Postgraduate fellow: Ms Margaret Moore
Description of research
People commonly experience drastic changes in the way they see the world following a stroke. Visual neglect causes stroke survivors to become unable to perceive objects, events, and people located in one side of space. Patients with this condition fail to notice loved ones approaching, struggle to read their favourite books, and are often unable to find important items.
Visual neglect is very common, affecting about half of acute stroke survivors. Past research has suggested that there is more than one kind of visual neglect, with some affecting the sides of objects, independent of where the object is located in space. Little is known about how these different types of visual neglect cause different problems in the way stroke survivors interact with the world.
Visual neglect can be detected using simple tests, but it is not yet clear how the severity scores assigned by these tests are related to the actual real-world impairments stroke survivors encounter while they are recovering.
Additionally, it is not yet known whether patients who experience different kinds of visual neglect are more or less likely to fully recover from their stroke and neglect problem. The purpose of my proposed research is to address these issues by tracking recovery progress in stroke survivors. This research aims to track how stroke survivors with visual neglect recover over time, to investigate how clinical tests for neglect relate to activities of daily life, and to determine whether the presence and type of visual neglect following stroke can help predict how well individual patients will recover.
The findings of this research will help provide stroke survivors and their relatives with more accurate information about what impacts they can expect over time, and will help doctors and therapists identify which patients with visual neglect will benefit the most from new treatments.