Brittle, Nicola Gwen (2012)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Introduction: As neurological symptoms of transient ischaemic attack (TIA) subside, it is assumed that patients return to their “normal” health state. The aim of this thesis was to examine whether this is assumption is true by studying psychological well-being, cognitive functioning and physical functioning after TIA. Methods: A systematic review was conducted to amalgamate and critique existing literature on health outcomes after TIA. A longitudinal, controlled cohort study was subsequently designed to develop the evidence base further and examine interaction effects between cognition, feelings of affect and physical function in all patients referred to TIA clinics. Results: Evidence to date suggests that patients diagnosed with TIA have more cognitive impairment and depression than “healthy” controls. Discussion: It is unclear how much of the observed association between cerebrovascular disease and cognitive dysfunction is mediated by cardiovascular risk factors, and/or whether TIA has a direct causal relationship. Regardless, such deficits could impact of the patient’s overall quality of life and their ability to absorb information aimed at reducing stroke risk. Further research should be directed at assessing the feasibility of screening patients for cognitive impairment and depression after referral to TIA clinics, and developing/evaluating interventions to facilitate patients whose screen is positive.
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