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Vol. LVIII, No. 10
May 19, 2006

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NINDS Hosts Radio Media Tour to Raise Stroke Awareness

Dr. Richard Benson, program director in the NINDS Office of Minority Health and Research, takes calls during a radio media tour to raise stroke awareness.  
In recognition of May as National Stroke Awareness Month, NINDS is sponsoring a radio media tour featuring Dr. Richard Benson, program director in the NINDS Office of Minority Health and Research, and Dr. Jose Merino, a staff clinician in the stroke diagnostics and therapeutics section.

The tour — part of the institute's "Know Stroke. Know the Signs. Act in Time." public education campaign — includes both live and taped interviews on radio stations across the country and is expected to reach an audience of more than 16 million people. During the interviews, Merino and Benson inform listeners about the increased incidence of stroke among Hispanics and African Americans, and the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of the disease and of calling 911 immediately.

NINDS also expanded its campaign with a grassroots education program called "Know Stroke in the Community." The NIH-CDC program targets cities that have a high incidence of stroke; a large population of African Americans, Hispanics and seniors; and excellent health care systems to treat acute stroke patients. In each city, NINDS identifies and trains more than a dozen "stroke champions" and asks them to bring stroke education messages and materials out to these key communities. This month, Atlanta will become the 10th city to participate in the program.

Stroke occurs in more than 700,000 people in the United States each year and is the third leading cause of death for all Americans. For African Americans, the disease is more common and more deadly than for any ethnic or racial group in the U.S. Hispanics ages 35 to 64 are 1.3 times more likely to have a stroke than whites in the same age group.

The goals of the tour are to increase the very low numbers of stroke patients — especially in the Hispanic and African-American communities — who get to the hospital in time to receive the most effective treatment possible, which may spare them from lifelong disability, and to stress the importance of knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke.