Professor Stuart Allan, Professor Craig Smith

$6M programme to tackle cognitive decline after stroke

Stroke specialists 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.

It’s a top priority for stroke research and now experts worldwide will work together in a new network called Stroke-IMPaCT (Stroke – Immune Mediated Pathways and Cognitive Trajectories).


Professor Stuart Allan from The University of Manchester is the European co-ordinator for the network, with Professor Craig Smith leading the clinical studies in Manchester and at Salford Royal, where he is a stroke consultant. In North America, Professor Marion Buckwalter from Stanford University will lead the programme.

Professor Allan explained: “Although there are no treatments for post-stroke cognitive decline, recent studies by our team lend hope that the mechanisms behind it are potentially treatable. We hope the Stroke-IMPaCT Network will help us to identify targets for new treatments, as well as to put in place knowledge, resources and a training environment to support long-term research in this vital area. Our transatlantic network will study how changes in immune function after stroke cause cognitive decline, and how suffering a complicating infection while in hospital for stroke affects later dementia risk.”


Professor Smith added: “Stroke is a major cause of disability worldwide and there are currently 1.2 million stoke survivors in the UK. One of its most distressing complications is post-stroke cognitive decline, which has a significant impact on quality of life and ability to work and take part in normal daily activities. Stroke also doubles the risk of later cognitive decline and dementia so it is hugely important that we bring together scientists and clinicians to work together on possible new ways of preventing this.”

Among those who will be involved in Stroke-IMPaCT are experts in stroke, immunology, cognition, and in clinical studies of post-stroke outcomes.  The Leducq Foundation is providing the funding for the work through its Transatlantic Networks of Excellence Award.

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).

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