sign

The sudden onset of speech trouble, weakness or numbness of one side of the body or vertigo and unsteadiness all medical emergencies as possible preludes to a stroke. The symptoms might go away but the danger doesn’t.

It is a challenge to determine whether the brain is affected, since up to 1/3 of patients have these symptoms from more benign causes.

Often the examination is normal. However, I noticed that at times, the only sign is an upgoing thumb on the side opposite of the brain involvement, this means a threatened stroke and needs urgent investigation. With Andrew Pruszynski we are exploring the anatomic and pathophysiological bases of the sign with a view of its quantification and widespread use in the clinic.

The Ambibaric Brain

We propose a new evolutionary interpretation of the brain’s circulation that has physiological, pathophysiological, and clinical implications. We conclude that the brain circulation contains complementary low-pressure and high-pressure systems that must be kept in balance for optimal brain health.

Keith St. Lawrence has developed an MRI/PET technique of measuring cerebral blood flow and metabolism simultaneously that can yield physiological and clinical relevant results based on the concept of the ambibaric brain.

Population Studies

Developing models of dementia prevention at the population level.


He has developed the concept of the ambibaric brain, ie: of two brain circulations in one: The primitive high pressure one and the homo sapiens low pressure one.

He is seeking collaborators in dynamic brain imaging to advance the concept.

Research Opportunities

He is only accepting collaborators, post-doctoral students and research fellows.

Medical Interests

Joint prevention of stroke, heart disease and dementia. Cerebral circulation. Brain health

Honours and Awards

  • 2022, The Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick's, Alzheimer's, and Related Dise
  • 2021, The World Federation of Neurology Medal for Services to World Neurology
  • 2020, The American Academy of Neurology Wartenberg Lecture & Award
  • 2020, The 41st T.S. Srinivasan Oration and gold medal and scroll
  • 2020, FNG Starr Medal of the Canadian Medical Association, "Highest award available to one of its memebers"
  • 2018, Killam Prize, Canadian Council for the Arts
  • 2017, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame
  • 2016, McLaughlin Medal, Royal Society of Canada
  • 2015, Lawson Career Scientist Award, Lawson Research Institute
  • 2013, Officer of the Order of Ontario
  • 2013, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • 2013, Chancellor's Award Lecture in Neuroscience and Neurology
  • 2011, International BIAL Merit Award in Medical Sciences, BILAL
  • 2010, Biomedical Science Ambassador Award, Canadian national charity Partners In Research
  • 2008, Honorary Member, Mexican Academy of Neurology
  • 2008, Mihara International Award
  • 2008, World Stroke Organization Leadership in Stroke Medicine Award
  • 2008, Premier's Discovery Award in the Life Sciences and Medicine
  • 2008, Officer of the Order of Canada
  • 2008, Mihara International Award
  • 2006, Distinguished Professor, Western University


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