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"A Simple Test for Stroke"

The American Stroke Association does not endorse “The Smile Test,” also known as “a simple test for stroke,” – which was widely distributed through emails.

The facts: A scientific poster presented at the 2003 International Stroke Conference titled “Untrained Adults Can Identify Symptoms of Stroke by Directed Use of the Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale” suggested that asking three questions could help bystanders identify a stroke:

  1. Ask the individual to smile
  2. Ask him or her to raise both arms 
  3. Ask the person to speak a simple sentence coherently.

This presentation by researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Medicine was one of 450 presentations made at the conference hosted by the American Stroke Association.  The poster showed positive results but was a very small study.  The research was funded by a grant from the American Stroke Association.  However, the American Stroke Association has not taken a position on this topic nor endorsed this test.  

Stroke warning signs are:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes 
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you experience symptoms!
Time lost is brain lost!




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