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Partnerships for Native Health Washington State University

Strong Heart Stroke Study

Strong Heart Stroke Study – Pilot Expansion for Urban American Indian and Alaska Natives

This pilot study expands on the recently completed Strong Heart Stroke Study, which was the largest, most extensive examination of risk and protective factors for cerebrovascular disease ever conducted with American Indians. The research cohort assembled by the Strong Heart Stroke Study included men and women aged 45-74 years from 13 tribes in South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Arizona. Virtually all participants lived in rural areas. Our new pilot effort will further investigate cerebrovascular risk factors in Native people by conducting a feasibility study in an urban environment. The pilot cohort consists of 60 American Indians and Alaska Natives aged 65 and older who live in the Seattle metropolitan area.

We will use the same neurocognitive assessments as the Strong Heart Stroke Study to explore whether this urban cohort is characterized by distinctive risk or protective factors for cerebrovascular health. Our analyses will address a variety of factors. These might include the availability of acute care in urban settings (which can improve stroke survival) and the accessibility of resources related to lifestyle and health behaviors (which might mitigate or delay age-related cognitive decline). This research is urgently needed, since no studies to date have compared the cerebrovascular and cognitive risk profiles of urban versus rural Native populations.

The Strong Heart Stroke Study


The Strong Heart Stroke Study 

In 1988, NHLBI funded the Strong Heart Study: the largest epidemiologic study of American Indians ever undertaken. Its goal was to examine the prevalence of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors in American Indians. This research continues today with studies of the families of the original participants. A recent analysis estimated that the overall incidence of stroke in American Indians is more than double that of the general U.S. population. This finding indicates that cerebrovascular disease, a precursor of stroke, is a public health problem of staggering significance for American Indians. We propose to build on the work of the original Strong Heart Study, which has already collected substantial data relevant to cerebrovascular disease, by conducting the Strong Heart Stroke Study. Our work takes advantage of an important and timely opportunity to study cerebrovascular disease and stroke, with the goal of learning how to prevent and treat these conditions in American Indians. No previous research has specifically addressed these concerns.

Visit the SHSS Publications & Presentations Committee website to learn about our proposal review process, see our index of approved manuscripts, and access additional resources.

We invite you to view the presentation slides from our two-day SHSS Close-Out meeting held in October 2013 in Seattle. Members traveled from sites in Arizona, Oklahoma, and South Dakota to join in collaboration.

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