Treatable attention disorders in stroke patients are often undiagnosed, study finds

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Many stroke survivors have undiagnosed attention-related disorders that could be treated with therapy, according to newly published research.

Researchers at Imperial College London conducted computerized tests on about 100 patients at a major United Kingdom stroke center. More than 50% had undiagnosed attention disorders, the team discovered.

The researchers also found an apparent link between the characteristics of the disorders and the part of the brain affected by the stroke. Difficulty filtering out distraction was associated with strokes in the front of the brain, difficulty following instructions was associated with strokes in the back of the brain, and a reduction in alertness was related to middle-brain strokes.

Brain scans and computer games can identify these deficits, and computer games can also be used for rehabilitation, said senior author Paul Bentley, M.D., Ph.D. Drug therapies could also potentially be tailored to treat these conditions, which correspond to three different brain networks that are regulated by different chemicals, he added.

The study results appear in the journal Neurology.