What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. It is a leading cause of death and disability.

There are two types of stroke:

  • Ischaemic strokes are caused by a blockage (usually a blood clot) cutting off the blood supply to the brain. About 85% of strokes are ischaemic.
  • Haemorrhagic strokes are caused by a blood vessel bursting in the brain.

Who is affected?

Stroke occurs around 152,000 times per year in the UK. That’s once every three and a half minutes.

Age is the single most important risk factor, with three quarters of strokes in the UK occurring in people over the age of 65 years. The risk doubles every decade after the age of 55 years.

The impact of stroke

Stroke causes 40,000 deaths annually in the UK.

Half of those who survive stroke have a disability. Stroke causes a greater range of disabilities than any other condition; it can affect walking, talking, speech, balance, coordination, vision, spatial awareness, swallowing and bladder- and bowel-control. Extreme fatigue is also a common side-effect.

Our research

We fund research into a broad range of neurological conditions, including specific conditions such as stroke as well as basic research and cross-cutting research that has the potential to benefit patients with different types of neurological disorders.

We provide funding to the Leopold Muller Imaging Laboratory, part of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL Institute of Neurology. The centre brings together clinicians and scientists who use neuroimaging techniques to study the relationship between brain activity and cognitive functions such as vision, hearing and memory. They use neuroimaging techniques to help develop a mechanistic understanding of these processes and how they break down as a result of neurological injury or disease.

We have recently highlighted acquired brain injury – including stroke – as one of our three research priority areas. This recognises a high level of unmet need for research in this field and means that we are specifically calling for applications in acquired brain injury under our PhD studentship and project grant schemes.