Fellow: Ms Katie McGoohan
Intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) is a bleeding in the brain which can be caused by a direct blow (trauma) to the head, or can occur spontaneously, and leads to what is known as a spontaneous haemorrhagic stroke.
Such a stroke due to spontaneous ICH affects 2 million adults worldwide each year. Given that almost two-thirds of adults with ICH are 75 years or older, ICH is likely to become more frequent as people start to live longer.
The research will be conducted within a larger study called LINCHPIN (Lothian INtraCerebral Haemorrhage Pathology, Imaging and Neurological outcome). It will specifically focus on the impact of 'cognitive impairment' (a reduced ability to think or process information) caused directly by ICH, which can be difficult to distinguish from other causes. Seventy survivors of ICH within one year of having it will participate, and be measured not only on cognitive impairment, but 'functional outcomes' as well, which measure disability and quality of life using established tests.
In addition, demographic (population), clinical (medical notes), brain scan information and other factors in small vessel disease (a cause of cognitive impairment) will also be used to look for associations with cognitive impairment. This part of the study will use data from an additional database of 280 ICH patients.
This pilot research should provide much needed data for the small number of researchers in this field, and build the evidence base to conduct larger randomised controlled trials to verify the findings. These in turn could lead to better information for patients and their families, help plan services for care following discharge from hospital, and help develop strategies to improve quality of life for patients.