We participate in European research in our own right and through our membership of the Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE), a not-for-profit organisation that represents stroke survivor groups across the continent.

Our current projects

We have experience of several European stroke research projects, and new proposals are always in development. Our major strength is dissemination, and our involvement in clinical trials helps patient organisations stay up-to-date with the latest research developments, and also ensures that this potential life-saving knowledge reaches patients and healthcare professionals all across Europe.

There are still significant challenges to delivering the consistent, high standard of rehabilitative therapy that stroke survivors need to achieve their best possible long-term outcomes.

The Mobile Assistance for Groups and Individuals in the Community (MAGIC) project is funded by a €3.6m (£2.7m) award from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. It is managed by a Northern Ireland led international consortium of research, governmental and independent organisations.

MAGIC aims to discover innovative approaches to post-stroke care based on Information Communications Technology (ICT) solutions. These include virtual reality, wearable sensor technology, and telemedicine approaches. All aim to enable stroke survivors to have a higher quality of life and reduced need for long-term care.

To help achieve its goal, MAGIC involves a number of industry suppliers competing through several phases of solution development and testing. MAGIC entered its second phase of testing in November 2017 with four industry suppliers. Results from the project are expected in September 2019.

The Stroke Association is part of the Expert Advisory Panel of the MAGIC Project.

Contact our Director of Northern Ireland barry.macaulay@stroke.org.uk for more information.

An ischaemic stroke is the most common type of stroke. The arteries which supply the brain with blood become clogged by clots. This kills the brain cells at the centre of the stroke and puts those brain cells nearby at great risk of damage.

High-dose oxygen therapy is very simple and low-cost. After they are diagnosed with an ischaemic stroke, the patient wears a mask through which they inhale almost pure oxygen. This keeps the oxygen content in the blood as high as it can be.

The PROOF trial aims to ensure that the surrounding brain tissue at risk, which will have less oxygen but is not yet dead, is stabilised by high oxygen content coming in. This continues until the clot is removed by emergency treatment and the blood circulation is improved again.

The Stroke Association is a member of the Stroke Alliance For Europe (SAFE), which will work on communication of information about the PROOF trial to non-clinical audiences.

To find out more about the PROOF trial, visit the SAFE website.

Small vessel disease (or 'SVD' for short) is a key cause of both stroke and dementia.

There are many types of SVD. Each causes damages to the small blood vessels in the brain, gradually starving it of the oxygen and food it needs. This leads to harmful changes in the brain’s structure. These changes cause about a third of all strokes, and at least two out every five cases of dementia. However, despite this huge impact, there are still no treatments that are proven to help.

The aim of the SVDs @target programme is to learn more about the biological mechanisms behind SVD, so that one day we may stop SVDs from ever developing.

SVDs @target is funded by a 6 million euro grant from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE) is a key partner, representing stroke patient groups from across Europe, including the Stroke Association.

A major collaborative research program has now launched to develop new ways to support self-management by stroke survivors in their homes.

Called STARR, (decision support and self-management system for stroke survivors) the new program will target the known risk factors for recurrent stroke, as it is estimated that 90% of recurrent strokes are preventable if the risk factors are managed appropriately.

STARR will develop a modular, affordable, and easy-to-use system, which will inform stroke survivors of the relationship between their daily activities (for example, their medication intake, physical and cognitive exercises, diet, and social contacts) and their risk of having a further stroke.

STARR is run in partnership with a European consortium of researchers and will receive 4.5 million euros from the EU Horizon 2020 research program. The consortium includes stroke survivors and their representatives, commercial healthcare companies, hospitals, as well as sensing technology, privacy and human-machine interaction research groups from seven countries.

Contact research@stroke.org.uk for further information.

The PRECIOUS trial is a Horizon 2020 funded research project that started in June 2015.

In the first few days after stroke, about half of the patients have complications, including:

  • Infections.
  • Fever.
  • Swallowing problems.

These complications are strongly associated with a higher risk of death or future disability.

PRECIOUS is a large clinical trial, with 3,800 patients aged 66 years or older with acute stroke, which assesses the impact of pharmacological prevention of these frequent complications.

PRECIOUS uses cheap, off-the-shelf medications that are simple, safe and readily available.

It has the potential to lead to an annual reduction of over 25,000 elderly Europeans prematurely dying or being left dependent as a result of a stroke.

Contact research@stroke.org.uk for more information.

Our finished projects

The EuroHYP-1 trial was an international clinical trial that tested whether a promising new intervention called ‘therapeutic hypothermia' can improve the outcome for patients with ischemic stroke (a stroke caused by a blood clot).

Therapeutic hypothermia means lowering the body by a few degrees and it is used to protect the body tissues from damage when they are not receiving enough oxygen.

Within six hours of symptom onset, patients enrolled in the trial had their core body temperature reduced to 34-35°C for 24 hours.

The results of the study were published in the European Stroke Journal in April 2019. You can also read the final report summary of the project.

Around 20% of stroke patients wake up in the morning with stroke symptoms. As their stroke happened while they were asleep, it's not possible to know when their stroke started.

This means they are not eligible for 'clot-busting' treatment (thrombolysis), as this must be given within 4.5 hours of the stroke happening.

The WAKE-UP trial used advanced brain imaging (MRI) to decide if the stroke started within the 4.5-hour window, and whether the patient is likely to benefit from thrombolysis.

The results of WAKE-UP were presented at the European Stroke Organisation Conference in May 2018 and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Many stroke survivors are unable to perform ordered sequences of movements that are necessary to complete everyday tasks such as making a cup of tea or brushing their teeth. The difficulty isn't with physically making the movements, but damage to the brain can cause cognitive impairment which means that knowledge of the actions and objects used in the task is lost.

CogWatch finished in February 2015. It developed intelligent everyday objects such as those used in tea-making and tooth-brushing. The objects 'know' how they are being used and they 'talk' to a tablet screen to give prompts to the user if they make errors.

Join us

The European Union will fund stroke under its Horizon 2020 research programme. We seek partnerships in EU proposals on any topic on the stroke pathway.

As a consortium member we provide:

  • Authentic patient voice, this is vital for proposal success.
  • First-class multi-channel dissemination around project plans, visibility and results.
  • Requirements gathering and evaluation work.
  • Guidance on consortium building and proposal writing.

Please contact research@stroke.org.uk(link sends email) for further information and collaboration details.