studies into stroke treatment
medical treatment for stroke victims is failing to deal
with the common problem of depression. A study by the
department of psychiatry has found that psychological
therapy for stroke patients can help them cope with their
illness, reducing the risk of depression.
Allan House (pictured left)
compared two types of additional treatment to see which
was most effective at reducing the risk of depression.
In a clinical trial, some patients were given psychological
therapy by psychiatric nurses, others were visited by
volunteers. As a control, a third group were given no
extra treatment beyond the standard post-stroke care offered
to all patients.
House found that help early on during the recovery process
actually reduced depression rates, and the professional
therapy was the most effective. While volunteer visits
did help patients, when the visits stopped, so did the
benefits. The benefits from the therapy sessions, however,
were sustained even after the sessions had finished. The
standard treatment alone had no effect on the patients'
House has now received funding from the Stroke Association
for a major new study looking at whether depression in
post-stroke patients can have an adverse effect on recovery.
The collaborative study by academics and clinicians from
Leeds, Bradford and York, will be the largest of its kind,
involving 900 patients in Leeds and Bradford hospitals.
House said: "Previous follow-up studies have tended to
look at physical complications of strokes. This is the
largest of its kind to look at the condition in terms
of the impact of mental health on outcomes."
further project, supported by £500,000 from the NHS will
assess the influence of continuity of care for stroke
patients. The collaborative project involving psychiatry
and LUBS will assess how uninterrupted care is perceived
by patients and look at its effect on their ongoing physical,
social and psychological well-being. The researchers will
be asking professionals in the field their views on the
practicalities of delivering care, to develop the possiblity
of a care package with set targets for the first year
after a patient's stroke.