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 and related diseases that affect brain health.

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.

The School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham serves as the Coordinating Center of the project and includes the following faculty and staff: Drs. George Howard, Virginia Howard, Suzanne Judd, Leann Long, Virginia Wadley, Ryan Irvin, April Carson, Michael Crowe, Mr. David Rhodes, Ms. Meg Stewart, Ms. April Sisson, Ms. Ya Yuan, Ms. Marquita Gray, Ms. Aleena Bennett, Mr. Erwin Gillespie, Ms. Shemeka Gillespie, Mr. Paul Wolff, Ms. Shree Smith, Ms. Karen Marshall, Ms. Jessica Clayton, Ms. Janet Wallace, Ms. Kerrie Miller, Ms. Kelsey Daniel, and Ms. Cassandra Johnson.

The largest cohort of its kind, REGARDS provides unprecedented opportunities to improve the public’s health.

As of May 2019, REGARDS has generated: 500+ Publications and 70+ Funded Ancillary Studies.

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