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What is REGARDS?

The REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) project, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is a national study focusing on learning more about the factors that increase a person's risk of having a stroke. 

REGARDS is an observational study of risk factors for stroke in adults 45 years or older.  30,239 participants were recruited between January 2003 and October 2007.  They completed a telephone interview followed by an in-home physical exam.  Measurements included traditional risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and an echocardiogram of the heart.  At six month intervals, participants are contacted by phone to ask about stroke symptoms, hospitalizations and general health status.  The study is ongoing and will follow participants for many years.

The purpose of the REGARDS project is to understand why people in some parts of the country develop more strokes than people in other parts of the country, and why blacks develop more strokes than whites.  We hope to learn how to reduce the number of people having strokes.


Why Do We Need REGARDS?

REGARDS is an important research project that will look at differences in risk of stroke. Stroke is a common name for a lack of blood flow to the brain. Today, stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States. While both blacks and whites suffer from strokes, more blacks die from strokes than whites. One purpose of REGARDS is to help scientists understand why this happens. Also, there is a geographic difference in stroke across the United States. This means that the area in which a person is living or has lived may be related to having a stroke or dying from a stroke. The place in which a person lives may be an important clue in preventing strokes. By learning more about strokes, we can help prevent the third leading cause of death in the United States. By participating in REGARDS, you will help scientists save lives and improve health.

Who Are We?

REGARDS is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). The project is a collaborative effort between the University of Alabama at Birmingham (School of Public Health) , the University of Vermont, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Alabama Neurological Institute, and Examination Management Services, Inc.  For a full list of participating REGARDS investigators and institutions click here.