Exercise and brain volume loss after stroke

Years funded:
2016 - 2020

The major risk factors for post-stroke brain atrophy and cognitive decline are recurrent stroke, hypertension, and low rates of physical activity. Brain volume loss precedes and predicts cognitive decline.

It has been demonstrated that increased rates of total and regional brain atrophy following ischaemic stroke. Patients lose brain volume at a greater rate than control participants, and this volume loss is correlated with cognitive deficits.

In this project, Dr Amy Brodtmann will examine modifiable risk factors that may predict post-stroke brain atrophy. The latest brain imaging techniques to accurately measure brain volume in 100 stroke patients will be used for over one year. Dr Brodtmann will examine whether patients who receive aerobic exercise intervention have preserved regional and global brain volume after one year compared to patients in the stretching exercise group.

Dr Brodtmann will examine whether brain volume is correlated with blood pressure and incident brain infarction and whether incident subclinical end-organ disease will be reduced by aerobic exercise at one year then will identify which cardiovascular risk factors are associated with post-stroke brain atrophy, and whether cardiovascular exercise ameliorates this loss. Results from this study are potentially practice-changing, informing and guiding post-stroke investigations and therapies.

Researcher Profile

Dr Amy Brodtmann

Institute: Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
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