Stroke app to collect global data on risk and predict outcomes

The Kiwi team behind the award-winning Stroke Riskometer has added a new research component to the app to allow it to collect data for an international research study into stroke.

Designed by AUT University professor of epidemiology and neurology, Valery Feigin, and launched in October 2013, the Stroke Riskometer enables users to assess their individual stroke risk on a smartphone or tablet.

There is a free lite and a pro version, with the free version allowing users who have already had a stroke to estimate the risk of recurrent stroke, as well as approximate a risk of having a heart attack within the next five and 10 years.

The pro version allows users to manage risk factors based on their personal stroke risk profile, save and track results and view expert advice.

The risk assessments are based on the Framingham heart study and the app has been endorsed by the World Stroke Organisation and the International Association on Neurology and Epidemiology.

A new version of the app was launched last month that allows users to participate in AUT's Reducing the International Burden of Stroke Using Mobile Technology (RIBURST) study, which will have both a cross-sectional arm and a subsequent longitudinal study.

“This study has the potential to save countless lives and billions of dollars worldwide,” Professor Feigin said.

“By delivering population-specific predictive algorithms plus preventative strategies tailored to different cultural and ethnic groups, we hope to dramatically reduce the burden these diseases place on people, families and health systems around the world.”

With an estimated 1.75 billion smartphone users around the world, the potential scale of the research is immense and could eclipse that of the largest medical experiment in history, a polio study conducted in the 1950s, according to AUT University.

Field trials for the Salk vaccine involved one to two million participants and led to near eradication of the disease, an inspiring outcome for AUT’s RIBURST study team.

“Non-communicable diseases account for 66 per cent of deaths worldwide and cause serious disability for millions of people,” Professor Feigin said in a statement.

“Current primary prevention strategies are simply not effective enough. We need a step-change in the care and prevention of major non-communicable diseases, but at present we lack the data that’s critical to attaining that.”

The data collected through the RIBURST study will enable the development of a predictive algorithm based on modern risk factors. It will also allow for the generation of population-specific predictive algorithms.

“In the case of stroke, 80 per cent of people classified as low or medium risk will have a stroke in their lifetime,” he said. “One in three Māori under 60 will suffer a stroke, compared to one in six European, and in Pacific people the incidence is even worse.

“The big question is why, and how do we halt it? There’s a huge need for more accurate prediction, more effective prevention, and culturally and ethnically unique preventative strategies. This study gives us a chance to achieve that.”

The Stroke Riskometer is available at the App Store and Google Play.

Posted in New Zealand eHealth

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