Beauty Shop-Based Stroke Outreach Works

THURSDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Beauty shops may be an ideal place to educate minority women about stroke , suggests a study slated for presentation this week in San Francisco at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference.

In the study, researchers gave lessons on stroke prevention and warning signs to beauticians in black-run beauty shops in Cincinnati and Atlanta. The beauticians then discussed stroke-related issues with their clients, who also received a packet that included heart-healthy cookbooks, wallet cards listing stroke warning signs, and other stroke-related materials.

The beauty shop clients were also given stroke knowledge surveys at the start of the study and again five weeks and five months later. Nearly 400 women completed the baseline survey, and 318 women completed the five-month survey.

At the start of the study, 40.7 percent of the women surveyed knew three stroke warning signs, compared to 50.6 percent after five months. The study also found an 8 percent increase (to a total of 93 percent) in the women who knew to call 911 immediately in the event of a stroke, and a 7 percent increase (to a total of 92 percent) in the women who recognized stroke when they were given a clinical scenario.

However, there was no improvement in the women's knowledge of stroke risk factors, even though they were taught to the beauticians and included in the educational materials given to the clients. Finding ways to improve that requires further study, the researchers said.

Overall, the findings demonstrate that these kinds of community-based programs are an effective method of educating minority groups about stroke risk, said study lead author Dr. Dawn Kleindorfer, a stroke neurologist and associate professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio.

"We know that this program works. We had two women have a stroke during the study in the beauty salon, and the beauticians called 911 and got them to the hospital within 45 minutes. The beauticians said they would not have known what to do before our project," Kleindorfer said in a prepared statement.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Stroke Association, news release, Feb. 7, 2007

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