Our fourth course addresses the important area of stroke diagnosis and management. The Chair of this course, Professor Julian Bogousslavsky a recognized international authority, has selected an outstanding faculty of experts.
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Published: 4 Dec 2007
The recent surveys by the World Health Organization (WHO) have shown that stroke is the second cause of death worldwide, and the first cause of acquired physical disability in adults. In the context of the present increase in ageing populations, the increase of stroke associated with age makes stroke one of the main health issues, the burden of which will markedly continue to develop over the next decades.
On the other hand, while its association with age is significant, stroke also is a rising problem in younger populations, especially in developing and low-resources countries. The ongoing Global Stroke Initiative is a surveillance and prevention project which was initiated at WHO, and is monitored by the International Stroke Society (ISS) with the help of other organizations, including the World Federation of Neurology (WFN). Prevention in at-risk individuals, either before (primary prevention) of after (secondary prevention) a first stroke is indeed the most effective way to reduce the burden of stroke and its medical functional, and social consequences. However, despite effective efforts in prevention, as demonstrated by decreased stroke incidence in countries where such programs have been implemented, acute stroke management remains a major target of modern neurology and medicine for reducing the size and damage of the corresponding brain lesion: stroke units and teams, with specific general and focused therapeutic options starting as soon as possible after the insult have become standard practice in most high-resources areas. However, such acute stroke care possibilities are usually lacking in most less developed countries. Facilitating recovery and neurorehabilitation is the third part of the trial (prevention, acute management, rehabilitation) for fighting stroke and its consequences.
The papers in this issue emphasize some of these critical aspects, underlining the need for global, worldwide, concerted actions against one of the most devastating medical conditions.
University of Lausanne, Switzerland