The human brain is claimed to be the most complex 1.5 kg of matter in the known universe. There has been an incredible increase in understanding of the brain over the last 20 years from imaging, physiological, cellular and molecular/genetic perspectives. The major challenge and goal of the Stroke Research Programme (SRP) is to take this knowledge and exploit it to prevent and treat stroke better.
Over the last 14 years the SRP has trained 22 PhD students, 23 Honours students and four Neurologists with a clinical and/or scientific interest in Stroke medicine.
The burden of stroke to the Australian community is great. 60,000 Australians suffer a stroke every year. A significant number of people are left with neurological disability and it remains the leading cause of adult disability in Australia.
Stroke is the second most common cause of death after heart disease and before cancer.
One third of those who suffer a stroke will die within one year, one third will be seriously disabled and one third will recover.
The direct and indirect cost to the Australian society in purely financial terms is over 2 billion dollars annually. The personal cost both to patients and their family is immeasurable.
In the younger population, up to 2,500 Australians under forty-five also suffer strokes each year.
Stroke is often heralded by symptoms which suggest a transient ischaemic attack (TIA). The incidence of TIA is between 30 to 60 people per 100,000 (estimated from community studies).