Technology focus of new stroke research

Stroke Foundation

A Wollongong researcher will lead an innovative new project aimed at preventing strokes through scalable technology.

Associate Professor Caleb Ferguson has been awarded the Nancy and Vic Allen Stroke Prevention Memorial Grant of $99,538 which supports and encourages stroke prevention, research and combines best practice medical care with evidence-based integrative care.

The study will pilot a new learning delivery platform called QStream to understand its effect on hospitalisation, quality of life, knowledge, medication adherence, mortality and cost effectiveness.

It’s titled ‘INFORM-AF II: A phase pilot randomised controlled trial of a digital stroke prevention education program for people living with Atrial Fibrillation (AF),’ which is a form of irregular heart rate and a key risk factor for stroke.

Dr Ferguson said AF is a well-established risk factor for stroke.

“People who experience AF-related strokes have a higher level of disability, and AF is a common consequence in around 25-30 per cent of strokes,” Dr Ferguson said.

“This builds on the existing work we have been doing around AF for a decade. We believe this program could assist in patients being more knowledgeable about their condition and their medicines, and in turn, more adherent to stroke prevention therapies.”

Currently, life-saving treatment includes stroke prevention medications which thin the blood, the anticoagulants reduce the risk of stroke in patients with AF. But Dr Ferguson says people don’t always take medicines as directed, or sometimes stop taking it.

“Our mission is to revolutionise stroke prevention through scalable technology to enable the widespread provision of theory-driven education to support behaviour change and help fight stroke.”

Dr Ferguson thanked the Allen family for their generosity and for making the vital research possible.

“Their contribution will make a significant difference in our mission to fight the rising tide of stroke in Australia and beyond,” he said.

“This investment is helping us advance our research and bring us closer to finding new and innovative ways to promote stroke prevention.”

The Stroke Foundation’s Research Grant Program has awarded over $6 million to more than 200 researchers since 2008.

Stroke Foundation Research Advisory Committee Chair Professor Coralie English congratulated Dr Ferguson on the grant.

“Unfortunately, the number of Australians experiencing a stroke continues to rise, and any steps we can take to reduce that number will make a lasting difference,” Dr English said.

“It’s our mission to fight, treat and beat stroke, and this research project will help us achieve that goal.”

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