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Jennifer Majersik ’92 is working to improve community education so that people call 911 as soon as a stroke happens.
department at University Hospital, where I’m working with “Our feeling was that if we could get through to the young,
residents,” she said. “Just because a patient isn’t presenting like who are around people at risk, they might be able to identify
a textbook suggests—numbness on one side, the inability to a stroke early and call 9-1-1,” Majersik said. “We wanted to
speak or understand speech, vision loss—doesn’t mean some- focus on kids who were old enough to understand some stroke
one isn’t having a stroke.” pathophysiology and were reliable enough to call for help.”
These days, the focus of many physicians, including
Warning signs of a stroke
Majersik, is on controlling hypertension in an effort to prevent
stroke. Research has shown that if hypertension were elimi-

Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg,
nated, more than half of all strokes could be prevented.
especially on one side of the body
Although stroke remains the leading cause of adult dis-

Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
ability, Baby Boomers should take heart, Majersik said. Tissue

Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
plasminogen activator (TPA) has emerged as a primary—and

Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or revolutionary—stroke treatment, rehabilitation therapies are
coordination improving, and overall acute care is better than ever.
“I’m particularly excited about all of the research that’s go-

Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
ing on today,” Majersik added. “I had a patient tell me re-
cently, ‘Look at me—I’m getting better.’ The concept that it’s
She also participated in Kids Identifying and Defeating better to be dead than to have a stroke is out there, but we’re
Stroke (KIDS), a health education intervention designed to doing an awful lot to help people improve once they’ve had
increase stroke awareness among middle school students. She one. To me, that’s what it’s all about.”
and her associates concluded that such efforts, aimed at reduc-
ing delay time to arrival at a hospital, “shows early promise.” Steven K. Wagner is a freelance writer based in Claremont, Calif.
FALL/WINTER 2009 SUMMER 2009 Harvey Mudd College 25
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