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U. Iowa study suggests antidepressants aid physical recovery in stroke
Date:4/7/2011

A University of Iowa study finds that patients treated with a short course of antidepressants after a stroke have significantly greater improvement in physical recovery than patients treated with a placebo. Moreover, the study is the first to demonstrate that this physical recovery continues to improve for at least nine months after the antidepressant medication is stopped.

"The idea that antidepressants might benefit early recovery from stroke has been around for a couple of years," said Robert Robinson, M.D., UI professor and head of psychiatry and senior study author. "But one major question left unanswered by previous studies was 'does the effect last after the medication stops?'

"What our study demonstrates is that not only does the beneficial effect last, but the improvement in physical recovery continues to increase even after the patients stop taking the medication."

The study, which was published online in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry Feb. 24, found that both depressed and non-depressed stroke patients who received antidepressant medication had greater physical recovery after stroke than patients who received placebo. In addition, the effect compared to placebo was observed even after controlling for patients' age, total hours of rehabilitation therapy and initial severity of stroke.

Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States, and an estimated 795,000 strokes occur annually, according to the National Stroke Association.

Current treatment of patients with acute ischemic stroke generally focuses on therapies to restore blood supply to the brain within the first few hours of onset of stroke. Unfortunately, most patients with stroke do not arrive within the short time window for effective treatment. Other patients may not have a favorable outcome even with treatment. Post-stroke treatment focuses on prevention of recurrent stroke or other complications of the brai
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Contact: Jennifer Brown
jennifer-l-brown@uiowa.edu
319-356-7124
University of Iowa Health Care
Source:Eurekalert

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