Description of research
A large proportion of stroke survivors complain about feeling tired. They find it takes far more effort than normal to do anything, even if they are physically well-recovered. This is not the tiredness, or fatigue, that we all experience after intense exercise since these individuals feel the same way even when they have been resting all day. This affects their ability to return to work and reduces their quality of life. In this project, I will investigate the origin of fatigue in people who have experienced a stroke.
We know that fatigue is experienced due to a combination of changes in the muscle and in the brain regions that control the muscles. As the stroke patients complain of fatigue even without exercising the muscles, fatigue may be because of changes only within the brain. Therefore, I will be testing the idea that fatigue occurring after stroke is due to changes in the brain regions controlling the muscles.
This hypothesis will be tested using non-invasive brain stimulation and brain imaging techniques in 142 stroke patients, half of who will be those who complain of fatigue. Understanding the mechanisms of this symptom will help develop strategies for managing fatigue.