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Stroke

Stroke

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Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability. Our research spans the translational pipeline from basic experimental biology and trials of healthcare interventions through to implementing findings into practice.

We focus on understanding mechanisms of neuroimmune and vascular dysfunction, how they contribute to acute cerebrovascular diseases, and the impact of these conditions.

We carry forward this knowledge to improve the process and outcomes of care and, ultimately, the quality of life for stroke survivors and their carers.

Our research is unique in combining life sciences, interdisciplinary clinical research and implementation science.

We cover all clinical subtypes of stroke (ischaemic and haemorrhagic) and include all stages of clinical care (hyperacute through to community) for people with stroke. We also have strong links to the Manchester Centre for Clinical Neurosciences.

 
Image: brain scan cells

Areas of research activity

This interdisciplinary approach is underpinned by active patient, carer and public involvement and engagement.

Our research activity can be grouped into four categories:

 

Basic biology and pre-clinical science

Minimising brain damage after stroke

Promoting repair and recovery of function

  • Communication difficulties after stroke(aphasia)
    Principal investigators: Anna Woollams
  • Sensory and motor difficulties including vision and arm function
    Principal investigators: Ulrike Hammerbeck, David Howard (University of Salford)

Managing persisting disabilities and organising care

Image: TBC

Featured projects

See a selection of current research projects, which aim to make a positive impact on health and disease both nationally and globally.

SC IL-1Ra in SAH – phase III

Professor Andrew King and the wider SCIL team are delighted their phase III trial is once again actively recruiting at NHS trusts across the UK. The trial is investigating whether interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) improves outcome following aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage. Recruitment was paused at NHS trusts due to capacity issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, but has now resumed with great success at a number of our partner NHS trusts and neurosurgical centres.

Read more

NIHR Funding successes

i) Lauren Lucas is a physio working in the community neuro team at Northern Care Alliance NHS Group at Salford Royal and has been awarded a Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship from the NIHR to allow her to embed herself within the stroke research team at the University of Manchester.

ii) Prof. Craig Smith and his team have been awarded £242,328 for 24 months to study different approaches to oral hygiene to investigate whether this can prevent pneumonia complicating stroke.

Stroke connected health cities

Part of a £20 million Health North initiative, led by Dr Adrian Parry-Jones, stroke researchers are looking at using technology and data to improve the diagnosis and treatment of strokes across Greater Manchester.

Read more

BHF collaboration funding success

Stuart Allan and Emmanuel Pinteaux are co-applicants on a BHF funded grant joint with University of Sheffield. Lead applicant is Sheila Francis who they have worked with for many years and other applicants are Jason Berwick and Claire Howarth. The title of the grant is “Atherosclerosis, the brain and vascular dementia – the role of inflammation in neurovascular function” and the total award £265,307 over three years.

MRC funding success

Paul Kasher has been awarded a 3 year MRC New Investigator Research Grant to study how anti-viral signalling may regulate cholesterol synthesis in models of stroke

$6M programme to tackle cognitive decline after stroke

Professor’s Stuart Allan and Craig Smith are to begin a $6M programme aimed at preventing cognitive decline after stroke. Problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment affect up to a third of people who’ve had a stroke within five years and this can have a major impact on their quality of life. Professor’s Allan and Smith will tackle this problem with other experts worldwide in a new network called Stroke-IMPaCT (Stroke – Immune Mediated Pathways and Cognitive Trajectories), funded by The Leducq Foundation through a Transatlantic Networks of Excellence Award. Among those who will be involved in the Stroke-IMPaCT are experts in stroke, immunology, cognition, and in clinical studies of post-stroke outcomes. The five-year programme will begin in January 2020 and will also involve universities in Edinburgh, Berlin (Charite), Madrid, New York (Cornell and Columbia), Arizona, and Seattle (Washington).

Read more

OSCARSS

Organising Support for Carers of Stroke Survivors is a large cluster randomised controlled trial, process evaluation and economic study funded by the NIHR CLAHRC in partnership with Stroke Association led by Professor Audrey Bowen and Dr Emma Patchwood.

Read more

Refining the STOP toolkit for oral self-care practices

Professor Craig Smith leads this NIHR-funded study to better understand the oral care needs and experiences of stroke survivors, and use this information to develop the STroke friendly Oral health Promoting (STOP) toolkit to improve oral health in stroke survivors after discharge from hospital. Patient and public involvement is an essential part of the process, with stroke survivors being part of the research team and informing the development of the toolkit at each step.

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Case studies

Our stroke research led to three successful REF2014 impact case studies around services for people with communication, cognition and swallowing difficulties, and the introduction of six month reviews for patients.

Improving stroke services

The ACT NoW study evaluated the effectiveness of speech and language therapy in stroke rehabilitation and is now being used in international guidelines for stroke recovery.

Read more

Helping stroke patients swallow

Our pioneering research led to the introduction of the world's first effective throat stimulation treatment for stroke patients with swallowing problems.

Read more

Improving health with assessment tool

A team at Manchester developed GM-SAT, a simple evidence based assessment tool which can be used to identify and address individuals’ long term, unmet post-stroke needs.

Read more

Featured researchers

Dr Ulrike Hammerbeck

Dr Ulrike Hammerbeck

Ulrike Hammerbeck is a physiotherapist and Stroke Association post-doctoral fellow investigating proximal arm recovery processes in the acute period after stroke.

Read profile

Dr Kieron South

Kieron South

Kieron South is a basic and translational biochemist with particular expertise in thrombo-inflammation and, more recently, experimental models of stroke and infection. He is the recent recipient of a Medical Research Foundation mid-career Fellowship investigating the contribution of respiratory infection to stroke in young adult.

Read profile

Dr Emma Patchwood

Emma Patchwood

Emma Patchwood is a research psychologist and Stroke Association Postdoctoral Fellow. Her work includes the OSCARSS carer study (featured above) and the Wellness After Stroke (WAterS) study. She has been named 2020 Rising Star of the World Federation for Neurorehabilitation (WFNR) Organisation for Psychological Research into Stroke (OPSYRIS).

Read profile

Dr Paul Kasher

Paul Kasher

Paul Kasher is a translational neuroscience research fellow with expertise in the generation and characterisation of experimental models of neurological disease and recent recipient of a Stroke Association lectureship.

Read profile

Claire Mitchell

Claire Mitchell

Mrs Claire Mitchell is a research speech and language therapist. Her research involves looking at digital solutions for improving quality of intervention for people with speech impairments after stroke.

Read profile

Adrian Parry-Jones

Adrian Parry-Jones

Dr Adrian Parry-Jones has been awarded the Stroke Association Margaret Giffen Reader Award, which will support him for 5 years from March 2020 to continue his research to improve outcomes for intracerebral haemorrhage.

Read more

Image: TBC

Patient and public involvement and engagement

Our research benefits from strong patient, carer and public involvement, and we regularly conduct public engagement activities around stroke science and art. Examples include:

ReaDySpeech

A feasibility randomised controlled trial for people with dysarthria, a disordered speech production which is a common symptom after stroke.

Read a blog by project lead Claire Mitchell about living with dysarthria.

OSCARSS research user group

An active user group of carers support the development of all aspects of the design and roll out of the OSCARSS study.

Watch a video about this project featuring members of the user group.

Stroke: Stories of the Self Through Art and Science

The Stroke Association and The University of Manchester ran a set of visual arts workshops and exhibitions at Manchester Central Library and Manchester Museum to tell Stroke survivors’ stories.

Read a blog by artist Elisa Artesero who facilitated the workshops.

Social responsibility in the medical teaching curriculum

Stroke, Self and Brain, a social responsibility project funded by the University in partnership with the Stroke Association, brought together stroke survivors with medical students for workshops to share knowledge and experience of the brain before and after stroke through the creation of original artworks.

Watch a video about the workshops.

Using art to aid recovery after stroke

Mary Burke is a stroke survivor based in Manchester who has developed new art skills since her stroke. Through the use of this new ability, Mary has created a series of paintings and drawings to document her journey to recovery in her journal.

See more of Mary's work

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PhD opportunities

We are strongly committed to the training and education of our future scientists.

Many of our principal investigators are members of flagship PhD programmes within the Faculty:

Alternatively, search our project database using the academic names listed under major research activities to find all the PhD opportunities currently available.

Contact

Professor Craig Smith
email:Craig.Smith-2@manchester.ac.uk


Tel+44(0)161 206 0623