Goggles hold key to early stroke detection

According to the American Stroke Association, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds.

"A stroke would be best described as a lack of blood flow or an infarction of a portion of the brain," said vascular surgeon Dr. James Craven.

A stroke can be caused by a number of things, most commonly, clogged arteries that block blood flow to or even inside the brain.  Risk factors include older age, smoking and a history of cardiovascular problems.

"Evaluation of the stroke patient is critical. Hospitals here in town and they're very strict. It's truly time-dependent on when the clinician sees the individual in the emergency room. Every minute counts," said Craven.

Usually a stroke is diagnosed through an exam, an ultra sound of the carotid artery in the neck or other image tests.  However, a new tool- a pair of high tech goggles- that's being tested out could speed up that process.

"They're measuring the state of how the brain is working and that changes immediately in the middle of a stroke," explained the developer Dr. David Newman-Toker said on CBS this morning. "When there's a lack of blood flow to the brain, immediately the eye movements change."

So far in tests, the goggles have allowed doctors to accurately diagnose patients, saving time and money.  However the goggles are far from being put to use at your local emergency room, so doctors depend on you to know the symptoms and act fast.

"Most people don't know the warning signs and symptoms so they tend to ignore them and maybe chalk it up to something else," said Associate Director of the local American Heart Association/ Stroke Association Lori Russell.

Fortunately, there's an app for that. The American Stroke Association's Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T. app.

"F is for face dropping, A is for sudden arm weakness. S is for slurring of the speech and T is time to call 911," explained Russell.

The stroke association recommends everyone downloads the free app, just in case.

For more information on strokes, click here.

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