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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 Universitys 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. Its 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. How
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Contact: Andrew Weltch
WeltchA@cardiff.ac.uk
Cardiff University
17-Sep-2002


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