London, Dec 7 (IANS) Anti-depressants could help recovery after a stroke and reduce dependence, physical disability, depression and anxiety in the first year after a stroke.
They could also promote the growth of new nerve cells or protect other cells damaged by stroke, suggest researchers from University of Edinburgh.
They examined 52 studies concerning selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a class of anti-depressants.
Gillian Mead, professor of stroke at the university, said: "Anti-depressants have been successfully used for many years to relieve depression. However, it now appears that they also have effects on the brain that may help patients make a better recovery from the physical effects of stroke."
"The results of this meta-analysis are extremely promising. We do not yet fully understand how anti-depressants could boost recovery after stroke, but it may be because they promote the growth of new nerve cells in the brain, or protect cells damaged by stroke," said Mead, The Daily Mail reports.
She said that by preventing depression, the drugs may help patients to be more physically active which is known to aid overall recovery.
"We now need to carry out a number of much larger clinical trials in order to establish exactly if, how and to what extent anti-depressants can help stroke survivors recover."