Multi-disciplinary research


Cognitive Function After Stroke (COGFAST) study

Project Leader(s): Professor Raj N Kalaria
Staff: Dr Louise Allan, Professor Andy Blamire, Dr Michael J Firbank, Professor Gary A Ford, Professor John T O’Brien, Dr Christopher M Morris, Dr Stephen Parry, Dr Tuomo M Polvikoski, Dr Elise N Rowan, Dr Alan J Thomas, Mrs Michelle Widdrington
Sponsors: Medical Research Council, UK

The COGFAST project began in September 1999 to achieve understanding of the risk factors and mechanisms of incident dementia in elderly stroke survivors.   Initially, we screened >700 elderly stroke patients from hospital-based stroke registers in Tyneside and Wearside in the North East of England.  Of these 355 eligible patients aged 75 yrs or over were recruited at 3 months after their stroke into a longitudinal, multidisciplinary study.  At baseline none of the patients had dementia and were then assessed annually for change in cognition. 

At 8 years follow up patients had survived on average 6.7 years after their index stroke and 25% developed dementia.  The most robust predictors of dementia include low baseline executive function and memory scores, depression score and 2 or more cardiovascular risk factors, hypertension and ischaemic heart disease being the greatest.  More than 75% of demented stroke survivors met current neuropathological criteria for vascular dementia.  Our study suggests careful monitoring and treatment of modifiable vascular risk factors is of benefit in preventing post-stroke dementia.


Dr Louise Allan
Clinical Senior Lecturer/ Consultant

Professor Andrew Blamire
Professor of Magnetic Resonance Physics

Dr Michael Firbank
Visiting Researcher

Professor Gary Ford

Professor Raj Kalaria
Professor of Cerebrovascular Pathology (Neuropathology)

Dr Christopher Morris
Senior Lecturer

Professor John O'Brien
Strategic Research Adviser

Dr Steve Parry
Clinical Senior Lecturer/Consultant

Dr Tuomo Polvikoski
Clinical Senior Lecturer/Consultant