‘Hip Hop Stroke’ intervention can raise awareness, save lives

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New York, March 22 (IANS) Have you ever heard songs with lyrics based on heart conditions?

A new intervention that uses hip hop music with stroke education lyrics may increase stroke awareness among economically-disadvantaged, minority children, and their parents, according to researchers.

“The lack of stroke recognition results in dangerous delays in treatment,” said Olajide Williams, Associate Professor at the Columbia University Medical Center in the US.

“Because of those delays, only a quarter of all stroke patients arrive at the hospital within the ideal time for clot-busting treatment,” Williams added.

Stroke education is important because simply dialling the emergency heath line number immediately when the symptoms start could increase the rate of optimal stroke treatment by 24 per cent.

For the study, published in “Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association”, the team included more than 3,000 pupils studying in fourth to sixth grade, from 22 public schools in New York City.

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The results showed that “Hip Hop Stroke”, a three-hour multi-media stroke awareness intervention, increased optimal stroke knowledge from two per cent before the intervention to 57 per cent after the intervention.

“The programme’s culturally-tailored multi-media presentation is particularly effective among minority youth or other groups among whom Hip Hop music is popular,” Williams mentioned.

“One unique aspect of the programme is that the children who receive the programme 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,” he said.

Other campaigns to improve stroke awareness have been limited by the high costs of advertising, lack of cultural tailoring, and low penetration into ethnic minority populations.

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