Anti-depressants could aid recovery of stroke victims

Anti-depressants could help recovery after a stroke – even in patients who are not depressed, research suggests.

The drugs could reduce dependence, physical disability, depression and anxiety in the first year after a stroke, according to the study by Edinburgh University.

Anti-depressants could promote the growth of new nerve cells in the brain or protect other cells damaged by stroke, the authors suggest.

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By preventing depression they may encourage more patients to be physically active, they suggest.

Professor Gillian Mead, professor of stroke and elderly care medicine at the university, said: “Anti-depressants have been successfully used for many years to relieve ­depression.

“However, it now appears that they also have effects on the brain that may help patients make a better recovery from the physical effects of stroke.”