The Sydney Stoke Study began in 1997 with the award of a grant by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Over the next 3 years, nearly 1000 stroke patients were screened to finally include 200 patients in the study. An additional 100 healthy subjects were recruited from the community. All these subjects were assessed in detail, and it is indeed admirable that few objected to the prolonged and taxing assessments. The majority also had an MRI brain scan. The initial phase of the study was completed in September 2000. The subjects participants were followed-up at 1, 3 and 5 years after the baseline assessment. We are continuing to keep contact with the remaining participants, many of whom have signed up for the brain donor program. Currently, we are examining cognitive decline and its predictors up to the year 5 follow-up assessments.
The study has been continuously funded by NHMRC; additional support was obtained from the Fairfax Foundation, the Rebecca Cooper Foundation, the Old Age Psychiatry Research Fund of the Prince of Wales Hospital and some private benefactors. It has resulted in a number of landmark publications and two doctoral theses. Researchers from Maastricht University, the Netherlands, are using data from this study to identify discrete cognitive subtypes and their prognostic values in predicting cognitive and other endpoints (mortality, dementia and quality of life).