If we are to discover which underlying genes cause stroke, we need to collect DNA from large numbers of patients who have had a lacunar stroke. An existing collection of DNA (extracted from blood samples) from patients has been established with the aid of a Wellcome Trust grant, this is called the UK Young Lacunar Stroke DNA Database.
Cerebral small vessel disease (SVD) is usually associated with high blood pressure, and causes 20% of all strokes. It is the main cause of cognitive changes and dementia associated with stroke. Behavioural symptoms such as apathy are also common in patients with SVD.
Evaluation of a new test to detect cognitive impairment in patients with small vessel disease stroke
Can we identify genetic risk factors that cause disease of small blood vessels in the brain?
Apathy has a major effect of quality of life for a SVD sufferer; we have shown that for the patient it is more important in determining quality of life than is disability, such as weakness, from the stroke itself.
This fellowship will involve the study of the human eye to find out about the health of the brain’s small blood vessels and nerve connections in people who have recently had a stroke.