Scientists devise unique stroke assessment tool

Scientists at the University of Birmingham have devised a unique screening instrument that provides a 'one-stop' brain function profile of patients who have suffered stroke or other neurological damage.

The Birmingham Cognitive Screen (BCoS) can offer a visual snapshot of the and deficits of an individual which can then be used to guide clinical decision making.

Following , including stroke, head injury, and degenerative change, people can experience a range of cognitive problems as well as difficulty with physical movement. Cognitive problems strongly influence a patient's ability to recover but patients are not routinely screened to detect them.

The first test of its kind, BCoS has been designed by a team of brain experts co-ordinated by Research Fellow Dr Wai-Ling Bickerton (also a chartered psychologist and occupational therapist) at the University of Birmingham in collaboration with Professors Glyn Humphreys and Jane Riddoch at Oxford University and Dana Samson at Louvain University.

Comprising a user-friendly manual, a test book, a CD containing Auditory Attention Test stimuli, a supply of examiner and examinee booklets and a zip-up pouch of test objects, the test takes 45-60 minutes and is carried out by trained health professionals and covers a range of cognitive abilities, including attention, executive function, , speech and language processing, action planning and control, memory, and number processing.

'Through research outcomes supported by the Stroke Association, BCoS has already been used to successfully assess more than 1,000 in the West Midlands,' explains Dr Bickerton. 'BcoS has been validated against "standard" and assessed against measures of cognition and activities of everyday living for patients in the chronic stage.

'The test has been designed to be highly inclusive and, as such, is an optimal tool for most stroke survivors regardless of the cognitive effects of stroke,' she says. 'It is also applicable to individuals with brain injury or dementia. 

With the support of Research and Innovation Services and the Business Engagement Team at the University (including a £15,000 first prize from its Enterprising Birmingham Competition), as well as the UnLtd HEFCE Social Enterprise Catalyst Award, BCoS has been commercially developed to the point that it is now licensed for publication to Psychology Press.

Dr Bickerton has started to offer training to health professionals to encourage skilled adoption of the tool. Efforts are underway to find resources for a new social enterprise company that can further develop this training capability and increase uptake of the tool both nationally and internationally to improve cognitive care by rehabilitation professionals.

More information: The BCoS is published by Psychology Press.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Memory failing? You may be at higher risk for stroke

Feb 01, 2010

People who experience memory loss or a decline in their thinking abilities may be at higher risk of stroke, regardless of whether they have been diagnosed with dementia, according to a new study published in the February ...

Recommended for you

New ALS associated gene identified using innovative strategy

9 hours ago

Using an innovative exome sequencing strategy, a team of international scientists led by John Landers, PhD, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School has shown that TUBA4A, the gene encoding the Tubulin Alpha 4A protein, ...

Can bariatric surgery lead to severe headache?

9 hours ago

Bariatric surgery may be a risk factor for a condition that causes severe headaches, according to a study published in the October 22, 2014, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurol ...

Bipolar disorder discovery at the nano level

9 hours ago

A nano-sized discovery by Northwestern Medicine scientists helps explain how bipolar disorder affects the brain and could one day lead to new drug therapies to treat the mental illness.

Brain simulation raises questions

13 hours ago

What does it mean to simulate the human brain? Why is it important to do so? And is it even possible to simulate the brain separately from the body it exists in? These questions are discussed in a new paper ...

Human skin cells reprogrammed directly into brain cells

13 hours ago

Scientists have described a way to convert human skin cells directly into a specific type of brain cell affected by Huntington's disease, an ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Unlike other techniques ...

User comments