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Understanding How to Beat Fatigue after Stroke

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Tiredness is something we all experience in our everyday lives. But fatigue is where we experience tiredness which is unrelated to physical or mental exertion, and is not alleviated by rest. Up to 70% of survivors experience fatigue, characterised by overwhelming physical and/or mental tiredness or exhaustion. For many the symptoms dissipate and lessen over time. Others continue to experience these symptoms at a high level many years after their stroke. This is called chronic fatigue.

It is a condition which can greatly impact upon the quality of an individual’s life, making everyday tasks feel overwhelming and unachievable, or just plain exhausting.

Previously, it was thought that patients who experience depression post-stroke were fatigued as a result of their mental health, whereas it is now highly possible that the inverse relationship may, in fact, be true. Fatigue may often be the cause, or a significant contributing factor, of depression.

There is currently no clinical method for diagnosing fatigue, and no treatment is available to alleviate the condition.

Dr Annapoorna Kuppuswamy 0357 Edited - Understanding How to Beat Fatigue after Stroke - Stroke Exercise TrainingResearch into fatigue is at its very early stages. Work to contribute towards a treatment has now been spearheaded by Dr Anna Kuppuswamy, the lead researcher on the project.

Her study aims to further general understanding of how fatigue works in the brain, and whether or not it can be alleviated. The goal for the future is to be able to diagnose and treat fatigue effectively, so that no-one need experience its debilitating effects.

So, how can you help?


Please come to help Dr Kuppuswamy’s Team test a new intervention for fatigue!

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The UCL study would involve three visits to 33 Queen Square to complete some computer-based tasks, as well as receiving some non-invasive brain stimulation.

The aim of the intervention is to test whether some of this stimulation can have a positive impact on the self-reported extent 2019 01 30 13 04 42 - Understanding How to Beat Fatigue after Stroke - Stroke Exercise Trainingof fatigue; at this stage, the impact may not be greatly significant or long-lasting but, as mentioned, the research is at the early stages and the goal is longer-term.

The sessions would not be particularly intensive, as the researchers are particularly understanding of how challenging it can be to live with fatigue. The minimum is one visit.

STROKE SURVIVORScome and take part in the screening and other tests (please view Study flyer by clicking on thumbnail copy of flyer above)

The Team will use your data as a control to further their understanding of the brains of those who have had a stroke and do not experience fatigue, and those who do experience fatigue.

If you think that you might be interested, please get in touch by emailing You will be asked some questions to ensure you are eligible and can safely take part in their study.

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This UCL research study is funded by the Wellcome Trust and Stroke Association.

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  1. Pieta / January 30, 2019

    This is so exciting! Thanks Tom for keeping everyone in the loop.

  2. Marion Withers / January 30, 2019

    I will be at UCL for 3 weeks from 11th Feb., for upper limb intensive training. I have taken a copy of the details and intend to speak to the department whilst there. Thanks Tom, a great opportunity to explore options further!

  3. Clive / February 1, 2019

    Thanks Tom,I’ll email Cameron for more info

  4. Doug Peacock / February 1, 2019

    I am really interested in the results and hopefully successful outcomes, many of the members of our stroke group suffer from this time to time – with most of these long term suffers.
    Please can you inform me of any results when available ?
    Thanks and kind regards,
    Doug Peacock
    Different Strokes – Northampton exercise group
    Different Strokes are a Registered Charity No. 1092168

  5. Natasha / February 1, 2019

    Fab post Tom, I’ve shared this with a lady I know who may be eligible.

  6. Jill pelan / June 9, 2019

    So many thanks for the work you do and the info !!
    My bother had a massive stroke 4 yrs ago and I was so alone and desperate to get information, help recovery and do whatever I could. My brother is hemiplegic and can walk a little which he does every day with someone nearby. He wears a foot splint for foot drop and a hand /arm splint to striaghten his hand. He cant and wont do hand exercices … Unforutnately. He gets 3 bouts of physio a week. As he lives in a little island in the Meditarranean its not been easy organising things but he lives independantly with a carer coming to the flat every day. I also live abroad elsewhere and cannot leave my job and home , but I see my brother every 4/5 weeks for a week or so.
    He has had epilepsy for 2 years now… We had no idea that this may Happen! He is on Epilem and Kappra which accentuates his great fatigue and often makes him confused. We have tried different doses to bring side effects down as much as possible (at one point he was getting hallucinations and constantly in a fuzz). As he has had big tonic/clonic fits he has to be under treatment.
    The greatest issue nowadays is the exhaustion. He often goes back to bed after breakfast and has a sieste in the afternoons. He also goes to bed early in the evening – 7 pm. Sleeping is often not too good.
    My brother remains optimistic and positive but the fatigue is a huge issue that affects his life.
    Concentration and physical activity is hampered by this but it seems that there isnt much we can do about this.
    I hope that my post is helpful to others as I know how difficult it is to deal with problems when there is so little communication and/or help available. Living on a small island with few ressources and no contact with other stroke survivors, I regularly read the ARNI posts and have learnt lots by reading other’s testimonials.
    My brother does what he can and has never given up – so forward we go !!

    All the best to everyone and keep up the good work!!

    • Lawrence L. Respondek / July 14, 2020

      Survivor since 6/25/2010!

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