Hi, my name is Heather Whalley and I'm a senior research fellow at the division of psychiatry at the University of Edinburgh.
We have an interest in using brain imaging to understand more about the brain in health and disease.
We're also particularly interested in the links between mental health
disorders and common neurological conditions, like stroke, because we know that the occurrence of both of these types of conditions within the same individual usually means a less favourable outcome. So, for example, we know that if somebody has a neurological condition like stroke, if they also have depressive symptoms (either as part of existing conditions or following on from the stroke itself) then they're more likely to have a poor recovery and a lower quality of life.
So in this project we're interested to see if we can use brain imaging data (that's routinely collected in hospitals in Scotland as part of normal clinical investigations) and link these to existing data on mental health, which is stored separately, to understand the relationship between these types of brain disorders.
So using stroke and depression as an example, we will determine if there are systemic brain imaging differences between those with and without depressive symptoms, following a stroke.
We hope that these findings will help us to understand the mechanisms behind psychiatric symptoms, secondary to common medical conditions, as well as inform depressive disorders in the wider population.