Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

University of Alabama to Spend $28 Million on Research about Strokes among Blacks, Southerners. (Noteworthy News)

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

University of Alabama to Spend $28 Million on Research about Strokes among Blacks, Southerners. (Noteworthy News)

Article excerpt

BIRMINGHAM, ALA.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham will use a $28 million grant to try to determine why Blacks and Southerners suffer and die from strokes at a higher rate than the rest of the country. Nationally, Blacks are about 40 percent more likely to die of a stroke than Whites are, said Dr. George Howard, the primary researcher for the study whose funding was announced last month.

"More disturbing, research indicates younger African Americans, ages 35 to 54, bear most of the excess burden," Howard says. "They are four times more likely to die of stroke than any other race or age group. We need to know why."

Researchers also will examine the eight-state "stroke belt"--North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana--where the stroke death rate is 50 percent higher than the national average. About 9,000 more strokes annually happen in the stroke belt than across the rest of the country. Even more startling is the "stroke buckle"--the coastal plains of Georgia and the Carolinas--where the stroke death rate is twice the national average.

"The estimated economic impact of these `extra' deaths is staggering--nearly $1 billion a year," Howard says. Each incident of stroke costs about $104,000, he said. …

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