Stroke specialists gather for OPSYRIS conference

Published: Monday 10 October 2016

Academics and researchers interested in stroke rehabilitation recently gathered for a specialist conference hosted by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

The Organisation for Psychological Research Into Stroke (OPSYRIS) event showcased a broad range of research highlighting aspects of psychological and neuropsychological stroke care and research.

UCLan’s Professor Caroline Watkins, who was elected as chairman of OPSYRIS two years ago, said: “It was our pleasure to host this great day, with fantastic speakers who are all delivering cutting-edge research on a much-neglected area - psychological and neuropsychological problems after stroke.

“It was great to see the research that was being supported by UK funders, including the Stroke Association, and heartening to reflect on the newly published national clinical guidelines for stroke which have mostly had to rely on consensus agreement for best care, as the research evidence is not yet available to inform the best care.

"There is a true commitment to work together to progress this much-neglected area of research to inform care.”

Around 50 people attended, from across the United Kingdom, while 10 academics gave oral and poster presentations.

Audrey Bowen, University of Manchester’s Stroke Association John Marshall Memorial Professor of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, was one of the guest speakers. She said: “It’s unique and extremely valuable to get people with research and clinical experience from the strands of psychology, medicine and the therapies together in a very relaxed atmosphere to discuss our work in this area of stroke care.”

Dr Sarah Northcott, City University of London's Stroke Association Jack and Averil (Mansfield) Bradley Fellow said: "I was delighted to be invited to talk at the OPSYRIS conference, where I discussed my fellowship work into a psychological ‘talking therapy’ for people with aphasia called Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SoFIA Trial). This therapy approach explores a person’s strengths and resources in order to make small, meaningful changes in their everyday life."

The aim of the OPSYRIS group is to facilitate research in psychological aspects of stroke rehabilitation, to conduct research which informs stroke clinical practice and to promote the consideration of psychological factors in stroke services.

From left to right: Professor Caroline Watkins (Chairman, OPSYRIS), Dr Sarah Northcott (Stroke Association Jack and Averil [Mansfield] Bradley Fellow), Miss Louise Hawkins (Stroke Association Postgraduate Fellow), Dr Phil Clatworthy (Stroke Association Thompson Family Senior Clinical Lecturer), Dr Terry Quinn (Joint Stroke Association & Chief Scientist Office Senior Clinical Lecturer), Dr Eirini Kontou (Stroke Association Postdoctoral Fellow), Professor Audrey Bowen (Stroke Association John Marshall Memorial Professor of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation)

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