Americans suffer nearly 800,000 strokes a year, and on average, one American dies from stroke every four minutes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Your best chance at surviving a stroke?  Fast treatment.  Doctors advise that when stroke victims get help within four and a half hours of the first signs of stroke it can save lives and reverse disabling symptoms.  That means getting the people in and around your community to recognize the signs of a stroke and act right away to get help.

Researchers from Columbia University have found a way to help kids learn what to do in the event of a stroke, and they're learning in a way that makes them eager to learn more - by playing a video game.

Stroke Hero was created by Dr. Olajide Williams, the chief of staff of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center, and the lead author of a recent study on teaching kids how to identify signs of stroke and get help.

Better known as Hip Hop Doc, Williams runs Hip Hop Health, an organization that works to teach kids about healthy living through rap videos, music, and games.

In Stroke Hero, players use medicine to break up the clots that are blocking the flow of blood traveling toward the brain. When the clot-busting drugs run out, players have to answer questions about stroke to continue playing.  

The game stresses the importance of recognizing the symptoms of stroke and quickly dialing 911.

For the study, Williams worked with with 210 low-income fourth and fifth graders in New York's Harlem neighborhood, where about 15 to 20 percent of kids are raised by their grandparents - who are at high risk for stroke.  

After playing the game, the kids not only reported liking it, they also were more likely to know what to do in the event of a stroke.  Children given a hypothetical scenario were 33 percent more likely to recognize stroke and call for help.   And the kids retained that knowledge when they were tested again seven weeks later.

That's impressive stats for any curriculum.  Especially one that could someday save a life.

Source: Stroke

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