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Sunday, 14 October, 2001, 00:22 GMT 01:22 UK
Early exercise could aid stroke recovery
When a stroke occurs part of the brain is severely damaged
A study to examine whether early and extra exercise could help stroke patients recover more quickly is to be launched in the north of England.

Experts believe there is emerging evidence to suggest that additional exercise on top of traditional methods of physiotherapy following a stroke may be beneficial.

Patients often report physiotherapy after stroke to be beneficial but feel that they do not receive enough

Tudor Smith
An eight-month pilot study, involving 60 patients, is to be launched by a team of researchers from the University of Manchester and University Hospital Aintree, in Liverpool.

The patients will be split into two groups. Both groups will receive traditional physiotherapy, with the second group receiving additional exercise training.

Tudor Smith, a member of the Stroke Team at University Hospital Aintree said: "Patients often report physiotherapy after stroke to be beneficial but feel that they do not receive enough.

"Therefore, whilst physio is manpower intensive and time limited, early exercise training could be performed at any time by the patient with or without assistance from staff or carers on the ward.

"This can have the additional benefit of empowering the patient to take control of their own rehabilitation, which may positively influence their expectations of recovery.

"Furthermore exercise can involve group participation with associated social and psychological advantages."

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Mr Eoin Redahan, from the British Stroke Association, said: "We are really pleased to see this new research.

"The Stroke Association has funded research that shows that physiotherapy soon after stroke is beneficial."

"Combining this with exercise does seem a logical step, in fact, we have also funded research into exercise after stroke and are awaiting the results.

"If this research, and The Association's research, shows there are benefits, we will be actively encouraging the NHS to introduce exercise regimes for stroke patients."

Action Research, a charity which works to help British people overcome disease and disability, is ploughing 20,000 into the project.

In the UK, more than 100,000 people suffer their first stroke - a third of whom develop severe disability because of weakness in their arms and legs.

Each year 10,000 people under the age of 55 have a stroke.

A stroke occurs with when a blood clot forms in a damaged vessel and blocks the flow of blood to the brain, or when a damaged vessel in the brain bursts.

Stroke is the third most common cause of mortality but the most common cause of severe disability.

See also:

06 Oct 01 | Health
Eye photos predict stroke risk
16 Jul 01 | Health
'My child's battle after stroke'
18 May 01 | Health
Stroke research warning
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