Our neuroimaging group has broad expertise and is working on combining data sets to advance our understanding of neurobiological factors that impact on recovery and the ability to benefit from rehabilitation. The focus will be to generate new knowledge that can be directly translated to clinical practice.

The work falls into two main areas:

  • early imaging profiling of potential for stroke recovery and
  • serial neuroimaging as a biologic marker of stroke recovery.

This area of research aims to identify rehabilitation responders and non-responders based on early neuroimaging and then to tailor rehabilitation intervention approaches and also develop trial stratification protocols.

The team’s large-scale longitudinal studies of stroke recovery include advanced imaging and specific clinical outcomes. The data collection for these studies will provide imaging data on over 3000 stroke survivors with data collected at various time points.

A major strength of these studies is the outcome data profile that has been collected which ranges from advanced neuroimaging both structural and functional to neurological impairment, disability, cognition and mood.

Once pooled, the imaging datasets will assist with training and education of imaging scientists.

This work is led by Leeanne Carey and Chris Levi.

In Australia, Chris Levi and Andrew Bivard head up the MIDAS (Modafinil in Debilitating Fatigue After Stroke) clinical trial. This trial is testing whether the drug modafinil can reduce fatigue in stroke survivors. Fatigue is a common symptom in stroke survivors which affects every aspect of their quality of life in the long term, and for which there is currently no proven treatment.

Modafinil is a relatively safe drug that is currently used primarily to treat narcolepsy, and it is hoped that modafinil will prove effective in treating fatigue in stroke survivors, allowing them to become more socially active, participate more in exercise and rehabilitation, and in some cases, even return to work.