Patients and carers expertise important for the credibility of the European Stroke Action Plan

Patients and carers expertise important for the credibility of the European Stroke Action Plan

Bo Norrving is a professor in neurology at Lund University, Sweden. He has authored more than 400 publications on clinical stroke research, including several seminal papers e.g. the Swedish Aspirin Low Dose Study, and the world’s largest study of stroke in the young. He is a founder of the Swedish Stroke Register (Riksstroke), the world’s 1st national stroke registry. He is a member of the advisory group for ICD 11 at WHO. He was the President of the World Stroke Organization (WSO) 2008-2012, and chairs the WSO Global Policy Committee. He is the editor-in-chief of the European Stroke Journal.

Having in mind that he was one of the editors of the important 2006 Helsingborg Declaration on European stroke strategies, the European Stroke Organisation and SAFE are proud and honored to have Prof. Norrving now coordinating a joint ESO and SAFE project called “Stroke Action Plan for Europe 2018-2030”.

Prof. Bo Norrving; Photo: Henrik Rosenqvist

SAFE: Stroke Support Organisations are only just beginning to be formed and to grow in quite a lot of countries; do you think that medics are fully aware of how important they are in influencing decision makers on allocations of funding and resources to things like stroke care, stroke research and public awareness? If not as aware what is ESO doing to encourage medics to aid the growth of SSO?

BN: I think the full importance is still not well recognized. There are many examples where the initiatives of SSOs have been critically important. It’s an important task for ESO to support formation of new SSOs and to support and collaborate with existing ones. ESO and SAFE have recently joined forces in several actions and projects (e.g. at the EU, the European Stroke Action Plan), and I am sure there will be many more in the future. (more…)

Empowering stroke advocates through an e-learning tool

Empowering stroke advocates through an e-learning tool

A new and exciting e-learning tool is being developed by SAFE to support Stroke Support Organisations around positive and effective stroke advocacy

The Stroke Alliance For Europe (SAFE) in partnership with the European Stroke Organisation (ESO) has begun to develop a new online e-learning tool for empowering stroke advocates from across Europe. The Stroke Support Organisation Faculty Tool (SSOFT) will help to build the capacity and capabilities of Stroke Support Organisations (SSOs) by developing their knowledge and understanding around how to build positive and effective advoacy campaigns for stroke prevention, diagnosis and treatment. (more…)

WSC 2018 Montreal, Canada, 17-20 October, 2018

WSC 2018 Montreal, Canada, 17-20 October, 2018

The 11th World Stroke Congress promises to attract acclaimed experts in stroke from around the world. The congress will showcase a cutting-edge educational and scientific experience, focusing on the latest developments in stroke prevention, acute management and restorative care after stroke.

This major Congress will be returning to North America for the first time in more than 12 years.
Canada has well-developed stroke care systems and has contributed to significant advances in stroke care through efforts in developing guidelines, clinical and health systems research. These efforts are ongoing and increasingly important in the face of an aging population and increased health care demands in Canada and around the world. (more…)

Discovery opens doors for new stroke therapy: Cause of brain sensitivity to lack of oxygen

Discovery opens doors for new stroke therapy: Cause of brain sensitivity to lack of oxygen

Researchers at Maastricht University Medical Center and Maastricht University have discovered why the brain is more sensitive to oxygen deprivation, or hypoxia, than other organs. Hypoxia caused by a stroke, for example, activates a specific mechanism that is protective in other organs but can be detrimental to the brain. ‘This discovery solves a long-standing mystery of the unique sensitivity of the brain to hypoxia,’ says head researcher and professor Harald Schmidt. The research results were published today in the leading scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). (more…)

World STROKE Day 2017: SAFE is joining World Stroke Campaign this year in the worldwide campaign

World STROKE Day 2017: SAFE is joining World Stroke Campaign this year in the worldwide campaign


“One day we will be able to talk about a stroke and what it used to be and how we had a hand in stopping them.” – Brady Johnson, stroke survivor

Brussels, October 29, 2017: Good news is that stroke is preventable, with ten modifiable risk factors accounting for around 90% of the risk of stroke. Bad news is that we still largely fail to prevent it. On this World Stroke Day, we call upon Governments and health care system decision makers to implement population wide prevention strategies that address the biggest contributors to stroke- said Jon Barrick, SAFE President, adding that healthcare, researchers, stroke survivors and support organisations should all work together on developing and delivering effective national, regional and global stroke prevention strategies and campaigns. (more…)

Discovery opens doors for new stroke therapy: Cause of brain sensitivity to lack of oxygen

Blood-thinning drugs appear to protect against dementia as well as stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation

Blood-thinning drugs not only reduce the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) but are also associated with a significant reduction in the risk of dementia, according to new research published in the European Heart Journal.

Among 444,106 patients with atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heart rhythm), those who were taking anticoagulant drugs to prevent blood clots at the start of the study had a 29% lower risk of developing dementia than patients who were not on anticoagulant treatment. When the researchers looked at what happened during the period of time that the patients continued to take the drugs, they found an even bigger, 48% reduction in the risk of dementia. (more…)

Discovery opens doors for new stroke therapy: Cause of brain sensitivity to lack of oxygen

African-Americans live shorter lives due to heart disease and stroke

The average lifespan of African Americans is significantly shorter than white Americans, mostly because of heart disease and stroke, which contributed to more than two million years of life lost among African Americans between 1999 and 2010, according to a new scientific statement published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation. (more…)

Yoga and aerobic exercise together may improve heart disease risk factors

Yoga and aerobic exercise together may improve heart disease risk factors

Heart disease patients who practice yoga in addition to aerobic exercise saw twice the reduction in blood pressure, body mass index and cholesterol levels when compared to patients who practiced either Indian yoga or aerobic exercise alone, according to research to be presented at the 8th Emirates Cardiac Society Congress in collaboration with the American College of Cardiology Middle East Conference October 19-21, 2017 in Dubai. (more…)

Discovery opens doors for new stroke therapy: Cause of brain sensitivity to lack of oxygen

Interview with Sarah Belson, one of the content writers of the Stroke Support Organisation Faculty Tool modules

Sarah is the International Development Manager at the World Stroke Organization; leading, developing and implementing a programme of capacity building activities for new and emerging patient stroke support organizations (SSOs) around the world.

What brought you to Stroke Support Organisation Faculty Tool?

I have been working with local organisations on development projects internationally for a number of years. I have spent time supporting organisations to develop their capacity and skills to deliver quality services and engage in advocacy.

What is your role?

I am the International Development Manager with the World Stroke Organization and Stroke Association UK and we work in partnership with the Stroke Alliance for Europe. My role is to lead the capacity building programme for patient stroke support organisations around the world. This includes supporting organisations to set up, to develop projects and to engage in advocacy.

What makes you excited to be part of this project?

I have witnessed the changes that empowered local organisations can make to the policies and practices that affect people’s lives, most recently this has been patient stroke support organisations from across the world. This project is exciting as it is an opportunity to break new ground in the resources available to enable stroke support organisations to develop their skills and contribute to changes that can improve the lives of people affected by stroke.

How will your background in community development help you in this project?

The community development work that I engage in is based on partnership, solidarity and respect. I seek to understand the context in which stroke support organisations are working and to develop solutions together. As such, in writing content for this online resource, we are encouraging the engagement of members of SAFE to help us ensure that the content is as accessible and relevant as possible. We do not want a resource to be developed in isolation from the concerns and priorities of those who will be using it.

In your opinion why is the patient voice so important?

Those most affected by stroke need to be at the heart of solutions that address the gaps in stroke policy and practice. Again solutions cannot be driven without considering the experiences, insights and views of the people with lived experience. Time and again we see initiatives fail because the expertise of patients was not considered.

How do you see this project and e-learning tool helping SSOs?

I often hear from SSOs that they want tools and resources to help them grow and develop. We have a great opportunity to create a resource specifically for SSOs that responds to their expressed needs, areas of interest and appropriate ways to access information and to learn and take action.

Given the diverse geographical spread of SAFE’s members how to you take into account their unique experiences and context?

SAFE’s diverse membership is a hugely rich resource for the development of this project. We see it as a positive that we can draw on and share such a range of experiences from different contexts, and guidance and insights from different SSOs. There is an opportunity here to make this resource dynamic, by considering these different contexts whilst also including guidance that is transferable – for example whatever context you are in you need to find collaborators for your advocacy work, and whatever context you are in you need to be specific about what your priority activities are and therefore what funds you will need.

What long term issues and benefits do you envisage?

I think this is just the beginning; a long term issue is how we will continue to encourage people to use the resource and how we expand content and reach. I envisage this resource as further strengthening the European stroke patient network and in time the global stroke patient network.