Stroke and Brain Injury Research

Led by two leading stroke researchers and neurologists, Professor Mark Parsons and Professor Neil Spratt, work of the Newcastle stroke group encompasses research studies relating to stroke and associated brain injury mechanisms, treatment and recovery.

Stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death (Source - Australian Bureau of Statiticsand one third of strokes result in a disability  (Source - Australian Institute of Health and Welfare).

In 2012, research driven by Professor Mark Parsons and Professor Chris Levi reported that a genetically engineered version of the drug called Tenecteplase may be significantly more effective than the most potent and successful treatments currently given to stroke patients (Alteplase).

These researchers showed in a randomised trial of the two drugs that tenecteplase was associated with an excellent or good recovery after stroke in 72% of all patients as opposed to 40% with the traditional drug alteplase, a finding that may completely transform the treatment regimen of stroke patients.

Researchers in the translational stroke group have also made another ground-breaking discovery: that pressure within the brain rises around 24 hours after stroke.  This is a common time for patients with minor stroke to deteriorate. Work from the Newcastle stroke team suggests that such deterioration could be caused by pressure rise reducing blood flow to injured brain.

Excitingly, their work also indicates that cooling the body by a few degrees for a brief period soon after stroke completely prevents the pressure increase. This discovery has the potential to revolutionise the current clinical practice for stroke victims as it is relatively simple and cheap to administer, so has the potential to be used widely.

In conjunction with a finely tuned triage protocol, this research group have dramatically improved the outcomes of thousands of stroke patients and are recognised locally and around the world for their outstanding research.

The influence of physical activity after a stroke is also an important research consideration for this group. Various projects assessing both the levels and types of physical activity being performed in stroke victims aims to improve the long term outcomes of sufferers and help to promote increased physical activity in these people.

“Combining clinical work with research allows us to more quickly move promising therapies from the laboratory into practice" explains group leader Professor Neil Spratt to the University of Newcastle about the stroke research group.

Dr Sarah Valkenborghs
Research Program :
Research Topics :
Asthma, Respiratory Diseases & the Immune System, Clinical Cardiovascular, Healthy Lifestyles, Prostate Cancer, Stroke and Brain Injury
Professor Paulette van Vliet - Stroke Rehabilitation Researcher
Research Program :
Brain & Mental Health
Research Topics :
Clinical Cardiovascular, Neuroscience, Stroke and Brain Injury