The StrokeCog study: modelling and modifying the consequences of stroke-related cognitive impairment through intervention

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in Ireland. Many people are aware of the physical disabilities caused by stroke, but are far less aware of the cognitive and mood problems that people experience following an attack. Cognitive problems include difficulties with memory, concentration and abstract thinking. Mood problems include depression and anxiety. These difficulties are often experienced as the most debilitating consequences of stroke. Rehabilitation of the psychological effects of stroke has received little attention compared with physical rehabilitation. Yet, there is evidence that, for some, cognitive function continues to decline and especially if the person has a second stroke this can develops into dementia. This is one of the main reasons why people who have suffered a stroke attack are moved to long-term care (LTC). Intervening to rehabilitate cognitive impairment may halt further decline and/or improve cognitive function, thus preventing progression to dementia and LTC. This research programme will address these issues in three ways. The first work programme (WP1) maps the profile of post-stroke cognitive impairment and makes projections over time (to 2031) of the numbers affected by it and numbers likely to progress to dementia and LTC. It examines how this profile could be changed by introducing cognitive rehabilitation. The second aspect (WP2) will develop and test the cognitive intervention based on international literature review and consultation with patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals. This intervention will be tested with a small sample of patients with recent stroke-related cognitive problems. The third program (WP3) will focus on the economic costs of the population projections of WP1. It will also evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the intervention developed in WP2.
The overall research programme will inform health policy and provide robust evidence on whether the intervention is worthy of further investigation in a large-scale research trial. A team of three post-doctoral researchers will deliver this programme, with expert mentoring and supervision from an interdisciplinary team of 16 highly experienced researchers in stroke.

Award Date
26 June 2015
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Anne Hickey
Host Institution
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement Awards