Louise Dulhanty, Amit Kishore, Hiren Patel, Michelle Angus, Rajiv Mohanraj

Fellowships to improve neurology diagnosis and care

Stroke survivors are to benefit from three new research projects to improve diagnosis and care.

The experts leading the work are among five to be awarded neuroscience fellowships, along with colleagues studying cauda equina syndrome and non epileptic attack disorders.

The funding will support the research leaders of the future, giving them time to build collaborations with other experts in their fields and develop research capacity in their services. It is being provided by the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC) Neuroscience Research Domain, The Research and Innovation Department at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust (NCA) and the Division of Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology at The University of Manchester.

The fellowships have been awarded to:

Louise Dulhanty, Clinical Nurse Specialist in subarachnoid haemorrhage at Salford Royal

Fatigue, cognitive disturbance, anxiety and low mood often affect survivors of subarachnoid haemorrhage, a very serious type of stroke caused by bleeding on the surface of the brain. Ms Dulhanty’s research will offer survivors the chance to join a three-month structured programme of education, psychological support and peer contact in a supportive group to assess whether it improves quality of life.

Dr Amit Kishore, Consultant Stroke Physician at Salford Royal

Stroke-associated pneumonia is a common complication within the first week of stroke and is associated with a raised risk of death within a year of the stroke. Dr Kishore’s research will examine how to improve early diagnosis of this complication, what can be done to prevent it and how it should best be treated. It will build on existing strengths within the stroker research theme of MAHSC’s neuroscience domain and the Geoffrey Jefferson brain Research Centre.

Mr Hiren Patel, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Salford Royal

Mr Patel will collaborate with expert statisticians to delve deeper into data collected about patients with subarachnoid haemorrhage to improve clinical prediction tools, so leading to better outcomes for patients. They will use electronic patient records and other hospital statistics to test and validate ideas about the causes of the condition and treatments.

Michelle Angus, Consultant Physiotherapist at Salford Royal

Cauda equina syndrome is a rare but serious condition that involves extreme pressure and swelling of the nerves at the end of the spinal cord. It’s a medical emergency that needs urgent surgery to prevent long-term life-changing problems for patients. Ms Angus’ project will identify to the most important early clinical signs and symptoms so that patients get the right treatment quickly.

Dr Rajiv Mohanraj, Consultant Neurologist at Salford Royal

Non epileptic attack disorder is a type of seizure thought to be caused by the brain’s response to overwhelming stress. Dr Mohanraj is examining links between the disorder and chronic pain and will now conduct a study to see whether a brain training technique that’s been shown to help with pain is also beneficial for people with NEAD. He will also supervise a project looking at genetic abnormalities linked to epilepsy.

NCA Head of Innovation Natalie Garratt said: “We are delighted to award these five fellowships after a highly competitive application process. Over the next three years these colleagues will be given time to build their collaborative networks and develop their research ideas, all of which aim to improve care for people affected by neurological conditions. In time, we expect the work they are carrying out now to lead to larger programmes supported by national and international funding bodies.”