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Researchers Show That Stroke Awareness Programs Are Effective; Also Find That Women Are More Likely To Get The Message

CONTACT:
Brian Henry or Trish Moreis
AHA News Media Relations
Omni Rosen Hotel
(407) 370-6151
NR 98-4850 (StrokeConf/Dornan)*
Abstract 84

ORLANDO, Feb. 7 -- Through a public awareness campaign, researchers in Normal, Ill. were able to significantly improve people's knowledge of stroke warning signs and, in the process, found that women were more apt to listen to stroke messages than men.

Their research was presented here today at the American Heart Association's 23rd International Joint Conference on Stroke and Cerebral Circulation.

In a five-month span, researchers from the Central Illinois Neuroscience Foundation were able to reduce by nearly 50 percent the number of people surveyed who could not name any stroke warning sign. Additionally, there was a dramatic increase in stroke awareness of women after the public awareness campaign, but hardly any change in men surveyed.

"Women rate having a significant motor skill problem following a stroke, worse than death itself. For men, death would be the worst possible outcome," says Wayne Dornan, Ph.D., associate professor at Illinois Wesleyan University and director of Pre-Clinical Research at the Central Illinois Neuroscience Foundation.

"If you're more fearful of having a permanent disability than you are of dying, you tend to listen very closely and learn to do things to prevent a stroke," he says.

In their two-phase study, the researchers assessed public knowledge of stroke by randomly sampling 1,314 people by telephone in the cities of Bloomington and Normal in central Illinois. The survey consisted of an open-ended question asking people if they could name any warning signs for stroke.

Researchers found that 43 percent of those surveyed could not name one warning sign. Slightly more than half (52.9 percent) of
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Contact: Brian Henry
brianh@amhrt.org
214-706-1135
American Heart Association
7-Feb-1998


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