Strokes in adolescents and minorities

June 8, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Strokes in adolescents and minorities. The truth behind these surprising groups at risk.

The Freddie-award winning film "Stroke: A Brain Attack," was made possible through a grant from The California Wellness Foundation to the Ethnic Health Institute (EHI) at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. It can be purchased by contacting EHI at 510-869-8223 or e-mailing chengs@sutterhealth.org

Department of Health and Human Services--CDC 2009 Stroke Stats

- Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Over 143,579 people die each year from stroke in the United States.

- Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability.

- About 795,000 strokes occur in the United States each year. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes. About 185,000 occur in people who have already had a stroke before.

- Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65. The risk of having a stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55.

- Strokes can-and do-occur at ANY age. Nearly one quarter of strokes occur in people under the age of 65.

- Stroke death rates are higher for African Americans than for whites, even at younger ages.

- According to the American Heart Association, stroke will cost almost $68.9 billion in both direct and indirect costs in 2009 (American Heart Association. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2009 Update. American Heart Association; 2009.)

- It has been noted for several decades that the southeastern United States has the highest stroke mortality rates in the country. It is not completely clear what factors might contribute to the higher incidence of and mortality from stroke in this region.

About George A. Strait, Jr.
Mr. Strait is the Assistant Commissioner for Public Affairs at the Food and Drug Administration. In this role, he serves principle deputy for communications to the FDA Commissioner and director of the Press Office. Mr. Strait comes to the FDA with more than three decades of experience in health care, both as a leading journalist and a communications consultant. Just prior to coming to the Agency he was the Director of Communications and Public Liaison for the National Center on Minority health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health.

Mr. Strait spent 22 years as a reporter for ABC NEWS, the last 16 years as its chief medical correspondent. As the first network television correspondent dedicated solely to reporting on science and health he faced three daunting tasks: translating medical jargon into language an audience could understand and act upon, convincing scientists and health care providers that they had an audience larger than their peers, and educating his editors that science at best was truth of the moment. As the competition within the news business became more intense, this last task became the most difficult - convincing colleagues that over-hyping the latest discovery could have consequences far worse than if they sensationalized a political poll or economic forecast.

In 1999 Mr. Strait left ABC and ventured into the dot-com world; helping to start a pediatric and parenting media company named after the famed baby doctor Dr. Benjamin Spock. At that time there were approximately 17,000 web sites offering "expert" health and science information. However, there were few standards and often no way to easily determine the source of the information. That made it very difficult for a person seeking health information on the web to make decisions informed by facts without corporate hype. A chief goal of the Dr. Spock Company was to establish a code of conduct and accountability standards for this kind of information on the web. One result of that effort ultimately became the current Health on the Net Code - HONcode to which most of the major health sites subscribe.

For eight years, Mr. Strait served on the board of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the nation's premier health policy information resource. His last two years he chaired the board. During his tenure, Mr. Strait helped lead the foundation's effort to stem the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa. Expanding on its longstanding commitment to developing a non-racial public health system in South Africa, the foundation developed a unique strategy to fight HIV there. The intervention, called Love Life, has become the world's largest and most successful AIDS prevention program designed for youth.

Mr. Strait is married, has two sons and one grandson.

About Brian C. Richardson, MD
Dr. Richardson is a board certified Neurologist and Medical Director of Alta Bates Summit Medical Center's Primary Stroke Center. He is a graduate of Loma Linda University, School of Medicine. He completed his Medical Internship in Internal Medicine at White Memorial Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, and a Medical Residency in Neurology at Veterans Affairs Medical Center, UC Davis. In addition, Dr. Richardson completed a Fellowship in Medicine focused on Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, and Dementia at Lawrence Berkeley Lab, UC Davis.

Dr. Richardson is a member of numerous professional organizations, for example, American Academy of Neurology, Bay Area Stroke Society, Sinkler Miller Medical Association, and many others.

Dr. Richardson has many peer-reviewed publications to his credit. Topics range from Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's to Control of Vascular Risk Factors in African Americans with Stroke.

Dr Richardson has been the Principal Investigator for numerous ongoing and completed research projects and clinical trials, for example "Vitamin Intervention for Stroke Prevention Study", A 30- Week, Open-Label Evaluation of Donepezzil Hydrochloride (Aricept) in Patients with Dementia Associated with Cerebrovascular Disease", and "Improvement of Stroke Assessment Scale Scores in Patients with Acute Ischemic Stroke".

Dr. Richardson is a Board Certified Neurologist specializing in strokes with practices in several East Bay medical centers.


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