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Study reveals inequities in treatment and recovery from stroke

Treatment and recovery from stroke worse for women and ‘racial minorities’: A major study on people with diabetes has found that following a stroke, patients from racial minorities, experienced greater stroke severity, prolonged hospitalisation and received less specialised treatment than their white counterparts.

The same data also showed that women were more likely to die if they were non-white.

The study from the University of Aberdeen led by Professor Phyo Myint, Chair in Old Age Medicine at the University, analysed data from the US database – the US National Inpatient Sample.

The research team which included colleagues from Keele University analysed data from patients with diabetes who had been admitted to hospital following a stroke encompassing some 462,020 admissions.

The full paper is published in Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery

Professor Phyo Myint explains: “Race and sex disparities are important considerations in managing any long-term conditions, as conditions may not only present differently between genders and ethnic groups, but also may warrant different management. Such differences may also have important implications for disease prevention.

“While these differences have been described in people with diabetes, it was still unclear to what extent these differences are also apparent in patients with diabetes after suffering a stroke. This is particularly important as diabetes is a significant risk factors for stroke and a significant proportion of diabetes patients unfortunately suffer from strokes as a result.

“It was therefore vital to describe sex and racial differences in this patient group to be able to inform clinicians so that they can provide targeted intervention and inform, patients and their relatives regarding the prognosis.”

“These findings are important not only in the context of the United States but can also have important clinical implications in the UK given similar racial diversity.”

Dr Tiberiu Pana who conducted the research as part of a clinical training program at the University added: “Sex and ethnic differences are important in achieving health equity and are essential parts of any personalised treatment strategy. Such considerations must therefore be incorporated in any kind of future research.”

“Our findings highlight multifactorial underlying issues, potentially driven by factors such as lifestyle, socioeconomic, and genetic factors as well as health behaviours and clinical management.

“Further research should also be directed at the social determinants of health to identify modifiable risk factors. By addressing the impact race has on health outcomes interventions and policies can be developed to reduce these disparities and promote equitable health outcomes for all individuals. ”

Professor Myint added: “This project was carried out as part of a summer research scholarship awarded to third year medical student, Rosa Thuemmler, who first authored the paper. We are very proud of Rosa’s academic achievement and we continue to nurture future clinical academics through various research scholarship programmes in School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition”

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