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Mexican-American stroke study shows differences

ANN ARBOR, MI A new study finds significant medical and demographic differences between Mexican American and non-Hispanic white stroke patients -- differences that should be taken into account by those trying to prevent stroke in Hispanic populations, the researchers suggest.

The study, led by University of Michigan researchers and released today at the 28th International Stroke Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, is based on 808 interviews with Mexican American and non-Hispanic white stroke subjects in the ethnically diverse Corpus Christi area of Texas.

The effort is part of the nation's only major study of stroke in Mexican Americans, the largest sub-group of the Hispanic population that is now the largest minority population in the United States.

The results show significant differences between the two groups in conditions that increase the risk of stroke, like diabetes; use of preventive measures such as blood-thinning drugs; access to care; and general characteristics of age, education, and income.

Understanding these differences in stroke risk, access to care, and demographics could help stroke-prevention campaigns tailor their approaches to the Hispanic community and increase their effectiveness, the researchers say.

"The effort to reduce stroke's impact on the Hispanic population must mean more than simply translating brochures into Spanish," says senior author Lewis Morgenstern, M.D., director of the U-M Stroke Program and associate professor of neurology. "We must look at the role that acculturation plays, especially issues of understanding and trust of the health care system, and social factors."

The results are from the five-year, $2.5 million BASIC, or Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi, study. BASIC aims to answer important questions about how common stroke is in the Hispanic community, and what factors influence the rates of stroke and stroke death. Morgenstern began the study in 1999 whil
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Contact: Krista Hopson or Kara Gavin
khopson@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
14-Feb-2003


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