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Regenerative neurology: meeting the need of patients with disability after stroke

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If regenerative neurology restores function, it will meet a huge unmet need and change dogma

Treatment of stroke in the acute phase has come a long way with the development of paramedic, emergency department and stroke team pathways for hyperacute assessment and management with intravenous thrombolysis, endovascular clot retrieval and hemicraniectomy. Acute stroke units reduce mortality and morbidity by up to 20% or more.1 An estimated 80% of stroke patients survive for one year after stroke, with the large majority being left with chronic disability.2 In Australia and many other countries around the world, stroke is the leading cause of adult disability.3 It is estimated that up to 450 000 Australians have disability after stroke.4,5

The only intervention currently available to stroke survivors is rehabilitation. Increasing evidence suggests that rehabilitation complements the natural functional recovery process that can often continue for months or years after stroke.6 However, there are persisting gaps in our understanding of the basic biological pathways that drive post-stroke recovery, and these pose challenges in applying evidence-based rehabilitation strategies in the real world. This becomes especially…