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Morgan Fairchild Joins Neurologists, Emergency Physicians and the American Stroke Association to Educate the Public About Stroke Symptoms
Date:3/25/2008

'GIVE ME 5' CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF TODAY

LOS ANGELES, March 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Actress and activist Morgan Fairchild has teamed up with the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the American Stroke Association (ASA). She is raising awareness about the warning signs of stroke and the importance of getting to the emergency department fast with a campaign called "Give Me 5: Walk, Talk, Reach, See, Feel."

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to die. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability. However, research shows the public remains unaware of its warning signs and the need for immediate medical attention, even if the symptoms subside. Those symptoms include sudden difficulty walking, talking, reaching and seeing, as well as sudden and severe headache.

"Saving someone's life - or even your own - may be as simple as remembering 'Give Me 5,'" said Ms. Fairchild. "Do not ignore symptoms, and do not delay getting to the emergency department. With stroke, every minute counts."

Ms. Fairchild, star of film, theater and television, was caregiver for her mother, who suffered a series of debilitating strokes until her death in 1999. Ms. Fairchild will be joined on the campaign by Dr. Diana Fite, an emergency physician who suffered a stroke in 2006 at age of 53, and thanks to prompt medical attention, has since made a full recovery.

"I witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of stroke on my mother," said Ms. Fairchild. "Stroke is a killer, but for too many people it doesn't need to be. If you know the warning signs and get medical help right away, you have an excellent chance of making a good recovery. Women especially need to know the warning signs, because they account for almost 70 percent of the deaths from stroke. We are also the health information keepers for our families and must spread the word to our siblings, spouses, parents and friends about how to recognize a stroke."

"Give Me 5" offers a quick stroke check using five short words:

Walk - Is their balance off?

Talk - Is their speech slurred or face droopy?

Reach - Is one side weak or numb?

See - Is their vision all or partly lost?

Feel - Is their headache severe?

It goes on to say, "If you recognize the sudden signs of a stroke, call 9-1-1!" The campaign also urges people to say "I think this is a stroke," about themselves or someone they are with, when speaking with a 911 operator, paramedic, triage nurse or emergency physician. The campaign includes a toll-free phone number, 1-888-4STROKE, and a tri-branded website http://www.giveme5forstroke.org. where the public can obtain more information, brochures and a give-away item.

"I was driving when the right side of my body suddenly felt weak," said Dr. Fite of Houston, Texas. "I realized it was a stroke when the car started to swerve. Because I am an emergency physician, I knew to call 9-1-1 to get help immediately, which is why I made such a great recovery. But I know from my experience as a doctor that too many people ignore stroke symptoms or wait for them to go away, with tragic results. 'Give Me 5' is a great tool for people to identify a stroke quickly and get help fast."

The campaign coincides with new research released in February showing a tripling in the rate of strokes among middle-aged women, the campaign's targeted audience.

"This surge of strokes in middle-aged women in a short period is very alarming," said Dr. Ralph Sacco, Fellow member of the American Academy of Neurology. "The important message of the 'Give Me 5' campaign is early identification of stroke symptoms and early intervention by doctors in the emergency department. That can make the difference between life and death."

About American Academy of Neurology

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of over 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and stroke. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com.

About American College of Emergency Physicians

ACEP is a national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine with more than 25,000 members. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies. For more information about the American College of Emergency Physicians, visit http://www.acep.org.

About American Stroke Association

The goal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, is to reduce disability and death from stroke through research, education and advocacy. In its 2006-07 fiscal year, the association invested more than $152 million to fight stroke. To learn more, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit http://www.strokeassociation.org.

CONTACT: Julie Lloyd of ACEP, +1-202-728-0610, ext. 3010; Angela Babb of AAN, +1-651-695-2789; or Toiya Honore of ASA, +1-214-706-1456


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SOURCE American Heart Association
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