One of the most important issues in understanding the impact of disease is to appreciate its burden at a global level, as advocates of stroke we have probably not been as active in this area as many of our colleagues representing, for example, cancer and heart disease. However, things are changing. This edition of the International Journal of Stroke reflects this by having an emphasis on the burden of stroke in a number of different ways.
We have the first publication of a compilation of incidence and mortality figures of the burden of stroke by Thrift and colleagues. It is anticipated that this compilation will be updated on an annual basis so that readers can be assured that the latest information available can be accessed readily at one site. This is timely given the recent in-depth analysis of the burden of stroke using the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 data set published in The Lancet . One key element of our burden of disease compilation is highlighting the lack of accessible data that still exist in many parts of the world, particularly in developing nations. Clearly, it should be a priority to have simple mechanisms to provide this data to enable sensible health planning to occur.
Many of the important methodological issues associated with the measurement of regional stoke burden are addressed by Valery Feigin et al. in his excellent editorial and accompanying protocols in this issue, which have a focus on New Zealand.
The Cochrane stroke group has now been an important part of the information matrix of stroke management for 20 years; in this relatively brief period of time, the value of the initiative has become self-evident. Whenever the evidence base for a given intervention is required, the first port of call is the Cochrane library; a celebration of its work is given by Berge and Langhorne on behalf of the Cochrane Stroke Group as a Panorama piece in this edition.
Interventional stroke management is also rapidly becoming a feature of stroke medicine. An important issue is to develop a predictive score of the likelihood of success of arterial recanalization using baseline parameters. Flint et al. have developed the Totaled Health Risks In Vascular Events (THRIVE) score, which they test in two separate data sets. You'll be able to hear first hand about the development of the THRIVE score in the recorded podcast on iTunes' ‘IJS January 2014’ series.
This year is the World Stroke Congress, which will take place in Istanbul, Turkey from October 22 to 25, 2014. This meeting is incredibly important for stroke globally and is a great one to attend.
Plenty to reflect upon in this first edition for 2014, we continue to look forward to bringing you a mix of perspectives in the world of stroke, which we hope will continue to captivate your interest.