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  • National Stroke Association guidelines for the management of transient ischemic attacks.

    8 June 2018

    OBJECTIVE: Transient ischemic attacks are common and important harbingers of subsequent stroke. Management varies widely, and most published guidelines have not been updated in several years. We sought to create comprehensive, unbiased, evidence-based guidelines for the management of patients with transient ischemic attacks. METHODS: Fifteen expert panelists were selected based on objective criteria, using publication metrics that predicted nomination by practitioners in the field. Prior published guidelines were identified through systematic review, and recommendations derived from them were rated independently for quality by the experts. Highest quality recommendations were selected and subsequently edited by the panelists using a modified Delphi approach with multiple iterations of questionnaires to reach consensus on new changes. Experts were provided systematic reviews of recent clinical studies and were asked to justify wording changes based on new evidence and to rate the final recommendations based on level of evidence and quality. No expert was allowed to contribute to recommendations on a topic for which there could be any perception of a conflict of interest. RESULTS: Of 257 guidelines documents identified by systematic review, 13 documents containing 137 recommendations met all entry criteria. Six iterations of questionnaires were required to reach consensus on wording of 53 final recommendations. Final recommendations covered initial management, evaluation, medical treatment, surgical treatment, and risk factor management. INTERPRETATION: The final recommendations on the care of patients with transient ischemic attacks emphasize the importance of urgent evaluation and treatment. The novel approach used to develop these guidelines is feasible, allows for rapid updating, and may reduce bias.

  • Sex Differences in Long-Term Mortality After Stroke in the INSTRUCT (INternational STRoke oUtComes sTudy): A Meta-Analysis of Individual Participant Data.

    14 June 2018

    BACKGROUND: Women are reported to have greater mortality after stroke than men, but the reasons are uncertain. We examined sex differences in mortality at 1 and 5 years after stroke and identified factors contributing to these differences. METHODS AND RESULTS: Individual participant data for incident strokes were obtained from 13 population-based incidence studies conducted in Europe, Australasia, South America, and the Caribbean between 1987 and 2013. Data on sociodemographics, stroke-related factors, prestroke health, and 1- and 5-year survival were obtained. Poisson modeling was used to estimate the mortality rate ratio (MRR) for women compared with men at 1 year (13 studies) and 5 years (8 studies) after stroke. Study-specific adjusted MRRs were pooled to create a summary estimate using random-effects meta-analysis. Overall, 16 957 participants with first-ever stroke followed up at 1 year and 13 216 followed up to 5 years were included. Crude pooled mortality was greater for women than men at 1 year (MRR 1.35; 95% confidence interval, 1.24-1.47) and 5 years (MRR 1.24; 95% confidence interval, 1.12-1.38). However, these pooled sex differences were reversed after adjustment for confounding factors (1 year MRR, 0.81; 95% confidence interval, 0.72-0.92 and 5-year MRR, 0.76; 95% confidence interval, 0.65-0.89). Confounding factors included age, prestroke functional limitations, stroke severity, and history of atrial fibrillation. CONCLUSIONS: Greater mortality in women is mostly because of age but also stroke severity, atrial fibrillation, and prestroke functional limitations. Lower survival after stroke among the elderly is inevitable, but there may be opportunities for intervention, including better access to evidence-based care for cardiovascular and general health.

  • Loci associated with ischaemic stroke and its subtypes (SiGN): a genome-wide association study.

    18 June 2018

    BACKGROUND: The discovery of disease-associated loci through genome-wide association studies (GWAS) is the leading genetic approach to the identification of novel biological pathways underlying diseases in humans. Until recently, GWAS in ischaemic stroke have been limited by small sample sizes and have yielded few loci associated with ischaemic stroke. We did a large-scale GWAS to identify additional susceptibility genes for stroke and its subtypes. METHODS: To identify genetic loci associated with ischaemic stroke, we did a two-stage GWAS. In the first stage, we included 16 851 cases with state-of-the-art phenotyping data and 32 473 stroke-free controls. Cases were aged 16 to 104 years, recruited between 1989 and 2012, and subtypes of ischaemic stroke were recorded by centrally trained and certified investigators who used the web-based protocol, Causative Classification of Stroke (CCS). We constructed case-control strata by identifying samples that were genotyped on nearly identical arrays and were of similar genetic ancestral background. We cleaned and imputed data by use of dense imputation reference panels generated from whole-genome sequence data. We did genome-wide testing to identify stroke-associated loci within each stratum for each available phenotype, and we combined summary-level results using inverse variance-weighted fixed-effects meta-analysis. In the second stage, we did in-silico lookups of 1372 single nucleotide polymorphisms identified from the first stage GWAS in 20 941 cases and 364 736 unique stroke-free controls. The ischaemic stroke subtypes of these cases had previously been established with the Trial of Org 10 172 in Acute Stroke Treatment (TOAST) classification system, in accordance with local standards. Results from the two stages were then jointly analysed in a final meta-analysis. FINDINGS: We identified a novel locus (G allele at rs12122341) at 1p13.2 near TSPAN2 that was associated with large artery atherosclerosis-related stroke (first stage odds ratio [OR] 1·21, 95% CI 1·13-1·30, p=4·50 × 10-8; joint OR 1·19, 1·12-1·26, p=1·30 × 10-9). Our results also supported robust associations with ischaemic stroke for four other loci that have been reported in previous studies, including PITX2 (first stage OR 1·39, 1·29-1·49, p=3·26 × 10-19; joint OR 1·37, 1·30-1·45, p=2·79 × 10-32) and ZFHX3 (first stage OR 1·19, 1·11-1·27, p=2·93 × 10-7; joint OR 1·17, 1·11-1·23, p=2·29 × 10-10) for cardioembolic stroke, and HDAC9 (first stage OR 1·29, 1·18-1·42, p=3·50 × 10-8; joint OR 1·24, 1·15-1·33, p=4·52 × 10-9) for large artery atherosclerosis stroke. The 12q24 locus near ALDH2, which has previously been associated with all ischaemic stroke but not with any specific subtype, exceeded genome-wide significance in the meta-analysis of small artery stroke (first stage OR 1·20, 1·12-1·28, p=6·82 × 10-8; joint OR 1·17, 1·11-1·23, p=2·92 × 10-9). Other loci associated with stroke in previous studies, including NINJ2, were not confirmed. INTERPRETATION: Our results suggest that all ischaemic stroke-related loci previously implicated by GWAS are subtype specific. We identified a novel gene associated with large artery atherosclerosis stroke susceptibility. Follow-up studies will be necessary to establish whether the locus near TSPAN2 can be a target for a novel therapeutic approach to stroke prevention. In view of the subtype-specificity of the associations detected, the rich phenotyping data available in the Stroke Genetics Network (SiGN) are likely to be crucial for further genetic discoveries related to ischaemic stroke. FUNDING: US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health.

  • Evaluation and stages of surgical innovations.

    8 June 2018

    Surgical innovation is an important part of surgical practice. Its assessment is complex because of idiosyncrasies related to surgical practice, but necessary so that introduction and adoption of surgical innovations can derive from evidence-based principles rather than trial and error. A regulatory framework is also desirable to protect patients against the potential harms of any novel procedure. In this first of three Series papers on surgical innovation and evaluation, we propose a five-stage paradigm to describe the development of innovative surgical procedures.

  • Challenges in evaluating surgical innovation.

    18 June 2018

    Research on surgical interventions is associated with several methodological and practical challenges of which few, if any, apply only to surgery. However, surgical evaluation is especially demanding because many of these challenges coincide. In this report, the second of three on surgical innovation and evaluation, we discuss obstacles related to the study design of randomised controlled trials and non-randomised studies assessing surgical interventions. We also describe the issues related to the nature of surgical procedures-for example, their complexity, surgeon-related factors, and the range of outcomes. Although difficult, surgical evaluation is achievable and necessary. Solutions tailored to surgical research and a framework for generating evidence on which to base surgical practice are essential.

  • Primary Schools

    6 October 2016

    Our scientists love showing primary school children how MRI works and giving them a chance to make up their own experiments to do on our scanners.

  • Secondary Schools

    6 October 2016

    We regularly go out into secondary schools to speak about neuroscience and invite secondary school students into the lab to find out what neuroscience research is really like.

  • The Creative Brain

    6 October 2016

    Bringing together people from a wide range of disciplines, providing a forum to provoke thought and dialogue about how our understanding of neuroscience can impact on all aspects of our lives, and how insights from other fields can enrich our study of neuroscience.

  • Museums and Festivals

    6 October 2016

    Our scientists regularly attend science fairs and put on exhibitions at local museums.

  • Media

    6 October 2016

    Our scientists regularly appear on national media to explain the impact that our work has.

  • Lifestyle

    26 August 2016

  • Brain Imaging

    26 August 2016

  • Heart Investigations

    26 August 2016