Final Report by Kristiina Rannikmae
With the support of the EFNS Scientific Fellowship, I spent 12 months at the Division of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Edinburgh, UK. I joined the Stroke Research Group and was supervised by Dr Cathie Sudlow, Clinical Reader and Honorary Consultant Neurologist.
Over the 12 months I have been working on a systematic review and meta-analysis of the genetic associations of cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA). CAA is an important cause of cerebrovascular disorders, in particular lobar cerebral haemorrhage. Identifying genetic associations may help us better to understand its aetiology. We comprehensively sought and identified studies of association between any genetic polymorphism and pathologically diagnosed CAA, assessed the effects of genotype on CAA and used a range of methods to assess small study bias. The results showed a significant association between the ε4 allele of the APOE gene and the presence of CAA. Other genetic polymorphisms have been studied in only a small number of subjects and there is not enough data to draw firm conclusions.
This project gave me an opportunity to develop skills in critical appraisal and analysis of the literature regarding the genetics of stroke and statistical techniques for meta-analysis of different data types. In addition I have had the opportunity to present my work both locally and internationally.
As a trainee doctor in clinical neurology it was also very useful for me to improve my knowledge and skills by doing neurovascular outpatient clinics, attending multidisciplinary stroke radiology and stroke research group meetings and participating in the clinical academic seminars of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences in the Western General Hospital.
Dr. Sudlow has provided excellent supervision for which I am extremely grateful. I would also like to thank my residency supervisor in Estonia, Dr Sulev Haldre, Associate Professor in Neurology in the University of Tartu, for his support in facilitating my work experience abroad.
The opportunity to spend this time doing research has inspired me to pursue a PhD in the area of genetics of stroke. I am very grateful to the EFNS for giving me this fellowship.