Page last updated at 09:45 GMT, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 10:45 UK

Stroke study to test early rehab

CT scan of a stroke victim's brain
The researchers will measure whether early rehabilitation can aid recovery

Four Scottish hospitals are to take part in an international study to see whether early rehabilitation can aid stroke patients.

Stirling Royal Infirmary, Monklands, Wishaw General and Glasgow's Western Infirmary will join the study over the next four years.

The trial will assess the impact of activities like sitting, standing and walking after suffering a stroke.

Researchers hope the trial will help cut death and disability rates.

The programme called AVERT (A Very Early Rehabilitation Trial) will be offered to patients who arrive at participating hospitals within 24 hours of suffering a stroke.

Figures show that stroke is the biggest cause of disability in Scotland.

Cost effectiveness

There are currently about 13,000 strokes a year, with more than one in five suffered by people under the age of 65.

Although past research has looked at the effects of different medication after stroke, those behind the study, which began in Australia, said no high quality trials had assessed the benefits of very early rehabilitation.

NHS Forth Valley consultant neurologist Dr Malcolm MacLeod, who is leading the trial at Stirling, said: "These studies are the best way of finding out if this type of treatment works.

"In particular, it may reduce death, disability and dependence of stroke patients long term, thus reducing the number of people who need to go into nursing homes."

The trials are being funded by Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland, and co-ordinated by a Glasgow University research team and the Scottish Stroke Research Network.

The research team will also test the feasibility and cost effectiveness of the early mobilisation plan within the Scottish healthcare setting.

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16 Oct 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
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