Young stroke


At a glance

How do common infections alter the pathways that link blood clotting and inflammation, and is this a possible cause of unexplained stroke in young adults?

Lead researcher

Dr Kieron South


University of Manchester



Amount awarded


Last updated



Project title: The influence of thromboinflammatory changes during S. pneumoniae infection on stroke pathophysiology in young adults.

Around 10 per cent of young adults who suffer a stroke have also been recently diagnosed with an infection, particularly community-acquired pneumonia, a common chest infection. These infections are surprisingly common in young adults, with estimates suggesting that between 20-40 per cent of people may acquire one before the age of 50. This is an important risk factor for stroke, and means at some point, at least 20 per cent of people under 50 may become at risk of stroke during a period of infection. However, there is little research on how the two are linked.

Dr Kieron South has been awarded a research grant to investigate the link between infection and risk of stroke in mice. A better understanding of the order of events that occur when a mouse is infected will help inform how these same events may cause a stroke in young adults with the same infection.

This research will help identify ways that young adults with infection can be tested, and recognise those who show signs of the changes in their blood which might result in a stroke. Eventually, this might aid the design of new treatments to help prevent strokes in young at-risk adults.

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Neurological disorders - Stroke in young adults

  • Why is there a need to fund new research?

    Stroke is a major health problem that can have devastating consequences. It happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, causing the death of brain cells and dysfunction in one or more parts of the brain. The restricted blood supply can be the result of an artery supplying blood to brain becoming blocked, a blood vessel rupturing causing a bleed inside the brain, or a brief reduction in the blood supply to the brain.

    People over the age of 65 are more likely to have a stroke, although around a quarter of strokes happen in young people of working age.

    Angela Hind PhD, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Foundation, said: “Historically, we’ve thought of stroke as only affecting older adults but recent evidence suggests a growing problem in young adults.

    “Stroke in young adults can have a huge impact, often occurring when they are starting a family or already have young children to look after, and have yet to reach the peak of their careers. The economic, social and personal consequences can be devastating. We consider this to be an area of high unmet need, which is why we’re supporting mid-career researchers who have the potential to be the research leaders of the future.”

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