Welcome to this special section on stroke, the third leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, there are more than 700,000 strokes in this country, and stroke causes more serious long-term disabilities than any other disease. For African-Americans, stroke is more common and more deadly—even in young and middle-aged adults—than for any ethnic or other racial group in the nation.
But there is also good news in the fight against stroke, and this special section presents information that can help you understand and prevent stroke, and know the warning signs and the need for quick action when a stroke occurs.
Our mission at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is to reduce the impact of neurological disorders, such as stroke, by developing ways to prevent or to treat these diseases. Disorders of the nervous system cause many lost lives, disability, and suffering. They also cost billions of dollars each year in medical expenses and reduced productivity.
Because of basic and clinical medical research progress over the last decades, thousands of strokes are prevented each year, and emergency treatment lessens chronic disability for many people who do have a stroke. A decade ago, an NINDS clinical trial showed that the clot-busting drug t-PA was the first emergency treatment that could improve the outcome from stroke. This engaged the health care community in stroke education, energized hospitals to develop even better emergency stroke care, and stimulated the organization of more than 250 certified primary stroke centers nationally. More recently, investigators reported the first positive randomized controlled trial to show that constraint therapy can improve motor function in patients years after a stroke.
NINDS researchers in Bethesda, MD, and around the world continue to pioneer stroke research, translating the promise of this research into the progress of tangible results for the public. Relevant research comes from basic laboratories studying the process of cell death or neuroplasticity to clinical trials of new therapeutic strategies. This special section offers you information that you can use to help in the fight against stroke, including information from the NINDS "Know Stroke" educational campaign, which is being conducted with both English and Spanish components.
We hope that you find this special section of NIH MedlinePlus informative and useful.
Story C. Landis, Ph.D.