Coinciding with National Stroke Week in Australia (19 - 25 September 2005) is the release of results from two recent stroke studies from the George Institute for International Health that investigate both the causative factors as well as a little studied outcome of stroke, that of depression. The studies are part of a larger project to determine the impact of prevention strategies and improvements in stroke healthcare.
A study of trends in stroke incidence, led by The George Institute researchers Craig Anderson and Kristie Carter and to be published in Stroke*, reviewed data accumulated over 20 years in the Auckland, New Zealand population, to determine if significant changes in stroke incidence could be related to life-style changes or other factors. The study found that there was an 11% relative decline in stroke over the 20 years, which can be related to positive changes such as a decreased incidence of smoking in the population. However, opposing this positive trend were adverse changes in the health of the Auckland population over the same period, including increased incidence of obesity, diabetes and overall age, all of which increase the likelihood of stroke.
"Clearly more research is needed to identify those at risk of stroke and to implement effective strategies to reduce the burden of this illness", noted Prof. Anderson
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