Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

Dr William Whiteley

Dr William Whiteley is an MRC Clinician Scientist & Honorary Consultant Neurologist who specialises in stroke treatment and prognosis.

Dr William Whiteley (BM BCh MA MSc PhD MRCP)

MRC Clinician Scientist & Honorary Consultant Neurologist

  • Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

Contact details


Dr. Will Whiteley is an MRC Clinician Scientist at the University of Edinburgh. He is a clinical neurologist for NHS Lothian, actively involved in stroke/TIA clinics, stroke thrombolysis and general neurology. As a CSO Clinical Academic Training Fellow, he studied the use of blood biomarkers for the prediction of the diagnosis and prognosis of stroke in the emergency department, and read for an MSc in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Research summary

Research aims and areas of interest

I use individual patient data meta-analysis of observational and randomised studies, systematic review and meta-analysis of study level data, cohort studies, predictive modelling, randomised trials, and routinely collected data to address the following questions:

Prognosis after stroke: Prediction of outcome in clinical practice after stroke is difficult. I have demonstrated that:

  • Predictions of important clinical outcomes by clinical prognostic models are similar to experienced stroke clinicians
  • Blood biomarkers of plausible physiological processes do not improve prediction to a clinically important degree
  • Simpler point based models predict important outcomes similarly to more complex models.

This work has led me to develop mobile telephone apps of simple predictive models (featured in MRC annual report). Working with informatics, I am developing data collection methods for TIA/stroke patients that might enrich routinely collected data.

Stratifying treatments for acute stroke: Clinicians often choose whether or not to treat stroke patients based on informal or formal prediction of the risk of haemorrhage or thrombotic events. I have demonstrated that:

  • A targeted approach to heparin does not lead to a net clinical benefit in acute stroke, contrary to NICE guidelines
  • Avoiding thrombolysis in patients a high risk of intracranial haemorrhage does not lead to an overall net clinical benefit
  • Aspirin is of similar benefit to patients at different risks of poor functional outcome or bleeding.

During this work I have joined the Stroke Thrombolysis Trialists’ Collaboration and the Antithrombotic Trialists’ Collaboration based at CTSU, Oxford.

Routinely collected data stroke, and cognitive impairment: I am working on projects linking clinic databases and audits with routinely collected events in Scotland, Brazil, and with the Kadoorie Study of Chronic Disease in China of 0.5 million people to investigate the risks of recurrent haemorrhagic and ischaemic strokes.