NISAN - The National Institute for Stroke and Applied Neurosciences

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The National Institute for Stroke and Applied Neurosciences

The primary aim of NISAN is to conduct high quality epidemiological studies and clinical trials to improve the health and outcomes in people with major neurological disorders. Our current research programmes focus on stroke, traumatic brain injury and neuromuscular disorders.  Research with this aim is unique within the landscape of existing research groupings in New Zealand.

NISAN is envisaged to be a hub for information sharing and the fostering of a more cohesive network of communication between existing research and clinical groups with interests in pneuroepidemiology, ublic health, neurorehabilitation, neuropsychology and biostatistics.

This direction will allow a more cohesive approach to communicating and working collaboratively with other groups, both inside and outside AUT University.  NISAN makes use of the current expertise within the School of Rehabilitation and Occupation Studies, the School of Public Health and Psychosocial Studies, and relevant institutes and centres of AUT University, and it extends their work into areas of growing national and international demand.

Recent Developments

Currently available cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment algorithms allow calculation of absolute risk of CVD (including stroke) but they are designed for use by health professionals and require lab test to complete. Yet, one of the main challenges in effective stroke prevention on an individual level is the lack of awareness about stroke symptoms and risk factors as well as self-managing strategies to reduce their risk of stroke.

The question is how to improve stroke prevention in individuals with an increased CVD risk in the most efficient way? National Institute for Stroke and Applied Neurosciences, AUT University and New Zealand Stroke Education Charitable Trust recently developed an App called Stroke Riskometer that has the potential to significantly improve stroke prevention on an individual level. Based on the Framingham Heart study stroke prediction algorithm and enhanced to include additional major risk factors important for stroke (e.g. diet, physical activity, waist-to-hip ratio, alcohol, psychosocial stress, family history of stroke or heart attack, race/ethnicity), this user-friendly Stroke Riskometer is able to provide an estimate of the individual’s absolute risk of stroke within the next 5 and 10 years for anyone from the age of 20 up to 90+ years old. Importantly, the Stroke Riskometer user can find out not only their risk of stroke development but also a baseline risk to compare their risk against, thus allowing them to know their risk of stroke compared with someone of their age and sex who has no risk factors.

The information presented in the Stroke Riskometer has been developed by Professor Valery Feigin (MD, MSc, PhD, FAAN), Director of the National Institute for Stroke and Applied Neurosciences, AUT University, New Zealand.
Last updated: 09 Jul 2014 2:05pm

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Feigin, V.L., Krishnamurthi, et al on behalf of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (the GBD 2010 Study) and the GBD Stroke Experts Group* Global and regional burden of stroke in 1990-2010:  incidence, mortality, prevalence, and disability-adjusted life-years lost. The Lancet 2013.
Dec 16th, 2014

Braden Te Ao
Area of expertise: Health Services Research and Health Economics
Qualification: MPH (hons), PGDip PH, BHSc. PhD Student.