The use of antidepressants appears to boost brain function affecting overall reasoning and functioning in stroke victims, whether or not they had symptoms of depression, according to new research.

Researchers randomly assigned 47 stroke patients admitted to a rehabilitation center to one of two antidepressants, nortriptyline and Prozac, or given an inactive placebo. While researchers observed no differences among the treatment groups at 12 weeks, 21 months later found that those given an antidepressant experienced noticeable improvement in executive function. The condition of the majority of patients given the placebo had deteriorated significantly, researchers at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine found.

The study was published in the March issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.