Health & Wellness

Optimism May Improve Stroke Recovery

A new study suggests that a positive outlook can lead to a better outcome for stroke patients


A small-scale study presented at a recent conference of the American Stroke Association (ASA) suggests optimism can lessen the consequences of a stroke and strengthen recovery.

A study of 49 stroke survivors found that optimistic patients had fewer physical disabilities and less inflammation three months after their stroke. Optimist patients also had less severe strokes than other patients.

A link between optimism and better outcomes has been noted in studies of other conditions, but no one had before looked into such an association in stroke patients. Researchers hope the findings will inform new strategies to help people recover more quickly after suffering a stroke.

“It’s not clear how these things are related, but there’s some suggestion that people who are more optimistic have less inflammation, and we know that inflammation can worsen stroke recovery,” said Ralph Sacco, the chairman of the department of neurology at the University of Miami Leonard Miller School of Medicine and and a former president of the ASA.

Sacco noted that previous studies of depression and stroke recovery found that depressed people had a harder time recovering after a stroke.

“Patients and their families should know the importance of a positive environment that could benefit the patient,” said Yun-Ju Lai, the study’s lead author. “Boosting morale may be an ideal way to improve mental health and recovery after a stroke.”

Photo: iStock/relif.