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Rehabilitation of cognitive deficits poststroke: protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials of non-pharmacological interventions
  1. Mairead O Donoghue1,2,
  2. Pauline Boland1,2,
  3. Rose Galvin1,2,
  4. Susan Coote1,3,
  5. Sara Hayes1,2
  1. 1 School of Allied Health, Faculty of Education and Health Science, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
  2. 2 Ageing Research Centre, Health Research Institute, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
  3. 3 Health Research Institute, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Mairead O Donoghue; mairead.odonoghue{at}


Introduction Stroke is among the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. Poststroke cognitive impairment is a common sequela of stroke. The burden of cognitive impairment poststroke has significant impacts on the individual poststroke, their family and wider society. Despite the prevalence and associated burden of poststroke cognitive impairment, the optimal approach to rehabilitate cognitive deficits poststroke has yet to be established. A range of conservative interventions for cognitive impairment poststroke exist including self-efficacy training, physical activity interventions, neuropsychological interventions, electronic interventions, music therapy and occupational therapies. This systematic review aims to explore the totality of evidence with regard to non-pharmacological rehabilitation interventions wherein the primary or secondary aim is to improve cognitive function in individuals poststroke.

Methods and analysis A systematic review of randomised controlled trials which investigate the effectiveness of interventions wherein the primary or secondary aim is to improve cognitive function in individuals poststroke will be conducted (August 2019). The following electronic databases will be searched: PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, CENTRAL and PsycInfo. Reference lists of all identified studies will be reviewed to identify additional studies for inclusion. Titles and abstracts will be screened independently by two review authors for inclusion and exclusion. Any disagreement regarding inclusion will be resolved by discussion or by referral to a third assessor if necessary. Methodological quality will be assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool for Randomised Controlled Trials. Meta-analyses will be performed if studies are sufficiently homogeneous. The review will be reported in accordance to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement.

Ethics and dissemination As this systematic review will collect secondary data only, ethical approval is not required. Findings will be disseminated through presentations and peer-reviewed journals.

Trial registration number CRD42019125289.

  • Stroke
  • cognitive impairment
  • rehabilitation

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  • Contributors MOD, PB and RG were major contributors in writing the manuscript. SH, PB and SC designed the overall study. MOD, PB and RG developed the search strategy. All authors critically appraised and edited the manuscript. SH is the guarantor of the review. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This work was supported by an unrestricted student stipend from the School of Allied Health, University of Limerick.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Findings will be disseminated through publication in peer-reviewed journals and through conferences. The rigorous scrutiny of primary studies will identify the strengths and limitations of current research and will provide recommendations for future research within this area.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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