Returning to work with aphasia.
48-year-old Roger, recalls the day he had a stroke.
'I went into my bathroom and the next thing I knew, I was on the floor unable to move.
"My family called 999 and I was rushed to hospital, where I was treated with thrombolysis. I was lucky because there was little physical damage. However, it was clear that my ability to communicate was damaged - I had aphasia.
'It took my family and friends a little while to realise that, even though I was home from hospital, I was still struggling.
'Before my stroke, I was always relied on for being good at communicating. It was vital for my work. Thankfully, the Stroke Association was there from the start. The Helpline advisors helped me to understand what had happened, and reassured me that my speech could recover with therapy.
'After just seven months of speech and language therapy, I was able to apply for jobs again. Two interviews later, I was selected by a local authority to be a senior policy officer. I was so pleased to return to the world of work, even with some limitations due to my aphasia. Without intensive speech and language therapy, I would be a very different person today.'
Focus on everyday talking.
Around a third of stroke survivors experience aphasia (communication difficulty). Not being able to hold everyday conversations with family, friends and colleagues can severely affect mood and quality of life.
Thanks to supporters like you, we're funding researchers involved in a project called LUNA. They're investigating a new language treatment that could help people with aphasia improve everyday conversation. Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) and stroke survivors with aphasia, are all involved in its development.
SLTs across the UK are taking part in an online survey. Its aim is to find gaps in people's knowledge or skills, which are needed to help improve everyday conversation. Using this information, our researchers will then develop a new training programme for SLTs to trial with stroke survivors online.
Dr Lucy Dipper, a researcher on the project said, 'This is a positive opportunity to test our new treatment with more stroke survivors. We hope that we'll be able to show benefits for doing this programme online. In the future, we still want to show the treatment can work face-to-face too, giving stroke survivors even more choice in how SLTs can support them to rebuild their ability to communicate.'
The key to stroke prevention.
Dr Llwyd, who's based at Oxford University, is currently researching how blood flow to the brain is controlled. With support from gifts in Wills, he's working towards finding a non-intrusive way to understand and detect early signs of stroke risk. Ultimately, his work could help to prevent stroke from happening.
The key may lie in monitoring patients' blood flow as they perform different breathing manoeuvres. This could be done as part of a routine investigation following Transient Ischaemic Attacks, often called 'mini strokes'.
Dr Llwyd explains, 'I'm looking into a new technique to detect abnormalities in how blood flow is controlled by the brain. This contributes to 30% of strokes, so observing people's blood flow while they perform different breathing manoeuvres could identify those at risk and lead to major breakthrough in preventing future strokes.'
The project could lead to simple, reliable way to identify those at highest risk of stroke. Thanks to your continued support, research like Dr Llwyd's could pave the way to preventing stroke occurring at all.