Martin Dennis

University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom

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Publications (290)2451.28 Total impact

  • No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · BMC Health Services Research
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    ABSTRACT: Data on potential variations in delivery of appropriate stroke care over time are scarce. We investigated temporal changes in the quality of acute hospital stroke care across five national audits in Europe over a period of six years. Methods. Data were derived from national stroke audits in Germany, Poland, Scotland, Sweden, and England/Wales/Northern Ireland participating within the European Implementation Score (EIS) collaboration. Temporal changes in predefined quality indicators with comparable information between the audits were investigated. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to estimate adherence to quality indicators over time. Results. Between 2004 and 2009, individual data from 542,112 patients treated in 538 centers participating continuously over the study period were included. In most audits, the proportions of patients who were treated on a SU, were screened for dysphagia, and received thrombolytic treatment increased over time and ranged from 2-fold to almost 4-fold increase in patients receiving thrombolytic therapy in 2009 compared to 2004. Conclusions. A general trend towards a better quality of stroke care defined by standardized quality indicators was observed over time. The association between introducing a specific measure and higher adherence over time might indicate that monitoring of stroke care performance contributes to improving quality of care.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015
  • A. Visvanathan · W. Whiteley · M. Dennis

    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · International Journal of Stroke
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    ABSTRACT: Several small trials have suggested that fluoxetine improves neurological recovery from stroke. FOCUS, AFFINITY and EFFECTS are a family of investigator-led, multicentre, parallel group, randomised, placebo-controlled trials that aim to determine whether routine administration of fluoxetine (20 mg daily) for 6 months after acute stroke improves patients' functional outcome. The three trial investigator teams have collaboratively developed a core protocol. Minor variations have been tailored to the national setting in the UK (FOCUS), Australia and New Zealand (AFFINITY) and Sweden (EFFECTS). Each trial is run and funded independently and will report its own results. A prospectively planned individual patient data meta-analysis of all three trials will subsequently provide the most precise estimate of the overall effect of fluoxetine after stroke and establish whether any effects differ between trials and subgroups of patients. The trials include patients ≥18 years old with a clinical diagnosis of stroke, persisting focal neurological deficits at randomisation between 2 and 15 days after stroke onset. Patients are randomised centrally via web-based randomisation systems using a common minimisation algorithm. Patients are allocated fluoxetine 20 mg once daily or matching placebo capsules for 6 months. Our primary outcome measure is the modified Rankin scale (mRS) at 6 months. Secondary outcomes include the Stroke Impact Scale, EuroQol (EQ5D-5 L), the vitality subscale of the Short-Form 36, diagnosis of depression, adherence to medication, adverse events and resource use. Outcomes are collected at 6 and 12 months. The methods of collecting these data are tailored to the national setting. If FOCUS, AFFINITY and EFFECTS combined enrol 6000 participants as planned, they would have 90 % power (alpha 5 %) to detect a common odds ratio of 1.16, equivalent to a 3.7 % absolute difference in percentage with mRS 0-2 (44.0 % to 47.7 %). This is based on an ordinal analysis of mRS adjusted for baseline variables included in the minimisation algorithm. If fluoxetine is safe and effective in promoting functional recovery, it could be rapidly, widely and affordably implemented in routine clinical practice and reduce the burden of disability due to stroke. ISRCTN83290762 (23/05/2012), AFFINITY: ACTRN12611000774921 (22/07/2011). ISRCTN13020412 (19/12/2014).
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Trials
  • Joanna M Wardlaw · Martin S Dennis

    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association
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    ABSTRACT: Background and purpose: We sought to establish whether the presence (versus absence) of a lesion on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with diffusion weighting (DWI-MRI) at presentation with acute stroke is associated with worse clinical outcomes at 1 year. Methods: We recruited consecutive patients with a nondisabling ischemic stroke and performed DWI-MRI. Patients were followed up at 1 year to establish stroke recurrence (clinical or on MRI), cognitive impairment (Addenbrooke Cognitive Assessment Revised,<88) and modified Rankin Scale. Results: A median of 4 days post stroke, one third (76/264; 29%) of patients did not have a DWI lesion (95% confidence interval, 23%-35%). There was no statistically significant difference between those with and without a DWI lesion with respect to age or vascular risk factors. Patients without a lesion were more likely to be women or have previous stroke. At 1 year, 11 of 76 (14%) patients with a DWI-negative index stroke had a clinical diagnosis of recurrent stroke or transient ischemic attack, 33% had cognitive impairment (Addenbrooke Cognitive Assessment Revised <88), and 40% still had modified Rankin Scale >1, no different from DWI-positive patients; DWI-positive patients were more likely to have a new lesion on MRI (14%), symptomatic or asymptomatic, than DWI-negative patients (2%; P=0.02). Our data were consistent with 6 other studies (total n=976), pooled proportion of DWI-negative patients was 21% (95% confidence interval, 12%-32%). Conclusions: Nearly one third of patients with nondisabling stroke do not have a relevant lesion on acute DWI-MRI. Patients with negative DWI-MRI had no better prognosis than patients with a lesion. DWI-negative stroke patients should receive secondary prevention.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Stroke
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    ABSTRACT: Thrombolysis is associated with reduced disability for selected patients who have suffered ischemic stroke. However only a fraction of all patients who have suffered this type of stroke receive thrombolysis. The short time window of 4.5 hours in which treatment is licensed means that rapid care and well-organised pathways are essential. We studied measures to increase the uptake of thrombolysis through a better understanding of the hospital delays which lead to a lack of timely brain scanning and diagnosis. We examine the factors influencing the number of thrombolysed patients, the time between arrival at hospital and the administration of thrombolysis (door to needle time). Our analysis is based on the Scottish Stroke Care Audit (SSCA) data covering all stroke patients admitted to hospitals in Scotland in 2010, as well as on interviews with stroke care staff in Scotland. The data show significant variation in the speed of scanning, thrombolysis treatment and numbers of patients receiving treatment among hospitals. In the best performing hospital, 68% of patients arriving within 4 hours of stroke onset are scanned in time for thrombolysis compared with 40% on average and 5% in the worst performing hospital. We model the system as a discrete-event simulation following the patient journey, starting when patients have a stroke and ending at thrombolysis for those who qualify. The simulation results show that just improving the performance of all hospitals to the level of the best performing hospital would (even without improvements in onset to arrival times) increase the thrombolysis rate from 6% (in 2010) to 11% of all admitted stroke patients in Scotland. By 2013 9% of patients were receiving thrombolysis, suggesting there is still room for improvement.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Operations Research for Health Care
  • Akila Visvanathan · Martin Dennis · William Whiteley
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    ABSTRACT: Parenteral fluids are commonly used in people with acute stroke with poor oral fluid intake. However, the balance between benefit and harm for different fluid regimens is unclear. To assess whether different parenteral fluid regimens lead to differences in death, or death or dependence, after stroke based on fluid type, fluid volume, duration of fluid administration, and mode of delivery. We searched the Cochrane Stroke Group Trials Register (May 2015), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) and the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE) (Cochrane Library 2015, Issue 5), MEDLINE (2008 to May 2015), EMBASE (2008 to May 2015), and CINAHL (1982 to May 2015). We also searched ongoing trials registers (May 2015) and reference lists, performed cited reference searches, and contacted authors. Randomised trials of parenteral fluid regimens in adults with ischaemic or haemorrhagic stroke within seven days of stroke onset that reported death or dependence. One review author screened titles and abstracts. We obtained the full-text articles of relevant studies, and two review authors independently selected trials for inclusion and extracted data. We used Cochrane's tool for bias assessment. We included 12 studies (2351 participants: range 27 to 841).Characteristics: The 12 included studies compared hypertonic (colloids) with isotonic fluids (crystalloids); of these, five studies (1420 participants) also compared 0.9% saline with another fluid. No data were available to make other comparisons. Delay from stroke to recruitment varied from less than 24 hours to 72 hours. Duration of fluid delivery was between two hours and 10 days.Bias assessment: Investigators and participants in eight of the 12 included studies were blind to treatment allocation, seven of the 12 included studies gave details of randomisation, and eight of the 12 included studies reported all outcomes measured. There were no relevant completed trials that addressed the effect of volume, duration, or mode of fluid delivery on death or dependence in people with stroke.The odds of death or dependence were similar in participants allocated to colloids or crystalloid fluid regimens (odds ratio (OR) 0.97, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.79 to 1.21, five studies, I² = 58%, low-quality evidence), and between 0.9% saline or other fluid regimens (OR 1.04, 95% CI 0.82 to 1.32, three studies, I² = 71%, low-quality evidence). There was substantial heterogeneity in these estimates.The odds of death were similar between colloids and crystalloids (OR 1.02, 95% CI 0.82 to 1.27, 12 studies, I² = 24%, moderate-quality evidence), and 0.9% saline and other fluids (OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.67 to 1.12, five studies, I² = 53%, low-quality evidence). The odds of pulmonary oedema were higher in participants allocated to colloids (OR 2.34, 95% CI 1.28 to 4.29, I² = 0%). Although the studies observed a higher risk of cerebral oedema (OR 0.20, 95% CI 0.02 to 1.74) and pneumonia (OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.17 to 2.01) with crystalloids, we could not exclude clinically important benefits or harms. We found no evidence that colloids were associated with lower odds of death or dependence in the medium term after stroke compared with crystalloids, though colloids were associated with greater odds of pulmonary oedema. We found no evidence to guide the best volume, duration, or mode of parenteral fluid delivery for people with acute stroke.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online)
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    ABSTRACT: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a common cause of death and morbidity in stroke patients. There are few data concerning the effectiveness of intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) in treating patients with stroke. Objectives To establish whether or not the application of IPC to the legs of immobile stroke patients reduced their risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Design Clots in Legs Or sTockings after Stroke (CLOTS) 3 was a multicentre, parallel-group, randomised controlled trial which allocated patients via a central randomisation system to IPC or no IPC. A technician blinded to treatment allocation performed compression duplex ultrasound (CDU) of both legs at 7–10 days and 25–30 days after enrolment. We followed up patients for 6 months to determine survival and later symptomatic VTE. Patients were analysed according to their treatment allocation. Setting We enrolled 2876 patients in 94 UK hospitals between 8 December 2008 and 6 September 2012. Participants Inclusion criteria: patients admitted to hospital within 3 days of acute stroke and who were immobile on the day of admission (day 0) to day 3. Exclusion criteria: age
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Health technology assessment (Winchester, England)
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    ABSTRACT: The CLOTS 3 trial showed that intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) reduced the risk of DVT and improved survival after stroke. To provide additional information which may help clinicians target IPC on the most appropriate patients by exploring the variation in its effects on subgroups defined by predicted prognosis. A multicentre, parallel group, randomized trial enrolled immobile acute stroke patients and allocated them to IPC or no IPC. The primary outcome was proximal DVT at 30 days. Secondary outcomes at six-months included survival, disability, quality of life, and hospital costs. We stratified patients into quintiles according to their predicted prognosis at randomization, based on the Six Simple Variable model. Between December 2008 and September 2012, we enrolled 2876 patients in 94 UK hospitals. Patients with the best predicted outcome had the lowest absolute risk of proximal DVT (6·7%) and death by six-months (9·3%). Allocation to IPC had little effect on DVT, survival, disability, quality of life, hospital length of stay, or costs. In patients with the worst predicted outcomes, the overall risk of DVT and death was 16·0% and 51·3%, respectively. IPC reduced DVT (odds reduction 34%) and improved survival 17% and significantly increased length of stay and hospital costs. In the three intermediate quintiles, IPC reduced the odds of DVT (35-43%) and improved survival (11-13%). Disability and quality of life at six-months depended on baseline severity but was not influenced significantly by IPC. IPC appears to reduce the risk of DVT and probably improves survival in all immobile stroke patients, other than the fifth with the best prognosis. It therefore seems reasonable to recommend that IPC should be considered in all immobile stroke patients, but that the final decision should be based on a judgment about the individual's prognosis. In some, their prognosis for survival with an acceptable quality of life will be so poor that use of IPC might be considered futile, while at the other end of the spectrum, patients' risk of DVT, and of dying from VTE, may not be high enough to justify the modest cost and inconvenience of IPC use. © 2015 The Authors. International Journal of Stroke published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of World Stroke Organization.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · International Journal of Stroke
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    ABSTRACT: Background The presence of a ‘weekend’ effect has been shown across a range of medical conditions, but has not been consistently observed for patients with stroke. Aims We investigated the impact of admission time on a range of process and outcome measures after stroke. Methods Using routine data from National Scottish data sets (2005–2013), time of admission was categorised into weekday, weeknight and weekend/public holidays. The main process measures were swallow screen on day of admission (day 0), brain scan (day 0 or 1), aspirin (day 0 or 1), admission to stroke unit (day 0 or 1), and thrombolysis administration. After case-mix adjustment, multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate the OR for mortality and discharge to home/usual place of residence. Results There were 52 276 index stroke events. Compared to weekday, the adjusted OR (95%CI) for early stroke unit admission was 0.81 (0.77 to 0.85) for weeknight admissions and 0.64 (0.61 to 0.67) for weekend/holiday admissions; early brain scan 1.30 (0.87 to 1.94) and 1.43 (0.95 to 2.18); same day swallow screen 0.86 (0.81 to 0.91) and 0.85 (0.81 to 0.90); thrombolysis 0.85 (0.75 to 0.97) and 0.85 (0.75 to 0.97), respectively. Seven-day mortality, 30-day mortality and 30-day discharge for weekend admission compared to weekday was 1.17 (1.05 to 1.30); 1.08 (1.00 to 1.17); and 0.90 (0.85 to 0.95), respectively. Conclusions Patients with stroke admitted out of hours and at weekends or public holidays are less likely to be managed according to current guidelines. They experience poorer short-term outcomes than those admitted during normal working hours, after correcting for known independent predictors of outcome and early mortality.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry
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    Full-text · Dataset · Aug 2015
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    ABSTRACT: The cause of lacunar ischemic stroke, a clinical feature of cerebral small vessel disease (SVD), is largely unknown. Inflammation and endothelial dysfunction have been implicated. Plasma biomarkers could provide mechanistic insights but current data are conflicting. White matter hyperintensities (WMHs) are an important imaging biomarker of SVD. It is unknown if plasma biomarkers add predictive capacity beyond age and vascular risk factors in explaining WMH. We prospectively recruited patients presenting with non-disabling ischemic stroke, classifying them clinically and with the help of MRI as lacunar or cortical. We measured biomarkers of inflammation, endothelial dysfunction and hemostasis for >1 month after stroke and compared biomarker between stroke subtypes. We quantitatively calculated WMH. We used multiple linear regression analysis to model WMH as a function of age, sex, hypertension and smoking (the baseline model). We fitted exploratory models using plasma biomarkers as predictor variables to assess model improvement over baseline. We recruited 125 patients. The lacunar group (n = 65) had lower tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) levels in unadjusted (7.39 vs. 8.59 ng/ml, p = 0.029) and adjusted (p = 0.035) analyses compared with the cortical group (n = 60). There were no significant differences in the other plasma biomarkers. The results for t-PA were consistent with an updated meta-analysis, although the effect remains non-significant (standardized mean difference -0.08 (95% CI -0.25 to 0.09)). The baseline regression model explained 29% of the variance in quantitative WMH (R(2) 0.289). Inflammatory biomarkers showed minor improvement over baseline (R(2) 0.291), but the other plasma biomarkers did not improve the baseline model. Plasma t-PA levels appear to differ between lacunar and cortical stroke subtypes, late after stroke, independent of age, sex and vascular risk factors and may reflect endothelial dysfunction. Except for a minor additional predictive effect of inflammatory markers, plasma biomarkers do not relate to WMH severity in this small stroke population. © 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Cerebrovascular Diseases

  • No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online)
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with TIA have high risk of recurrent stroke and require rapid assessment and treatment. The ABCD2 clinical risk prediction score is recommended for patient triage by stroke risk, but its ability to stratify by known risk factors and effect on clinic workload are unknown. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of all studies published between January 2005 and September 2014 that reported proportions of true TIA/minor stroke or mimics, risk factors, and recurrent stroke rates, dichotomized to ABCD2 score </≥4. We calculated the effect per 1,000 patients triaged on stroke prevention services. Twenty-nine studies, 13,766 TIA patients (range 69-1,679), were relevant: 48% calculated the ABCD2 score retrospectively; few reported on the ABCD2 score's ability to identify TIA mimics or use by nonspecialists. Meta-analysis showed that ABCD2 ≥4 was sensitive (86.7%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 81.4%-90.7%) but not specific (35.4%, 95% CI 33.3%-37.6%) for recurrent stroke within 7 days. Additionally, 20% of patients with ABCD2 <4 had >50% carotid stenosis or atrial fibrillation (AF); 35%-41% of TIA mimics, and 66% of true TIAs, had ABCD2 score ≥4. Among 1,000 patients attending stroke prevention services, including the 45% with mimics, 52% of patients would have an ABCD2 score ≥4. The ABCD2 score does not reliably discriminate those at low and high risk of early recurrent stroke, identify patients with carotid stenosis or AF needing urgent intervention, or streamline clinic workload. Stroke prevention services need adequate capacity for prompt specialist clinical assessment of all suspected TIA patients for correct patient management. © 2015 American Academy of Neurology.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Neurology
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    ABSTRACT: Anxiety is common and persistent after stroke, and is associated with a poorer quality of life. Guidelines from numerous countries, including the United Kingdom, recommend screening for poststroke emotional problems. Anxiety is a priority for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, stroke charities, and stroke survivors in the United Kingdom. Yet there is little evidence to guide the management of anxiety after stroke. New evidence-based interventions are needed to improve the care of poststroke anxiety. © 2015 World Stroke Organization.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · International Journal of Stroke
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    ABSTRACT: Background Acute lacunar ischaemic stroke, white matter hyperintensities, and lacunes are all features of cerebral small vessel disease. It is unclear why some small vessel disease lesions present with acute stroke symptoms, whereas others typically do not.AimTo test if lesion location could be one reason why some small vessel disease lesions present with acute stroke, whereas others accumulate covertly.Methods We identified prospectively patients who presented with acute lacunar stroke symptoms with a recent small subcortical infarct confirmed on magnetic resonance diffusion imaging. We compared the distribution of the acute infarcts with that of white matter hyperintensity and lacunes using computational image mapping methods.ResultsIn 188 patients, mean age 67 ± standard deviation 12 years, the lesions that presented with acute lacunar ischaemic stroke were located in or near the main motor and sensory tracts in (descending order): posterior limb of the internal capsule (probability density 0·2/mm3), centrum semiovale (probability density = 0·15/mm3), medial lentiform nucleus/lateral thalamus (probability density = 0·09/mm3), and pons (probability density = 0·02/mm3). Most lacunes were in the lentiform nucleus (probability density = 0·01–0·04/mm3) or external capsule (probability density = 0·05/mm3). Most white matter hyperintensities were in centrum semiovale (except for the area affected by the acute symptomatic infarcts), external capsules, basal ganglia, and brainstem, with little overlap with the acute symptomatic infarcts (analysis of variance, P < 0·01).Conclusions Lesions that present with acute lacunar ischaemic stroke symptoms may be more likely noticed by the patient through affecting the main motor and sensory tracts, whereas white matter hyperintensity and asymptomatic lacunes mainly affect other areas. Brain location could at least partly explain the symptomatic vs. covert development of small vessel disease.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2015 · International Journal of Stroke
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    ABSTRACT: Objective The aim of this study was to examine the practicality and accuracy of using an electronic monitoring device as a means of measuring medication adherence in elderly stroke survivors, with emphasis on patients’ experiences. Methods The Medication Event Monitoring System (MEMS), which records date and time of pill-bottle openings, was used to measure adherence to antihypertensive medication in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a brief psychological intervention with 58 stroke survivors. Patients were asked to describe and rate their experiences of using the MEMS pill bottle. Results MEMS adherence was related to both pill count and self-reported adherence (Medication Adherence Report Scale). Most patients found the MEMS acceptable and easy to use, although some found it cumbersome and/or experienced difficulties with the cap. Nearly half (48 %) reported at least one instance where MEMS data did not reflect their pill-taking behavior (e.g. taking a tablet out the day before to take on a flight); 55 % of patients indicated that the MEMS helped them remember their medication, suggesting a mere measurement effect. Conclusion Electronic pill monitoring has many flaws, including practical difficulties and data inaccuracies. There was evidence of a measurement effect, indicating that MEMS should be used in both intervention and control arms when used to measure adherence within RCTs. We also observed that the MEMS pill bottle is not suitable for measuring adherence in patients who use their own ‘days of the week’ box for sorting medication, as we found poorer adherence at follow-up in this group. Despite these limitations, we conclude that electronic monitoring presents the best method currently available for objective measurement of adherence, especially where detailed timing information is required. Accuracy may be improved by the concurrent use of other measures (e.g. pill count, self-report).
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · Drugs & Therapy Perspectives
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    ABSTRACT: Dietary salt intake and hypertension are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease including stroke. We aimed to explore the influence of these factors, together with plasma sodium concentration, in cerebral small vessel disease (SVD). In all, 264 patients with nondisabling cortical or lacunar stroke were recruited. Patients were questioned about their salt intake and plasma sodium concentration was measured; brain tissue volume and white-matter hyperintensity (WMH) load were measured using structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) while diffusion tensor MRI and dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI were acquired to assess underlying tissue integrity. An index of added salt intake (P=0.021), pulse pressure (P=0.036), and diagnosis of hypertension (P=0.0093) were positively associated with increased WMH, while plasma sodium concentration was associated with brain volume (P=0.019) but not with WMH volume. These results are consistent with previous findings that raised blood pressure is associated with WMH burden and raise the possibility of an independent role for dietary salt in the development of cerebral SVD.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 22 April 2015; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2015.64.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism: official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Apr 2015

Publication Stats

12k Citations
2,451.28 Total Impact Points


  • 2001-2015
    • University of Aberdeen
      Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 1994-2015
    • The University of Edinburgh
      • • Division of Clinical Neurosciences
      • • Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences
      Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 1991-2015
    • Western General Hospital
      Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 2012
    • King's College London
      • Division of Health and Social Care Research
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2010
    • Università degli Studi di Trieste
      Trst, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
  • 2007
    • Edinburgh Napier University
      • School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Care
      Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 2006
    • Royal Melbourne Hospital
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 1993
    • Royal Perth Hospital
      Perth City, Western Australia, Australia
  • 1987-1990
    • University of Oxford
      • Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences
      Oxford, England, United Kingdom
  • 1988
    • Maastricht University
      • Department of Neurology
      Maestricht, Limburg, Netherlands