GROUND-BREAKING new research that could identify older people at risk of a stroke has been welcomed in Hartlepool.
Experts believe a simple drawing test can predict the long-term risk of dying after a first stroke among older men.
Using a technique called the trail making test (TMT), which gets people to draw lines with a pencil between numbers and/or letters in ascending order as quickly as possible, they worked out that men who performed badly were more likely to die.
The findings were welcomed by Eileen Nixon who founded the Young Hartlepool Stroke Club.
She said: “Anything is helpful, of course it is. It is important to have a way of detecting stroke.”
The Hartlepool Mail has joined forces with the Stroke Association to raise awareness of strokes and how they can be avoided.
For the next four weeks, we will be bringing stories on strokes and how they affect our area.
Dr Clare Walton, research communications officer at Stroke Association, also welcomed the findings of the research carried out by the Uppsala University, in Sweden.
She said: “This is an interesting study because it suggests there may be early changes in the brain that puts someone at a greater risk of having a fatal stroke.
“The researchers have identified a particular drawing task that may be capable of detecting these early brain changes when there are no other obvious signs or symptoms.
“This is a small study and the causes of poor ability on the drawing task is not known.”
The Young Hartlepool Stroke Club was formed around five years ago, meets every Wednesday at the Belle Vue Sports Centre, in Kendal Road, in Hartlepool from 11am, for an exercise class.
The cost is £1.50 a session and the sessions are run by a qualified gym instructor.
As well as the exercise class, the group meets at Seaton Carew Sports and Social Club, in Elizabeth Way, on the first Monday of each month from 2pm to 4pm, unless it is a bank holiday.
And during finer weather, the group also holds outings.
To find out more, contact Pauline Wallis on (01429) 268371, Eileen Nixon on (01429) 296473 or Jim Brent on (01429) 424675.
People can also find out more about strokes by contacting the Stroke Association helpline between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday on 0303 3033100, or visiting: www.stroke.org.uk