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Hip-Hop Music Teaches Children, Parents To Recognize Stroke Prior To Attack

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Economically-disadvantaged families can now detect symptoms of stroke prior to the attack through a medical innovation that uses hip-hop music.

A new study published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke cited that the lack of symptoms recognition in stroke is common among the minority patients. This reality has compelled experts to devise ways that improve stroke awareness and education.

"The lack of stroke recognition, especially among blacks, results in dangerous delays in treatment. Because of those delays, only a quarter of all stroke patients arrive at the hospital within the ideal time for clot-busting treatment," said Dr. Olajide Williams, research author and associate professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center.

Children As Vectors Of Symptoms

The Hip Hop Stroke Program is free and available across the United States. It is a multimedia presentation that is tailored to appeal to culturally-diverse communities and is found to be most effective in places where hip-hop music is popular.

The program incorporates the basics of identifying symptoms as with the FAST acronym: facial drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulties, and time to call an emergency response in a music format.

The study collated data from 3,000 fourth and sixth graders from 22 public schools in New York City, as well as 1,144 parents. The subjects were immersed in the three-hour Hip Hop Stroke program, and researchers found a significant increase in stroke knowledge.

Among the children, 57 percent recorded an increase in stroke knowledge compared to 2 percent prior to the intervention program while 24 percent of the group were able to retain that knowledge three months after.

Meanwhile, in the parent group, 20 percent showed an increase in knowledge compared to 3 percent pre-program. Three months later, 17 percent of the parents have knowledge retention.

"One unique aspect of the program is that the children who receive the program in school are used as 'transmission vectors' of stroke information to their parents and grandparents at home. Our trial showed that this is an effective strategy," Williams said.

The ability to recognize stroke symptoms and to act accordingly is crucial in saving a person's life. The ultimate goal of this program, according to experts, is empowering both adult and children to dial 911 or any other emergency response service.

In the past years, stroke prevention campaigns have been relatively expensive and difficult due to high advertising costs and cultural and ethnic appropriation. Through the Hip Hop Stroke program, experts said the rate of stroke treatment could increase by 24 percent.

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