Problems in attention can affect around 45% of survivors following stroke in the right side of the brain and are associated with poor recovery of brain function. This project will provide the most detailed examination to date, of whether problems in attention after stroke can be decreased through direct brain stimulation.
There is some evidence that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can help treat problems that stroke survivors have with attention. A group given TMS to the non-affected side of the brain will be compared with a control group to assess whether this leads to an improvement in attentional functions. Any wider improvements in other cognitive abilities such as sustained attention, memory, anxiety and depression and in everyday living activities, will also be tested.
Alongside the behavioural measures, we will use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine the brain changes linked to the recovery of attentional functions.
If improvements in brain function are observed using a TMS intervention compared to the control group, then the TMS procedure could be adopted into clinical rehabilitation practice.