AN INCREASE in the incidence of stroke—and the specter of a rising toll of stroke-related death and disability as the baby boomer generation ages—has brought a new urgency to research efforts to identify risk factors and develop better prevention strategies.
Although stroke has long been recognized as a leading cause of death and disability, researchers recently upped the ante with a revised estimate of the US stroke incidence that is startlingly higher than previously thought. According to investigators at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, at least 731000 strokes occur annually in the United States, 40% more than prior estimates of about 500000 per year (Stroke. 1998;29:415-421).
The National Stroke Association champions the use of the term brain attack to describe stroke, a medical emergency that—like a heart attack—has a limited window of opportunity for interventional treatment.
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