[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 17-Sep-2002
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Contact: Andrew Weltch
WeltchA@cardiff.ac.uk
Cardiff University

Treating effects of brain damage

The treatment of neuropsychological deficits that follow stroke or head injury comes under scrutiny at an international conference-aimed of determining which treatments work, how well they work and for whom.

The 600 delegates at the Effectiveness of Rehabilitation for Cognitive Deficits conference, organised by Cardiff University’s School of Psychology are drawn from all sectors of health care management and include medical doctors, clinical psychologists, research neuropsychologists, therapists, insurers, lawyers, patients and their families.

“The volume of interest that the conference has generated reflects the originality and significance of the theme,” said conference organiser, Professor Peter Halligan. “As far as we are aware, there has never been a formal international meeting dedicated to considering the efficacy of existing treatments and employing an evidence based approach for cognitive disorders in patients following brain damage”. Rehabilitation for brain injury is expensive and time consuming. “Although, not typically well known, it is often the cognitive deficits (e.g. disorders of memory, perceptual, attention, concentration and planning) rather than physical deficits (e.g. paralysis) that prevent and slow full recovery after stroke or head injury. In economical terms, the cost of brain damage after stroke to the NHS, for example, is estimated to be over £2.3 billion each year – hence there is a real need to be realistic and concerned about the effectiveness of treatments offered for these deficits.”

Brain damage encompasses various medical conditions, including head injury, stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, and Alzheimer's Disease (for statistics see Notes to Editors).

“No age group is immune from brain injury,” said Professor Peter Halligan. “It’s estimated that each year one million people in Britain – a huge proportion of them young males – attend hospital for head injury. As for stroke, we tend to assume that it affects mainly older people. However, as many as 250 children a year in the UK suffer a stroke and 10,000 of the 100,000 people who suffer a first stroke each year are of working age.”

In bridging the gap between theory and effective clinical practice, the conference will also address related themes such as the assessments used to determine the extent of brain injury, and factors relating to a patient’s personality, personal circumstances or emotional well-being –all of which may influence the choice of treatment and rate of recovery.

The conference takes place at Cardiff City Hall from Tuesday 17 September to Thursday 18 September 2002.

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Notes to Editors
1. The international meeting for Effectiveness of Rehabilitation for Cognitive Deficits takes place at Cardiff City Hall from 17-19 September 2002. Full details are available on the web at: www.cardiff.ac.uk/psych/ercd/ Speakers include Catherine Mateer (USA); George Prigatano (USA); Max Coltheart (Australia); Derek Wade (UK); Barbara Wilson (UK); and Ian Robertson (Eire)
2. Facts and Figures

HEAD INJURY
It is estimated that one million people in Britain attend hospital each year as a result of a head injury. Every year, out of every 100,000 of the population, between 10 and 15 people suffer a severe head injury, 15 to 20 people suffer a moderate head injury, and between 250 and 300 people a mild head injury. In general, males are two to three times more likely to have a head injury than females. The age group most at risk of head injury is 15 to 29. In this age group, males are five times more likely to sustain injuries. The death rate following traumatic brain injury is approximately 9 per 1000. By the year 2000 it is estimated that 135,000 people in the UK will require round the clock care after surviving severe head injury.

STROKE

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE



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