Optimism after a stroke could ward off life-changing disability by slashing ...

Why you should be optimistic after a stroke: Scientists say looking on the bright side of life could ward off life-changing disability by slashing brain inflammation In a small study of 49 stroke survivors, researchers examined link with optimism  The sample group were said to have reduced stroke severity after three months   They also had less physical disability and inflammation markers

By Leigh Mcmanus For Mailonline

Published: 15:23 GMT, 12 February 2020 | Updated: 15:23 GMT, 12 February 2020

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Being optimistic after a stroke could ward off long-term disability by reducing inflammation of the brain, scientists claim 

Stroke survivors with a positive mindset can speed up the recovery from their illness and face less complications such as paralysis. 

Brain swelling, referred to as cerebral edema, is one of the immediate short-term perils for someone who has just suffered a stroke. 

Large strokes in particular may cause significant swelling on the brain that can worsen quickly and lead to serious consequences, including severe brain damage. 

The swelling - which causes an array of side effects such as nausea and vomiting - is caused by inflammation, which can be combated with a positive mindset, the scientists claim. 

In a three-month study of 49 stroke survivors, researchers from The University of Texas found post-stroke inflammation markers decreased as positivity increased.

In a three-month study of 49 stroke survivors, researchers from The University of Texas said that post-stroke brain inflammation decreased as positivisty increased. (Stock image)

In a three-month study of 49 stroke survivors, researchers from The University of Texas said that post-stroke brain inflammation decreased as positivisty increased. (Stock image)

'Mental health does affect recovery after a stroke,' said study first author Yun-Ju La, of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

'Patients and their families should know the importance of a positive environment that could benefit the patient.' 

Scientists, who are presenting their preliminary research at the American Stroke Association's 2020 International Stroke Conference, examined the relationship between optimism, stroke severity and physical disability for the three months post stroke. 

The study was on a small group of 45. Their age and location was not revealed in the preliminary presentation.

Their optimism was measured using the Life Orientation Test, a standard psychological tool.

Stroke severity and physical disability was measured through the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale. It assesses complications such as facial paralysis and inability to control leg and arm movements properly. 

'Our results suggest that optimistic people have a better disease outcome, thus boosting morale may be an ideal way to improve mental health and recovery after a stroke,' Dr La said. 

Post-stroke inflammation impairs the brain's recovery

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