Miss Rosanna Laverick, University of Birmingham
Description of Research
Stroke survivors are at risk of developing dementia. A year after the stroke, it's thought that a third of stroke survivors will show signs of recovery and improvement of function, a third will maintain their stroke-related disability and a final third will deteriorate, becoming more impaired and less independent. The number of patients who deteriorate is higher than what would be expected due to aging.
No two strokes are alike - the damage from each stroke leaves its own unique signature on a person's brain and behaviour. The current project will investigate how different types of stroke affect a person's long term recovery or deterioration. This will be done in two ways.
Existing data will first be analysed, which was collected from stroke survivors who took part in the Birmingham University Cognitive Screen (BUCS) trial (2006 – 2010). The trial included behavioural measures of participants' language ability, concentration, memory, mood, number ability, and ability to function independently, in addition to scans of their brains (neuroimaging) obtained as part of the clinical routine. During the trial, stroke survivors were tested twice within three and nine months of having a stroke. Patients who participated in the BUCS trial will be invited back for reassessment to provide long term follow-up. As part of this, the current project will investigate whether damage to specific areas of the brain and/or impaired behaviour (such as the inability to speak) is more likely to lead to a stroke survivor's functional deterioration.
Second, the current project will collect and analyse data from new stroke survivors using state of the art imaging tools. An important research question is whether the disconnection of specific brain areas from each other is a risk factor for deterioration. The analysis will, therefore, focus on describing the impact of the stroke on the connections between different brain areas. The project should provide initial data for identifying stroke survivors that are at most risk of deteriorating. This could, in turn, inform the development of treatment(s) to intervene in this process to reduce their functional deterioration after stroke.