After a stroke, people often want to know how their recovery could progress and what life might look like in the future. Right now, there aren't many tools available to help health professionals to predict recovery, so we're funding research to change this.

Here are some of the ways are our researchers are looking to improve our understanding of recovery:

Using brain scans

Many stroke survivors have mobility problems in their hands and arms. Recovery can be more predictable for stroke survivors with mild difficulties, but it's harder to predict if they're severely affected.

Professor Nick Ward is exploring whether information from stroke survivors' brain scans can help to predict how stroke survivors with severe difficulties might recover their movement.

Nick says: 'Our goal is to understand the mechanisms of recovery so that we can predict what treatments will work best for stroke survivors.'

Creating new vision tests

Vision problems after stroke can make everyday tasks challenging. Currently, there isn't a way to test stroke survivors' vision to find out what impact it'll have on their daily life.

Dr Kathleen Vancleef wants to solve this. She's working with stroke survivors to trial a new vision test that could predict the effect of stroke-related vision problems on stroke survivors' daily life after six months.

Kathleen says: 'I hope my research will help stroke survivors to understand more about their condition, so they know what rehabilitation or adjustments they need to make life easier.'

Developing computer models and databases

Stroke survivors often experience changes to their mood and thinking. They might worry more, lack confidence, or have difficulty concentrating. These problems can improve or get worse over many years.

Until now, research has only followed people for a short time after their stroke. This means we don't have enough information about how these problems may change over time to be able to predict how they can expect to recover and respond to treatment.

We're funding Dr Nele Demeyere and her team to follow 200 stroke survivors for three years to find out how stroke affects mood and thinking in the long-term.

Nele says: 'Understanding the impact these effects have on people's lives and recoveries will help stroke survivors and their families plan for the future, and enable scientists to develop effective treatments and coping strategies.

Find out more

Learn more about the research we fund around the UK.

Stroke News magazine

This article is featured in the summer 2020 edition of our magazine, Stroke News. Subscribe to our future editions available in print, on audio CD, or via email.