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Childhood stroke "may be as common as childhood cancer"

What is it like be a childhood stroke survivor?

8-year-old Michelle says:

"I had a stroke before I was born that changed my life, but I am OK with it. I am one of the lucky people. Most people have speech, writing, seeing and thinking problems when they have strokes.

Having a stroke has made my life hard sometimes because my right side of my body is weaker than my left side. It makes it harder to run, climb, skip and stuff like that. It also makes me feel bad sometimes because I can't do as much and keep up with the other kids."

1 July 2008

Childhood stroke, which can cause hemiplegia, "may be as common as childhood cancer", according to a researcher launching a project that hopes to address some of the gaps in our understanding of childhood stroke.

'Study of Outcome of Childhood Stroke' will be the first time the outcome from child stroke has been studied in a systematic and detailed way across a very large population. The study will cover half the UK population (approximately 6.3 million children are in the study area), with paediatric neurologists and paediatricians, physiotherapists and radiologists across the country collaborating on the study.

Dr Finbar O'Callaghan, Senior Clinical Lecturer in the Division of Child Health at Bristol University and chief investigator for the study, said: "Stroke in children is not as rare as many people may believe. The incidence is not fully known but at least one child per day has a stroke in the UK and it may be as high as five per day.

"One of the main reasons we don't know the exact number of children having strokes is that no national registration system exists as it does for childhood cancer. There is a striking lack of public and medical awareness of stroke in children and this manifests itself in the amount of funding available for research. Childhood stroke may be as common as childhood cancer, and in many ways equally devastating to families, but in the last year in the UK the charitable income for childhood cancer was £224 million versus £3 million for childhood stroke."

Information for the public regarding the study including full participant information sheets, can be found on the study's website, www.childstroke.org.uk

Please contact Joanne Fryer at joanne.fryer@bristol.ac.uk if you would like further information.

HemiHelp comments

HemiHelp welcomes the Study of Childhood Stroke (SOCS) research project and any initiative that raises awareness about childhood stroke and its potential effects, including hemiplegia. Strokes can affect children either before or after birth, and in either case this can cause hemiplegia, where one side of the body is weakened. Find out more about hemiplegia and its causes

For more information on hemiplegia and HemiHelp, please contact the HemiHelp office on 0845 120 3713.

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