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2016 Research Awards

Testing the predictive ability of blood based novel biomarkers for cardiovascular outcomes in UK Biobank: a nationwide cohort study of > 500k people

  • Professor Naveed Sattar, P. Welsh and J. Lewsey, BHF GCRC, University of Glasgow
  • £73,064 over 18 months

In UK Biobank, a remarkable study of 500,000 people, blood tests might help detect early risk of heart attack and strokes, and other important diseases.  The researchers will investigate to what extent newer blood tests tell us about how likely someone is to develop heart attacks and strokes, how these conditions develop, and whether and when there should be intervention.  This would result in more accurate targeting of preventative medications (such as statins or blood pressure tablets) to patients before they develop the illness.  The work of the researchers will be cutting edge since UK Biobank is the largest study to have addressed these questions.

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Restart or Stop Antithrombotics Randomised Trial for organ anticoagulants (RESTART-OAC)

  • Professor Rustam Al-Shahi Salman, D. Newby, J. Wardlaw and M. Dennis, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, Chancellor's Building, Edinburgh
  • £89,909 over two years

Blood-thinning drugs like warfarin are very effective for preventing stroke in people with an irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation (AF).  However, it is not known whether blood-thinning drugs are safe and effective for people with AF and a past history of bleeding in the brain, known as ‘brain haemorrhage’.  The researchers will set up two studies to address these treatment dilemmas.  These studies will be randomised controlled trials, which are the fairest test of treatments.  These trials will take place at some of the 116 hospitals in the UK that already participate in the RESTART trial.

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Secondary prevention after stroke: can we do better?  A novel national linkage of stroke registry and dispensing data

  • Dr. Mary Joan Macleod, M. Turner, K. Wilde, C. Black, M. Barber, M. Dennis and P. Langhorne, Universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow
  • £77,155 over two years

Patients who have a stroke are at risk of having a further stroke or coronary event.  Medicines to prevent this are not always given, perhaps because of patient frailty or safety concerns.  The researchers plan to link data from the national stroke care audit to other national datasets to look at prescribing after stroke, and see what influences which treatments patients are given, and how this impacts on outcomes (further strokes, heart attacks, survival).  If they find that there are ‘treatment gaps’ or inequalities, they will provide evidence that can be used to change guidelines, and hopefully improve patient care.

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Fatigue After Stroke: Testing the Feasibility of A Brief psychological intervention (FAST-FAB)

  • Professor Gillian Mead, V. Cvoro, M. Barber, D. Gillespie, M. Dennis, S. Wu, A. Carson, T. Chalder, Malcolm Macleod, S. Lewis, M. Hackett, Y. Chun, A. House and M. Brady, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
  • £89,296 over two years six months

Tiredness is common for people after a stroke.  It stops people doing things they enjoy.  The researchers have developed a ‘talking therapy’ – six meetings with a psychologist with two weeks between each meeting.  The aim is to help stroke survivors with fatigue to sleep better, be more active and feel less tired.  The researchers have tested this in 12 stroke survivors with good results.  They now want to do a trial with stroke nurses delivering the ‘talking therapy’.  If the therapy is doable, they will apply for funding for a larger trial.  This will tell them for certain whether the therapy works.

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