Stroke, also called a brain attack, happens when the arteries leading to or located within the brain are blocked or rupture. The BASIC Study, Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi, is designed to identify and study stroke patients in Nueces County. For more than 10 years, through its partnership with the community, BASIC has resulted in many important scientific discoveries.
In the medical community, Corpus Christi is well-known for its contribution to stroke research. Residents of Nueces County should be proud of their contribution to medicine!
BASIC aims to continue to answer important questions about stroke, including the differences in stroke risk and stroke outcomes between non-Hispanic whites and Mexican-Americans. It is the nation’s only major study of stroke in Mexican-Americans.
In addition, BASIC has added a sleep apnea screening test to its current stroke study to learn more about this condition and its relation to stroke recovery. More than half of stroke patients have sleep apnea.
The study is conducted by the University of Michigan and funded by the National Institutes of Health. Study personnel work closely with Corpus Christi hospitals and The Corpus Christi Nueces County Public Health District.
What are the symptoms of stroke? (Stroke can include one of these symptoms alone or many of them at the same time.
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
- IMPORTANT: Call 911 immediately if you or someone else has any of these symptoms.
What are the risk factors for stroke?
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Sleep apnea
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition where you stop breathing while you sleep. Typically, this is because the back of the throat relaxes too much and collapses. When it collapses, air can’t get through. This can happen hundreds of times a night without your knowing it. While your breathing is stopped, your blood oxygen level may go down. This can cause serious health problems. Your brain also tries to wake you up to get you breathing again, so this can decrease the quality of your sleep.
How are patients selected for the study?
We select patients who have had a possible stroke. Only patients age 45 or older and who live in Nueces County are selected.
What will I be asked to do?
Data will be collected from your medical records. Patients are asked to take part in interviews with one of our research assistants following their illness and again at 90 days after their illness. During the interview, you will be asked questions about your medical history as well as other general questions about you. You will also take part in some memory testing. If you are unable to participate in the interview, we may ask a family member to complete the interview.
If you agree, you may also be eligible to participate in a sleep apnea screening test. Our project uses the ApneaLink Plus™ to conduct sleep apnea screening studies. Your breathing and blood oxygen will be monitored while you sleep. You will wear a soft clip/wrap over your finger, small tubes at your nose, and a band around your chest. You will wear this device for (typically) one night.
What are some study findings?
During the last decade, our study has reported many important findings using the data collected in Nueces County including the following:
- Mexican-Americans have a greater chance of suffering a stroke than non-Hispanic whites, especially at younger ages.
- Exposure to low levels of air pollution may increase the risk of stroke.
- Characteristics of the neighborhood where one lives, such as living conditions and the availability of certain types of food stores, may influence stroke risk.
- Many stroke patients arrive at the hospital outside of the 3 hour treatment time window and many do not use emergency medical services (911) that could reduce the time to medical treatment.
- Women have a greater chance of experiencing a specific bleeding type of stroke, called subarachnoid hemorrhage, than men.
Here is a link to our publications.
How does participating in this study benefit me or my community?
Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, about 700,000 people suffer a stroke. Your participation in this important study will help doctors and researchers improve their understanding of strokes so that they may better help patients in the future. Also, if doctors have a better understanding of the differences in stroke risk between Mexican-Americans and non-Hispanic whites, they may be able to develop more effective educational materials targeting stroke prevention.
If you agree to the sleep apnea screening test, you and your physician will receive the results of the screening at no cost to you or your insurance company.
Nelda Garcia, BS
BASIC Field Office Director
4646 Corona, Suite 155
Corpus Christi, TX 78411