Dana Alliance member James Simpkins, Ph.D., is working on novel treatments that could limit the damage and/or improve recovery from stroke. As a professor and the director of the Center for Basic & Translational Stroke Research at West Virginia University, he operates in a state that has a high rate of stroke. In recognition of Stroke Awareness Month, we asked Simpkins a few questions.
Why does West Virginia have a high incidence of stroke?
West Virginians have a very sedate lifestyle. They rank 49th nationally, per person, in exercise. They have a comparatively poor diet, high smoking and drinking rates, and rank in the bottom four or five in states in obesity, heart disease, hypertension, etc.
Also, the folks who show up to a hospital with a stroke often have really severe strokes, likely in part because of the geography of West Virginia. We’re completely within Appalachia, so it’s not uncommon for a 40-mile trip from a person’s home to a hospital to take an hour and a half or two hours. That puts those people close to if not outside the window for tissue plasminogen activator treatment.