New Study Focuses On Preventing Strokes In African Americans

November 11, 1997

(Baltimore) -- University of Maryland Medical Center neurologists are part of a national study on how to prevent recurrent strokes in African Americans by determining which of two medications is more effective -- aspirin or ticlopidine.

"This is the first multicenter randomized clinical trial aimed at finding ways to reduce stroke in African Americans," says lead investigator, Steven J. Kittner, M.D., associate professor of neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

"Both aspirin and ticlopidine are approved and have been shown to be effective," Kittner explains. "The question we haven't answered yet is which is better among African Americans, who have higher rates of higher blood pressure, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. These drugs have been studied head-to-head before, but never exclusively in African American patients."

The University of Maryland Medical Center is the only site in Maryland participating in the study, and the doctors in Baltimore are working with colleagues at Rush Medical Center in Chicago and Howard University in Washington. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and the major cause of disability in adults. African Americans are twice as likely to die of a stroke than are whites.

Research by Elijah Saunders, M.D., head of the Medical Center's Division of Hypertension, has already demonstrated that African Americans respond differently than Caucasians to certain medications that treat high blood pressure.

African Americans between the ages of 29 and 85 who have had a stroke within the past three months caused by a blood clot in the brain may be eligible to participate in the new study, in which they will be given free medication and will remain under the care of their personal physician. Those interested in participating should call 410-706-0414 for more information.

The research is supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke in Bethesda, MD.

University of Maryland Medical Center

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