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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
30-Jan-2014

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Contact: Darcy Spitz
darcy.spitz@heart.org
212-878-5940
American Heart Association

Video game teaches kids about stroke symptoms and calling 9-1-1

American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report

Children improved their understanding of stroke symptoms and what to do if they witness a stroke after playing a 15-minute stroke education video game, according to new research reported in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Researchers tested 210 9- and 10-year-old, low-income children from the Bronx, New York, on whether they could identify stroke and knew to call 9-1-1 if they saw someone having a stroke. Researchers tested the children again after they played a stroke education video game, called Stroke Hero. Finally, they gave the children remote access to the video game and encouraged them to play at home, re-testing 198 of the children seven weeks later.

Researchers found:

"We need to educate the public, including children, about stroke, because often it's the witness that makes that 9-1-1 call; not the stroke victim. Sometimes, these witnesses are young children," said Olajide Williams, M.D., M.S., lead author and associate professor of neurology at Columbia University in New York City.

The Stroke Hero video game involves navigating a clot-busting spaceship within an artery, and shooting down blood clots with a clot-busting drug. When the supply of clot-busting drugs runs out, gamers must answer stroke awareness questions in order to refuel. The game is synced to a hip hop song.

The study suggests that the novel approach of using video games to teach children about stroke could have far-reaching implications. However, the study was small and there was no comparison group, so the results should be viewed with caution, Williams said.

"Video games are fun, widely available and accessible for most children," Williams said. "Empowering every potential witness with the knowledge and skills required to make that life-saving decision if they witness a stroke is critical."

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Stroke Hero is available for free to those who register at http://www.hiphoppublichealth.org.

Co-authors are Mindy F. Hecht, M.P.H.; Alexandra L. DeSorbo, M.P.H.; Saima Huq, M.P.H.; and James M. Noble M.D., M.S.

The National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke funded the study.

For the latest heart and stroke news, follow @HeartNews on Twitter.

For stroke science, follow the Stroke journal at @StrokeAHA_ASA.

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association's policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at http://www.heart.org/corporatefunding.



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