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Approved Research

Health outcomes after subarachnoid haemorrhage, genetic determinants and mechanisms of action - a UK Biobank study

Principal Investigator: Professor Ian Galea
Approved Research ID: 98928
Approval date: April 5th 2023

Lay summary

Subarachnoid haemorrhage is a common cause of stroke in young and middle-aged adults caused by a bleed on the brain. It occurs after rupture of a swelling (or aneurysm) on a major artery supplying the brain and results in release of blood over the brain surface (or the subarachnoid space), which then clots. In survivors, subarachnoid haemorrhage results in substantial loss of quality of life, and a significant cost to the UK economy due to inability to return to work. There is increasing recognition that, although people with a history of subarachnoid haemorrhage look outwardly healthy, they have substantial "hidden" disability which impairs their daily functioning. These hidden deficits mostly consist of problems with memory, concentration and processing of heard information such as speech and music. There are no treatments to prevent or improve recovery from these deficits. Hence a better understanding as to what contributes to a poor outcome after brain haemorrhage is needed.  There are over a thousand UK BioBank participants with a history of subarachnoid haemorrhage. First we intend to confirm that employment, physical activity, memory and concentration and hearing and other hidden disabilities occur in people with a history of subarachnoid haemorrhage compared to people who have not had a subarachnoid haemorrhage. Then we intend to see whether any specific variation in the genetic code of individuals with a history of subarachnoid haemorrhage predisposed them to a worse or better outcome. It is possible that certain genetic variations may reflect a biological process which can be improved or inhibited with available drugs. We will take into account the medications that people are already on; some may accelerate these disabilities or be linked to the development of subarachnoid haemorrhage; other drugs may be preventative. We will also use MRI to study how these hidden disabilities develop. We hope that this study will demonstrate the importance of the hidden deficits after subarachnoid haemorrhage, identify potential new treatments and ultimately help improve the management of people with subarachnoid haemorrhage. Finally, this project will form the basis of a PhD project at the University of Southampton, providing the student with experience in research.