New Therapies for Stroke _ Preventing Stroke Progression and Enhancing Recovery

Years funded:
2016 - 2019

Stroke caused by blockage of a brain artery is a leading cause of death and disability.

Associate Professor Neil Spratt's laboratory discovered a rise in pressure within the skull (intracranial pressure - ICP) 24 hours after minor experimental stroke. This may worsen stroke outcome. They showed that this occurs by a new mechanism, triggered by a molecule in the fluid around the brain in patients after stroke. Associate Professor Spratt aims to identify the molecule, how it works, and whether it causes elevated ICP in other disorders. Associate Professor Spratt's group will study its effect on brain blood flow and worsening of brain injury from stroke, using experimental and patient imaging studies.

In stroke rehabilitation, Associate Professor Spratt's group undertook a study combining all published animal studies of environmental enrichment to improve recovery and found it had a significant benefit. They conducted the first in human study applying environmental enrichment on a rehabilitation ward. The wards were equipped to stimulate patients outside therapy times and this significantly increased activity of the patients. Activity is known to be a key driver of beneficial brain changes and better recovery post-stroke. Associate Professor Spratt is conducting a multicentre clinical trial with 208 patients in 4 different hospitals to see if this approach improves patient outcome.

In separate studies we have also pioneered a new approach to increasing physical fitness after stroke.  

Researcher Profile

Associate Professor Neil Spratt

Institute: The University of Newcastle
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