Stroke Research Day

On Saturday 8th October, the Translational Neurospychology group hosted a public engagement event at the North Oxford Community Centre in Summertown. The main purpose was to share some initial results of the Stroke Association funded priority programme into long term psychological consequences of stroke. Over the last 3 years more than 100 participants completed several sessions of in depth neuropsychological profiling and questionnaires around mood, apathy, sleep at two timepoints one year apart. They also wore an activity monitor for a week.  Here, we presented some initial findings from the study as a first sneak peak to the people who had made it happen. This was followed with many questions from the audience and a discussion on where to take the research next.



We were grateful to also get to hear from Trevor, one of our stroke survivors, who is part of our research management group present his experience of being involved in research:


Next, Jeremy, also a stroke survivor and a member of the study’s steering committee, talked about wider governance and his experience being involved in the grants and funding side of stroke research:

Finally,  Dr Mel Fleming talked about new and ongoing research on sleep and motivation and members of the Translational Neuropsychology and  Neuroplastics research teams were there to demonstrate some of the tasks and apps. The event was further supported by local stroke charities, with a strong community feel.

Thanks to everyone who came to see us on Saturday.  We loved meeting you all and hope you found it valuable to hear about the research you have been helping in over the years.

Our newsletter was given out in physical copies, but everyone can also see a digital version here:



Come hear about our work!

Everyone is invited to come join us at the Stroke Research Day we are organising on Saturday 8th October in the North Oxford Association Community Centre.

We will be there from 2 to 4.30, and there will be some talks from the people who have helped us with our research along the way: some of our participants who are stroke survivors, some community organisation stands, and some of our researchers will talk about key results from the OX-CHRONIC research project.

There will be some coffee/tea and cakes and we hope it will be a lovely afternoon of exchanging ideas and discussing research.


Download the flyer here

Prof Demeyere awarded NIHR fellowship

From the 1st of September 2022, Prof Demeyere will hold an advanced NIHR fellowship, allowing the research group’s lead to focus all her time on translational research and advanced training. The work will be centred around developing a post stroke cognitive care pathway.

This was only possible thanks to the support and achievements of the whole team, and so we celebrated together!

Congratulations to Dr Moore!


Margaret Moore successfully defended her PhD thesis, with the examiners commenting that she has made a major original contribution to the field, and that they recognised the originality in her work.

This superstar has already published six papers from her PhD in peer-reviewed journals, with 2 more under review.

Margaret is looking forward to a well earned break, and is planning to join Prof Mattingley’s lab in Brisbane at the University of Queensland for a postdoctoral fellowship. We look forward to continued collaborations, and to see where her journey takes her.


PS: there are more glorious graduation pictures on our insta gallery

OCS-Plus tool now published

We are delighted with the latest paper now out from our lab, which introduces the OCS-Plus, our brief tablet based cognitive screening tool developed to detect subtle changes in domain general cognitive function in memory and executive functioning. Here we present the tasks and provide normative data from 320 and validation and reliability data within this neurologically healthy normative sample. With this important initial step now complete, we are looking forward to further research the validity and usefulness of the OCS-Plus in clinical populations which present with more subtle cognitive deficits.

Demeyere N, Haupt M, Webb SS, Strobel L, Milosevich ET, Moore MJ, et al. Introducing the tablet-based Oxford Cognitive Screen-Plus (OCS-Plus) as an assessment tool for subtle cognitive impairments. Scientific Reports. 2021 Apr 12;11(1):8000.

New publication on mood and cognition – Neurology

This new paper, entitled Association of Depression and Anxiety With Cognitive Impairment 6 Months After Stroke, was published today. Below is a summary of the paper for the general public.


After a stroke, many hidden or less visible consequences are often overlooked, these include changes in mood and thinking abilities. We know that stroke survivors are at an increased risk of suffering from depression and anxiety. We also know that many stroke survivors experience difficulties with cognition: how they process, react, and remember information, difficulties with language and numbers, with paying attention and perception and with planning complex tasks.

In this study, we investigated whether or not, at 6 months after stroke, impairments in specific types of cognition were associated with an increased risk of having more severe depression or anxiety symptoms. Using data from stroke participants recruited from 37 NHS sites across England, we found that impairment in a range of cognitive processes including visual processing, memory, language and number processing, and how well they complete complex tasks were all associated with more severe depressive symptoms but not with anxiety symptoms.

This work is important in highlighting that common struggles with a wide range of thinking processes due to the incurred stroke can affect a person’s recovery from stroke and have a negative impact on their quality of life. More work is needed to investigate how these associations between cognition and mood might change over time as patients recover from stroke. However, the results suggest that in addition to typical post-stroke rehabilitation which tends to focus on physical recovery, developing therapies to improve cognition has the potential to positively impact patient’s mood and with that their quality of life.



Williams OA, Demeyere N. Association of Depression and Anxiety With Cognitive Impairment 6 Months After Stroke. Neurology. 2021 Feb 15; Available from:

Poem from John S

The below poem was sent to us by one of the participants in the ox-chronic study about his recent participation in the remote assessment. For context: Participants are sent a series of paper folders which are opened during the call, as well as an activity monitor to monitor sleep and overall activity over 7 days.




A very large envelope came through my door

I pondered what this can be

Opening it up wondering what I would find

Wow it,s brain testing time just for me


This was followed up by a phone call

It was Grace on the other end

We fixed a time when she would be calling

I just hope my brain box won,t bend


Grace read a short story,

Later for me to recall

I must hold this story inside me

After all I don,t want to fall


Small hearts and big hearts were presented

I just had to circle the small

If I made a mess of this one

I must have been quite a fool


With circles and squares in a picture

I next had to join with a line

Not a straight one but zig zag all over

If I do this it all should be fine


They sent me a watch with no dial

To wear for seven long days

A watch you can,t see what the time is

This could start a new craze.


(Poem by John S, 92, stroke survivor)

Jacob Levenstein successfully defends DPhil

Wonderful news and many congratulations to Jacob Levenstein who has now successfully passed his PhD Viva. Even though it was on videocall in these times of COVID, Jacob kindly sent this wonderful Oxford SubFusc picture to share with you.

Jacob’s thesis was entitled. “Neurochemical and Structural Brain Imaging of Human Motor Control in Health and Post-Stroke” supervised by Profs Charlie Stagg and Nele Demeyere.  The viva examination was conducted with Prof Holly Bridge (internal examiner) and Prof Paul Mullins (Bangor University).


New paper presenting our digital Multiple Errands Test

Many stroke survivors have difficulties with complex thinking tasks following their stroke, with around 80% of survivors showing some form of this. Any problems in any or all of these complex abilities, such as planning, organisation, stopping actions or swapping actions can make it difficult to do many tasks of everyday life, affecting people’s independence and enjoyment of life. Tests that assess these complex mental abilities are typically quite abstract, involving connecting shapes, or finding patterns. These kind of tests also commonly miss those survivors who do well in a structured environment, like a lab or hospital, but have difficulties when having to organise their days or behaviour when distractions and interruptions are more common. The Oxford Digital Multiple Errands Test (OxMET) is a short to administer but powerful new test that uses a shopping scenario, more like the everyday real life complex situations, in an engaging and friendly way, without intimidating and abstract contexts.

This simple test is based around a common shopping scenario where an individual has 6 items to buy and 2 questions to answer. The trick is that there are rules to follow when completing the task that trips people up. Performance on this relatively simple task can reveal  a person’s ability to manage complex tasks. Further research will investigate whether this test done before a home-discharge can be helpful to understand how well people will cope independently once home, and what levels of support to put in place


paper reference:

Sam S. Webb, Anders Jespersen, Evangeline G. Chiu, Francesca Payne, Romina Basting, Mihaela D. Duta & Nele Demeyere (2021) The Oxford digital multiple errands test (OxMET): Validation of a simplified computer tablet based multiple errands test, Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, DOI: 10.1080/09602011.2020.1862679