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:

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